Musings Travel

SLO County Travel Series – Avila Beach Edition

As the second article in the San Luis Obispo County travel series, my excitement about the Central California Coast is building. I’m happy to share my love for an area that I hold so close to my heart. I hope you enjoyed the first story about travel to Cambria, California. That town is so lovely, I wish I could transport myself there right now.

The second locale we’re visiting in the series is Avila Beach, a town I’ve fallen for only within the past few years. Many times, it slipped my notice as I visited other places in the region, but that was a mistake. Never again will I make that error in judgement. Avila Beach and I go way back now, and I can’t wait to share a few fun things to do there.

Where to Stay

Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort – I’ve wanted to stay at this resort for a few years, and I intend to make it happen soon. Sycamore Springs offers a private balcony or patio featuring mineral water hot tubs in all of the rooms, which seems like such an indulgence. Pour me a glass of wine, and I’m there. This property also offers an on-site restaurant and spa for those who just want to luxuriate at the hotel.

Avila Village Inn – This cute hotel offers bike rentals as an amenity, which I love. The grounds here are beautiful, as they are at most places in the area.

Avila La Fonda – This hotel is modeled after a small Mexican village and features a street façade with casitas. The details make this hotel really beautiful, while its proximity to the beach makes it pretty ideal. This property also has select dog-friendly rooms.

This is a little random, but I ran past this sign every morning on my runs when I was in Avila Beach. My maiden name is Carroll, so I thought it was too cool.

What to See

Avila Beach! The view here is idyllic in the morning. Surfers frequent Avila in the early hours, and it’s a great place to watch them take to the waves. There’s plenty of beach to rest on, or pull up a seat on one of the many benches along the boardwalk. Avila makes a great place to go for a run, too, as it’s pretty quiet in the morning hours.

Point San Luis Lighthouse – Although tours are suspended at the moment due to the pandemic, definitely put this one on your list for when it reopens. Point San Luis is on the National Register of Historic Places and overlooks San Luis Bay, making for a beautiful historic experience.

The hot tubs at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort – Open-air, hillside hot tubs filled with naturally heated mineral spring water – doesn’t that sound nice? For a minimal cost – $19 per person, per hour Monday-Thursday, and $24 per person, per hour Friday-Sunday and holidays – you and your loved one can soak your cares away. Each hillside tub is surrounded by a lattice fence for privacy.

Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards – This winery is a located in the hills of Avila Beach and features an array of wines, including those with an apple bent, made from apples grown from the apple orchards in See Canyon. The family-owned winery is very welcoming, and features a beautiful garden and vines, with peacocks roaming the grounds and a friendly staff.

Avila Beach Wineries – There are a few places in Avila Beach at which to stop in for a wine tasting. A couple I like are Alapay Cellars and Avila Wine Tasting Company, but there are more options for you to get your tasting on.

See Canyon apple orchards – If you visit between September and December, you’re in for a treat. The area is home to a large handful of apple farms, at which you can taste apple ciders, pies, wines, and other treats. For all the info, visit

Where to Eat

Grab a coffee after your morning run or surf session at Kraken Coffee Company. The coffee is solid and they offer baked goods too.

Mission Pizza is a popular Avila Beach spot for sandwiches, salads, pizza and other food to go. Perfect for the beach.

Where to Shop

Avila Grocery and Deli – I liked this little store when I visited. They had a selection of souvenirs, but also grocery items in case you want to grab something for a day trip or a day outside.

One note on Avila Beach and most of the locales in Central California – there’s plenty of hiking, kayaking and outdoor experiences to be had in the area. If you’re into it, I highly suggest picking a spot in the town you visit and going for an outdoor adventure. Avila Beach is a fun town to visit with plenty of activities available within its borders. I’ll see you for the next installment in the series, publishing next week, for more travel ideas within SLO County.

Avila Beach is a great getaway unto itself, nestled along Highway 101. If you go, let me know!

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