Most importantly, Avila is my go-to place when my soul needs calm.
Beginning a new year is when many of us think about the turbulent and terrific times that we have experienced. The best place that I have found for soul searching, is on the same road that takes you into Avila. From the south, you take exit 195 onto Avila Beach Drive. The view is stunningly gorgeous, and the destination is unrivaled for many reasons.
Captivating beauty, the sound of seals ever present and boats swaying on the water, can be magical. This place can put the busiest mind at peace, awaken the soul and bring clarity.
Boats Sway Peacefully Across the Water
There are three piers in Avila and two of them are public. Most people visit the touristy area in Avila, near the children’s playground and promenade. This area is the quintessential beach town, full of interesting shops, artwork, good restaurants like Custom House, and a great wine bar called PierFront Wine & Brew.
If you’re not a local, you most likely won’t head down the road far enough to reach the true hidden gems. About a mile past the promenade, is the Port San Luis Harbor. The beach here is serene and calm and you are likely to see seals, dolphins, sea otters and, on occasion, whales can be seen in the water.
If you’re a camper, the Port San Luis RV Campground allows you to park your RV right above the beach. The spots are few, and you have to make your reservation online.
Bring your dog and take a long walk along the surf to build up your appetite.
Catch Seals Sunbathing on the Port San Luis Pier
This is also where you will see the Harford Pier, which is one of the coolest places to visit. It is the second and furthest public pier in Avila Beach. It is about 1.5 miles past the main touristy area and it’s literally at the end of the road.
Park your car in the big lot and take a walk out onto the pier. Or, if you’re feeling lucky, you can drive to the end of the pier, to see if one of the eight parking spots are open.
Olde Port Fish and Seafood Company has the Freshest Fish and Shellfish
If you like fresh seafood, you’re in for a treat. The Olde Port Fish and Seafood Company, at the end of the pier, has the freshest fish and shellfish available. The fishing boats off load at their back door.
If you’re a crab lover, you’ll be in heaven. Crab cages are hoisted right onto the Harford Pier, and it is quite a comical spectacle to watch hundreds of them hang onto the cage, while fishermen try mightily to dump them into huge bins to be sold.
Mersea’s Restaurant has Delicious Clam Chowder
Mersea’s Restaurant, is right on the pier, and it is open daily at 11 am. It is an excellent dining choice for seafood with a spectacular view. The clam chowder is comfort food at its finest and the outdoor patio is the perfect place to sip a beer, eat fresh oysters and watch the seals frolic in the water.
Dogs Love to Walk and Play on the Beach
Now you know where you can go for a soulful walk on the sand, have a delicious meal and enjoy a beautiful sunset. You’ll love it, from your head to sandy little toes.
Nothing Beats an Avila Beach Sunset
Avila is located 10 miles south of San Luis Obispo and 94 miles from Santa Barbara. If your day in Avila isn’t sweet enough….stop by Avila Barn for a fruit pie, fresh out of their ovens. Avila Barn is located at 560 Avila Beach Dr. It’s a great place to take the kids to see farm animals, purchase a variety of baked goods, jams and jellies and local produce.