Freeway Free in California: Hiding out in Style at Avila Beach
You want a beach, but not a bunch of beach bunnies and muscle-flexers kicking sand in your face while they show off at beach volleyball. You want a boardwalk, but not the blaring music and grease smells of a carnival. You want seafood that is not dipped in batter and fried in re-cycled grease. You want restaurants without Happy Meals. You want Avila Beach.
The college kids from San Luis Obispo go a little bit further south, to Pismo Beach, which boasts fried fish, tattoo parlors, swim suit/sarong shops, and lots of fast food and beer havens. On a sunny day Pismo is a happenin’ place, but on a gray day in early spring, it can seem deserted and dismal.
Just north at Avila Beach, you will find grownups and families. You can buy a souvenir sweatshirt, but you will pay for quality. You can eat seafood at the Olde Port Inn, one of the “Top Ten Seafood Restaurants in California (per the CA Writer’s Association). This restaurant is located at the very end of the pier in San Luis, just around the bay from Avila Beach. The tables are glass and allow you to look down into the ocean below to watch pelicans, sea gulls, the occasional seal, and maybe tomorrow’s dinner.
You can see girls in bikinis on Avila Beach, but they will likely be part of a women’s crew team launching their scull into the surf. Don’t mess with these muscular Moms!
If your taste runs to spa resorts and golf, there is a Diamond Resorts perched on the hill above the pier in San Luis. If you prefer biking, there is a bike trail that runs along the old railroad right of way along San Luis Obispo Creek.
You can do grownup things like wine-tasting at the Alapay Cellars, my favorite of several wine bars within a block of the boardwalk. From a balcony at Avila Lighthouse Suites, right on the boardwalk, you can watch all the action on the beach and boardwalk while sipping your Alepay Cellars wine. Or you can go down to walk the beach, and then wash the sand off your feet in the compact pool.
Check the local calendar before you reserve; sometimes there is a music festival in the adjacent park, and if the music is not to your taste – there goes your peace. But in general, Avila Beach is a great hideout for a grown-up getaway weekend.