View across the ocean at Avila Beach, with the sandy shores and coastline dotted with sunbathers and swimmers, and pier jutting into the water

Avila Beach, California

Updated by Pat Dorri on February 19 2024

If you are looking for a pretty coastal setting, which has all the quintessential beach trappings - sandy shores, pristine waters, a pier and promenade - then look no further than a visit to Avila Beach. This often quiet, and beautiful setting has everything you need for a great day at the beach, with popular hot springs and wineries just on the doorstep.

A quick overview of Avila Beach, Malibu
Street Address📍404 Front, St, Avila Beach, CA
Facilities at this beach

🕒 Opening hours (6am to 10am)

🚗 Parking ($6 all day)

🌊 Lifeguard station

🚻 Public restrooms

🧺 Picnic tables

Where can I find the Avila Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway?

Avila Beach is pretty much equidistant from major cities Los Angeles and San Francisco, just over 3 hours driving to reach both.

If you are arriving to Avila Beach from Los Angeles you'll take the Avila Beach Drive exit from US-101 north, which leads directly into the heart of Avila Beach, where you will see signs for several public parking areas and lots. There is also limited free parking along the highway.

If you are visiting from San Francisco then look out for the Avila Beach Drive exit from US-101 South, where, again, the road directly leads to Avila Beach.

Avila Beach is also just a stone's throw from San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach.

Why we love visiting Avila Beach

There are plenty of reasons why you should add a stop to Avila Beach to your plans as you head along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Arrive early to witness the stunning sunrise, before enjoying a day full of sunbathing and swimming, meandering along the promenade and a spot of fishing on the pier. It's a must for anyone seeking a quiet and pretty beach getaway, and a chance to unwind.

[th]Feature[/th][th]Our rating[/th]
How we rate the different aspects of Avila Beach
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cleanliness and water quality⭐⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐⭐
Activities on offer⭐⭐⭐

Avila Beach is nestled between rolling hills and the Pacific, and is quieter than other busy Californian beaches. It is the perfect spot for sunbathing, beachcombing, and watching sunsets.

In winter you may spot whales as they migrate from the seashore. These amazing sightings add a touch of wonder to any visit.

Avila Beach promenade is home to boutique shops, beachfront restaurants, and colorful beach houses. There is a charming atmosphere at this pretty and laid-back beachfront.

The iconic pier is ideal for leisurely strolls, fishing, and spotting marine life. With wonderful coastline views, it is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists.

Avila Beach, California, USA sunrise behind the cliff on the ocean.
Head early to Avila Beach and you can start your beach day off with an incredible sunrise.
Janel Barnes/

What else is there to do near this beach?

Avila Beach really does have all you need for a full and fun day at the beach. However, if you fancy exploring some of the other attractions that are close by, here are some of our favorites!

  1. Avila Valley Hot Springs - A visit here promises therapeutic mineral waters, poolside relaxation, and stunning views.
  2. Bob Jones City to the Sea Trail - This scenic, family-friendly trail winds along San Luis Obispo Creek, leading from the heart of the city straight to Avila Beach.
  3. Avila Beach Golf Resort - A challenging course, surrounded by lush greenery, and views of the Pacific Ocean.
  4. Central Coast Aquarium - This aquarium tells you everything you need to know about local aquatic life, teeming with exhibits and hands-on experiences.
  5. Point San Luis Lighthouse - The Point San Luis Lighthouse stands as a historic beacon, offering guided tours and sweeping coastal view

Common questions about visiting Avila Beach

A visit to Avila Beach promises a pretty seaside setting with everything you need for a great day. However here are a few things to watch out for during your visit.

Is Avila Beach accessible and open year-round?

❗ Yes, Avila Beach is open year-round, however some of the facilities close by, such as stores and restaurants, have differing seasonal hours.

Can I enjoy water sports at Avila Beach?

⭕ Yes, there are plenty of water activities including paddleboarding, surfing, windsurfing and kitesurfing at Avila Beach

Is Avila Beach easily accessible for those using wheelchairs or strollers?

⭕ Yes, at Avila Beach the beachfront features paved walkways, accessible restrooms, and beach wheelchair rentals

Is there anywhere to buy refreshments at Avila Beach?

⭕ Yes, you will find shops downtown, at Avila promenade, and at Historical Port San Luis Harbor.

Are dogs allowed on Avila Beach?

⭕ Yes, dogs are allowed at certain parts of Avila Beach. Dogs must be leased before 10am and after 5pm, or between these times they are only allowed leased at Olde Port beach, next to Harford Pier.

Are there any changing facilities at Avila Beach?

⭕ Yes, at Avila Beach there are restrooms for changing, and outdoor showers.

Are there any beach chairs or umbrellas to hire at Avila Beach?

⭕ Yes, there are beach chairs and umbrellas for hire at Avila Beach during peak season.

Is there anything else to watch out for when I visit Avila Beach?

RV camping is allowed in the Port San Luis area, however you'll need to make sure you make an online reservation in advance.

Beachfront of Avila Beach, with people sitting outside various colorful fronted restaurants and shops along the palm-tree lined promenade
There is plenty to keep you entertained when you visit beautiful Avila Beach.