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Avila Beach, California

We recently returned to a Central California beach town that’s changed significantly since our first visit about 20 years ago.

Avila Beach is located in San Luis Obispo County between the county seat and Pismo Beach. As a south-facing community, similar to Santa Barbara, it enjoys milder weather than other nearby towns. It’s reached via a long, winding road from Highway 101, past a series of wineries and hot springs.

Avila Beach was once known as the nearest town to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The town remained small due to a building moratorium and limited water supply. Then in 2000, Unocal agreed to undertake a massive cleanup of contaminated soil under the town, which involved demolishing all structures in a large part of town, removing the soil and rebuilding the town literally from the ground up.

When we first visited this town it reminded us of Ocean Beach. It was out of the way, a little hard to access and definitely caught in a time warp. When we returned it more closely resembled Avalon on Catalina Island, which brought mixed emotions.

One local attraction was as we remembered it. At the end of Harford Pier in nearby Port San Luis, we had a great meal at the Olde Port Inn. It boasts a 360-degree view of the area and a variety of local seafood. They’ll even prepare fish you bring in with you if it's not on their menu. A large part of the attraction for us was their extensive wine collection, including many from smaller local wineries.

For those travelling along the Central Coast, Avila Beach is worth the time to leave the highway and enjoy a small, relaxed beach community.

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We recently returned to a Central California beach town that’s changed significantly since our first visit about 20 years ago.

Avila Beach is located in San Luis Obispo County between the county seat and Pismo Beach. As a south-facing community, similar to Santa Barbara, it enjoys milder weather than other nearby towns. It’s reached via a long, winding road from Highway 101, past a series of wineries and hot springs.

Avila Beach was once known as the nearest town to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. The town remained small due to a building moratorium and limited water supply. Then in 2000, Unocal agreed to undertake a massive cleanup of contaminated soil under the town, which involved demolishing all structures in a large part of town, removing the soil and rebuilding the town literally from the ground up.

When we first visited this town it reminded us of Ocean Beach. It was out of the way, a little hard to access and definitely caught in a time warp. When we returned it more closely resembled Avalon on Catalina Island, which brought mixed emotions.

One local attraction was as we remembered it. At the end of Harford Pier in nearby Port San Luis, we had a great meal at the Olde Port Inn. It boasts a 360-degree view of the area and a variety of local seafood. They’ll even prepare fish you bring in with you if it's not on their menu. A large part of the attraction for us was their extensive wine collection, including many from smaller local wineries.

For those travelling along the Central Coast, Avila Beach is worth the time to leave the highway and enjoy a small, relaxed beach community.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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