In the 1990s, much of the little community of Avila Beach was demolished after an underground oil leak from a nearby tank farm was discovered. Now its waterfront, which curves around a cove with a wide, sandy beach, has been almost entirely rebuilt, and wheelchair riders will find easy access to both beach and town. Several concrete ramps...
In the 1990s, much of the little community of Avila Beach was demolished after an underground oil leak from a nearby tank farm was discovered. Now its waterfront, which curves around a cove with a wide, sandy beach, has been almost entirely rebuilt, and wheelchair riders will find easy access to both beach and town. Several concrete ramps lead on to the beach, and a concrete landing has a built-in table, handy for placing a book or cold drink while you admire the ocean. A wide promenade at the back of the beach curves north past Avila Ocean Park, which has an accessible playground and grassy area, to the outlet for San Luis Obispo Creek. Bird-watching is good here, and interpretive panels describe the birds you may see. Next to the grassy area is the Sea Life Center, with exhibits and a small aquarium. South of the beach are open-air restaurants, shops, and a plaza with nautical art and plenty of seating areas. Fishing is allowed from the 1,635-foot Avila Pier. Combine a 1.5-mile hike on the trail with a swim at the beach and a picnic for a full day of activities.
Visitor center: The Sea Life Center
, next to Avila Ocean Park (50 San Juan Street, 805-595-7280), provides hands-on educational experiences in marine science for children, parents, and teachers. Exhibits are under construction and not yet open to the general public; check the website for updates.
The facilities listed below meet all of our access criteria unless otherwise noted.
A manual beach wheelchair is available at the Lighthouse Suites Hotel, one block from the beach at 550 Front Street. Call first for availability. The Beach Cruzr, a motorized beach wheelchair, is available from the Central Coast Assistive Technology Center, www.ccatc.org
. Reserve at least 48 hours in advance: (805) 748-2434.
At the foot of San Juan Street
Next to Avila Pier and on beach side of Ocean Park
Next to the basketball courts at Ocean Park
Other Things of Interest
On the weekends, a free accessible trolley stops throughout town and at a trailhead for the Bob Jones City-to-the-Sea Trail
Harfield Pier, a 1,340-foot-long, drive-on pier less than half a mile north of Avila Beach, is a popular spot for pier and commercial sport fishing. You can buy fish fresh off the boats or dine at one of several restaurants. Noisy sea lions gather under the pier. Parking and restrooms are accessible.