Family Reunion at the Beach on CA’s Central Coast

A Seven Day Itinerary of Family Fun in Avila Beach, Edna Valley, Lopez Lake, Oceano and Nipomo

Day 1: Arrive in Avila Beach

Arrive in Avila Beach along the Wine Coast Country Highway 1 Discovery Route. Easy access by Amtrak, San Luis Obispo Regional Airport (SBP) or by auto along several of CA’s great highways that lead to San Luis Obispo County including State HWYs 101, 1, 46, or 41.

Overnight in Avila Beach at one of the many vacation rentals. When bringing family together, a vacation rental is a great hotel alternative to get the amenities of home but with bonus features like ocean views, outdoor patio and proximity to shopping, hiking and the beach.

Avila Beach is the perfect “home-base” for a family gathering. Settle into the vacation rental or hotel before exploring all the highlights of Avila. From hiking, to biking, golf, and paddle sports, Avila has much to offer all family members. Avila also offers several Stewardship Travel Program (STP) activities.

Locals know that you can drive to the end of historic Harford Pier for a relaxed lunch or dinner right on the water at Olde Port Inn.  Be sure to visit Point San Luis Lighthouse is in order. Trolley tours available every Wednesday and Saturday.

Day 2: A Day at Avila Beach

A stay in Avila is not complete without experiencing the historic hot springs.  Discovered in 1907 these naturally heated mineral springs provide a wonderful retreat in a beautiful setting.  There are 20 tubs nestled throughout Sycamore Mineral Springs Spa, available to rent by the hour.

Day 3: Visit Historic Edna Valley

12 miles, 15 minutes from Avila Beach

The Edna Valley lies in the shadow of the historic Seven Sisters volcanic mountain chain, meandering for a dozen miles with picturesque wineries, working farms, horseback riding and tempting bike trails offering fun for the whole family.

Right in the middle of it all is Old Edna Townsite.  Founded in the early 1800s, the Old Edna Townsite was once a bustling center for early farming and ranching families. Today, the lovingly preserved Old Edna Townsite offers family fun including self-guided tours.

Day 4: Visit Lopez Lake Recreation Area in the Arroyo Grande Valley

11 miles, 15 minutes from Avila Beach

Just ten miles east of Arroyo Grande we found Lopez Lake Recreation Area, a top choice for all lake-friendly activities. With 22 miles of shoreline and summer lake temperatures around 70 degrees, there is something for everyone: fishing, boating, skiing, sailing, picnicking, hiking and equestrian trails, mountain biking, canoeing, bird watching.

Stewardship Travel experiences at Lopez Lake include the Natural History Boat Cruise, Ancient Oaks Preservation Walk and the Fishing and Outdoor Ethics Clinic.  Check if your travel dates correspond to these wonderful activities.

Day 5 Visit Nipomo’s Oso Flaco Lake and the Lost City of Cecil B DeMille

20 miles, 20 minutes from Avila Beach

Nipomo is a small agricultural town of lemon and avocado orchards, which also banks the ocean with sand dunes and fragrant blue gum eucalyptus trees.  Here we found the breathtaking natural landmark Oso Flaco Lake.  Contained inside an 18,000 acre, 18-mile shoreline this landmark has a charming wooden, one-mile boardwalk.

We were able to learn more about the Oso Flaco history and wildlife by visiting the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes Natural History Center.    Check out the exhibit about the “Lost City of Cecil B DeMille.” The largest movie set in movie history was built in the dunes near Guadalupe for the making of DeMille’s film, The Ten Commandments.  That movie set sits buried in the sand to this day!

Day 6: A Day at Oceano Dunes State Park

11 miles, 15 minutes from Avila Beach

Oceano is known for its majestic dunes and remains the only beach in California you can still drive on.  The Ocean Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) provides an impressive playground for off-highway enthusiasts. We drove our car car, but you can also rent a dune buggy to experience the most extensive coastal dunes still in California.

Day 7: Wind down in Avila Beach

One last day in Avila Beach.  Rent bikes and hit the Bob Jones Trail.  Grab a kayak and discover Pirate’s Cove.  Feeling even more adventurous?  Consider a group surf lesson. Also fun for the whole family is the Central Coast Aquarium where you’ll discover hands-on exhibits that help in understanding the unique marine ecosystems found just feet away in the waters along Avila Beach.