Avila Beach and Port San Luis Harbor share the history of San Luis Obispo County. For centuries, the indigenous Chumash people inhabited the area. Although the Spanish came to the area in 1542, they did not explore it for another two centuries. Today, Avila Beach is the only community on the shores of Port San Luis Harbor, and the town is home to fewer than 1000 people. Aside from homes, small businesses, and hotels, most of Avila Beach remains undeveloped.
The climate of Port San Luis Harbor and Avila Beach is both temperate and consistent, with temperatures varying little from month to month. From November through April, average highs range from the 4°C (upper 40s°F) to the low 20s°C (70s°F). From May through October, temperatures range from around 16°C (60s°F) to the mid-20s°C (low 80s°F). More than 70% of Port San Luis Harbor's average 15 inches of precipitation falls from December through March, while summers tend to be dry.
Port San Luis Harbor's Avila Beach offers three recreational beaches. Downtown Avila Beach is less than half-a-mile long, but it is one of the most popular beaches in the area. Visitors can swim, body-board, sunbathe, picnic, barbecue, and even surf when conditions are right.
People are encouraged to bring their dogs to Port San Luis Harbor's Fishermans Beach (also known as Dog Beach). On Port San Luis Harbor's Avila Beach, people can rent kayaks or go on kayak tours, Take the Seaweed Express where small groups tour the wonderful coastline by boat.
The Port San Luis Harbor Sea Life Center in Avila Beach is dedicated to providing educational programs and exhibits to the community through a staff of volunteer biologists and educators. The Port San Luis Harbor Sea Life Center provides adventures for students aboard their Floating Laboratory and in the land-based Discovery Lab.
The Sea Life Center has a comprehensive program at the Discovery Lab that covered a range of courses that educators can customize to fit their curriculum. This Port San Luis Harbor Center also operates a summer camp with beach adventures, live touch-tanks, and learning through hands-on marine science.
Port San Luis Harbor's Olde Port Beach is a family beach next door to the San Luis Bay Inn hotel (that welcomes children). The Inn has tennis courts and a playground. During the week, Olde Port Beach is fairly empty, but college students appear en masse on warm weekends. In the summer, vendors sell hot dogs and ice cream from their carts.