Avila Hot Springs is a wonderful resort to swim, soak, stay, and play offering both vacation rentals and camping. It’s located in San Luis Obispo, California, about a 3-hour drive north of Los Angeles.
It was accidentally discovered in 1907 when drilling for oil. The Budan family opened it as a mineral hot springs retreat at the entry to Avila Beach and Port-San Luis Harbor. Today visitors can rent cabins by the day, week or month, or set up tent camping or smaller RVs of less than 25 feet. It’s all only 2 miles from the beaches with quick access via the scenic Bob Jones Trail.
The outstanding southern location on the Central Coast has some of the best weather year-round. With palm trees and cool ocean winds, it’s one of the top places to escape the heat. There are group picnic tables and barbecues, massage therapy, bike rentals, and best of all, hot springs.
Natural Hot Springs Soaking
There are two water options at Avila, a heated freshwater pool and a hot springs soaking pool. Each is open all year long. The 20’x20’ soaking pool is filled with natural mineral water from deep underground. It’s 2 feet deep and thermally heated to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.
It flows to the surface without pumps at 130-135 degrees. Then fresh water cools it to its therapeutic temperature.
These local waters were revered by the local Salinan Indians who bathed in them for relief from injuries and ailments. – “Pure Water” by Dr. Casey Adams
The swimming pool has an uncovered deck and two slides for maximum entertainment. It’s chlorine treated for safety and heated naturally using the artesian hot spring. An ADA-compliant pool lift is available. There are private and group swimming lessons too. It’s heated to around 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.
Visitors can choose to visit just for the day or stay overnight. Day-use passes can be bought for the morning or evening hours, or all day long. Spectators can also buy a cheaper pass that allows access to the resort, just without soaking or swimming in either pool.
There are no glass containers or alcohol permitted. Clothing is required.
By appointment, massage is provided by appointment for both singles and couples. Treatments include a half-hour soak in the hot springs pool, before or after your massage.
Avila features both tent and RV camping, as well as cabin rentals. Primitive, dry camping is available year-round at the rear park, with additional spring and summer overflow lawn camping at the front park. Reservations are highly encouraged, especially during the peak spring and summer seasons.
Most tent and RV sites provide picnic tables and fire pits, though it’s not a guarantee during the peak season. The overflow tent camping area does not permit wood fires or charcoal BBQs. Portable gas propane grills are recommended instead.
Unfortunately, there are no dogs permitted in the tent campsites. The RV sites can accommodate RVs and campers 25 feet or less.
Vacation rentals come in the form of quaint 1 bedroom/1bathroom cabins, each with one queen bed and 2 bunk beds. They can accommodate up to four people. The Cavco-made cabins have a kitchen, dining, and living area. Up to 6 people are allowed with extra charge, although it’s BYOB (bedding or sleeping bag).
Cabins have basic cable television, refrigerator, microwave, and essential cooking supplies. No phones or wifi. Wifi can be accessed in the main building. The is no daily maid service. A laundromat that’s coin-operated is on-site.
You can rent beach cruiser bikes by the hour, half day, full day, or overnight. Both child and adult bikes are available. The start of the Bob Jones Trail is located by the resort. It’s known as the City to the Sea bike trail because it winds along the San Luis Obispo Creek to Avila Beach, running parallel to the Pacific Coast Railroad.
The trail is popular with walkers, runners and skaters too. You’ll pass a lovely restaurant on the trail that’s great for some snacks and wine, a golf course, and a bridge. You’ll finish at the beach/promenade in downtown Avila Beach.
Address: 250 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, California 93405, USA