Avila Beach is a census-designated place in San Luis Obispo County, California, USA and located about 160 miles (257 km) northwest of Los Angeles, and about 200 miles south of San Francisco. The ZIP Code is 93424. The community is inside area code 805. The population was 1,627 at the 2010 census.
The name Avila commemorates Miguel Avila, who was granted Rancho San Miguelito in 1842.The town was established in the latter half of the 19th century, when it served as the main shipping port for San Luis Obispo. Although Avila Beach still has a working commercial fishing pier and the inland areas have extensive apple orchards, tourism is now the main industry. There are few historical structures remaining; among the oldest is the Point San Luis Light, built in 1890 after a series of shipping accidents.
The beach itself is less than 0.5 miles (0.8 km) long and sheltered in San Luis Bay, which is formed by Point San Luis on the west and Fossil Point on the east. Avila Beach faces south and the 600 foot elevation of Point San Luis breaks the prevailing northwesterly winds. It is therefore usually warmer than the other beaches on the Central Coast. Most of Avila Beach is undeveloped, except for a few blocks adjacent to the beach with homes, hotels, and small businesses, and a few recently built upscale housing developments inland, near a golf course. Avila Beach is also known for its Hot Springs, which are used for resort spas.
Many people mistakenly pronounce the town's name as ah-VEE-lah given the name's Spanish origin. However, the correct Spanish pronunciation is AH-vee-luh. Ordinarily, the penultimate syllable of Spanish words is stressed, except when indicated by an accent over a different syllable. In Spanish, Avila is actually spelled "Ávila" thus indicating that the first syllable, not the second, is stressed.
Average temperatures vary little during the year, ranging from the upper 40s to low 70's Fahrenheit from November through April, and from the 60's to low 80's from May through October. Average annual rainfall is 15 inches. Along with much of the California coast, winter is the wet season, with more than 70% of the yearly rain falling from December through March, while summer brings drought conditions.
Avila Beach has three piers: Avila Beach Pier, 1,685 feet long, intended for tourist strolling and recreational fishing, Harford Pier, a national historic structure designated by the California State Historic Preservation Office, which is for commercial fishing boats to offload their wares since 1873, and the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly SLO) Pier, part of the university's marine research program and not publicly accessible.
Diablo Canyon Power Plant, one of the two nuclear power plants in California is located in a remote part of the Avila Beach unincorporated area, about 6 miles northwest of the beach itself.