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Avila Beach

(4.4/5 based on 1,300+ reviews for top 10 attractions)
Things to do: adventure, trails, historic sites
Avila Beach is a historic ocean port in San Luis Obispo County, California, USA, located on San Luis Bay, about 160 miles (257 km) northwest of Los Angeles, and about 200 miles south of San Francisco. For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Avila Beach as a census-designated place (CDP). The census definition of the area may not precisely correspond to local understanding of the area with the same name. The population was 1,627 at the 2010 census.HistoryThe name Avila commemorates Miguel Ávila, 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. Around this time, Luigi Marre built a honeymoon hotel here and steamboats brought customers from San Francisco and Los Angeles.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.In the late 1990s, Unocal began the cleanup of decades old oil seepage discovered years earlier from corroding pipes under the township, and which had caused a massive oil spill under the town. Over 6,750 truckloads of contaminated material was sent to a Bakersfield Landfill, and replaced with clean Guadalupe Dunes sand. Many of the town's homes and businesses, including several blocks of Front Street and Front Street Buildings, were razed as a result of the quarter mile wide excavation. Today, new buildings, homes, businesses, modern walkways and sea motif walls and benches take their place.
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