About Caves

A cute, quaint and beautiful little beachside community with epic scenery, the only drawback to the Central Coast gem of Avila Beach is that the surf doesn’t get very good very often. The small creek mouth should hypothetically replenish the sandbars, but most of the year, Avila is a waist-high closeout. That being said, it does have its moments when the conditions align. Situated in the heart of San Luis Obispo County, Avila needs a good groundswell to start working, and thanks to surrounding hills, it can stay clean and glassy when other surrounding spots are blowing out. It can be plenty fun, but because it’s somewhat out of the way and inconsistent, Avila is easily overlooked.

Source: Caves Surf Guide

Ability Level


Beg Int Adv

Since it’s usually small and closed-out, the experienced surfer is going to get bored pretty quick, leaving plenty of room for those just starting their surfing journey.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating

Not exactly a hotbed for competitive surfing, this quaint swath enjoys mellow vibes most of the time. A local crew is on it when it’s good, through.

Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Because it’s somewhat out of the way, the vibes are pretty relaxed at Avila Beach day in and day out.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

Struggles with swell exposure and wave quality, making it one of the less-consistent zones in the San Luis Obispo area, but can still offer some magic moments when conditions align.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Since it’s pretty small most days, shoulder burn isn’t usually an issue, but when it starts pumping on a proper groundswell, be prepared to paddle in a thicker (4-mil) wetsuit.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Typically isn’t a concern except after periods of heavy rains, because the San Luis Obispo Creek meets the sea here, with a golf course upstream.

Additional Information


Cold water, occasional sharks and some scattered rocks — pretty standard concerns in Central California. And if you’re surfing close to the pier, getting tangled up in the pilings.


Access isn’t a problem here. Find street parking in Avila and walk down to the beach.

Bring Your

Shortboard, funboard, fish, longboard


A large, sandy beach with two piers and rocks mixed in. To the south you’ll find the rocky Fossil Point.

Best Season

Needs a fairly significant groundswell to turn on, and big SW or W swells are the go, meaning summertime into Autumn and winter is your best bet for this fickle zone.

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos