Avila Beach is a low-key, family-friendly community along the Central California coast with all the beach activities your family typically enjoy. Its location also makes it easy for families to head inland to explore the apple farms and vineyards of Central California. Avila Beach vacation rentals include spacious condos with ocean views as well as cozy homes that let your family spread out and relax together. While on vacation, check out some of these family-friendly activities to do with your kids.

1. Pick Fruit at Avila Valley Barn

Start your vacation out right by heading to the Avila Valley Barn to pick fresh apples, berries, and peaches, and take them back to your vacation rental to enjoy throughout your trip. Kids love the tractor rides and feeding the farm animals, and on the weekends, the facility offers pony rides as well. Don’t forget to stop at the Sweet Shoppe to pick up some homemade fudge and souvenirs.

2. Soak in Avila Hot Springs

Enjoy the warmth of naturally-heated mineral water when you visit Avila Hot Springs. An Olympic-sized pool awaits you for swimming and splashing fun, along with water slides to make a grand entrance into the water. Relax in the hot tubs, sign up for a massage while the kids play, or rent bikes from Wally’s Bikes to explore the trails leading through the hills in the area.

3. Go Fishing on Avila Beach Pier

Avila Beach Pier stretches 1,000 feet into the Pacific Ocean, creating the perfect place for an evening stroll with your family. During the day, fish off the pier with the kids. You don’t need a fishing license to fish off the end of the pier and Zippy’s, right on the pier, sells bait and rents fishing poles, so all the equipment you need is right at your fingertips.

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4. Spend the Day at the Beach

Avila Beach gets more sun than most central California beaches, so it’s a great place to spend your whole day. Look for Avila Beach Paddlesports, right on the sand, to rent kayaks, paddleboards, and boogie boards.

5. Play Pirates at the Playground

Whether you’re looking for swings, slides, tic tac toe, or a pirate’s fort, you’ll find them all at the Pirates Park in Avila Beach. Surrounded by a grassy lawn, this park is walking distance from the beach, so it’s a great alternative when you’re tired of playing in the sand. Toss down a blanket for a picnic, and help your littlest ones enjoy a ride on a rocking seahorse.

6. Explore Life Under the Sea

After you’ve spent some time playing in the ocean, explore what’s underneath the waves by visiting the Central Coast Aquarium. Take a tour of the aquarium, feed sea animals by hand, and discover new animals in the touch pools. Older kids can become a marine biologist for a day by participating in one of the aquarium’s floating labs.

7. Learn to Surf

Once you’ve conquered boogie boards and stand-up paddleboards, step up to surfing. Van Cruza Surf School and Avila Beach Surf School offer lessons right on the beach, so you can put your newfound skills to good use right away. Newbies and families with younger children should head to the spot where San Luis Creek empties into the ocean for particularly smooth surf.

8. Enjoy Live Music at the Farmers Market

Head to the Avila Beach Farmers Market to buy fresh produce to use when cooking a lovely dinner at your vacation home. Often, the farmers market sponsors local musical groups in free concerts, so get ready to do a little dancing each Friday afternoon from spring through fall.

9. Take Your Dogs to the Beach

Many vacation rentals allow pets, and if you’ve brought your dog with you, you should definitely head to Olde Port Beach or Fisherman’s Beach near Port San Luis, just down the coast from Avila Beach, to let them play in the surf. Dogs are allowed off-leash at all times here, but make sure your pooches are well-socialized before letting them loose. At Olde Port Beach, firepits are available for bonfires, so cook some s’mores after sundown.

10. Go Hiking

Enjoy the beauty of the central California coast by going hiking or taking a long bike ride. The Bob Jones Trail is a pleasant three-mile trek that takes you through woods and a golf course right to the beach, and because it’s paved, it’s easy to ride bikes or take baby strollers along.

11. Visit Pismo Beach

Just down the coast from Avila Beach is the community of Pismo Beach, which is famous for its clams. Beach-goers can drive on the sand dunes here, so rent an ATV for some a real family adventure. Visit at sunset to watch pelicans gather along the tide line, and stroll the small town’s quaint main street to enjoy some of the best fresh seafood in California.

12. Marvel at the Monarchs

If you’re visiting Avila Beach during fall or winter, don’t miss the Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove. About 25,000 monarch butterflies flock here every winter, filling the grove with stunning beauty. Take a tour with one of the volunteer docents to learn more about these stunning insects.

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