America's Best Little Beach Towns
Len Wilcox / Alamy
Avila Beach, CA
If the days seem brighter in this Central Coast town, just north of Pismo Beach—well, they are. Avila’s bay location gives it less fog than its neighboring towns, making it all the better for strolling its boardwalk pier and taking a dip in the waters. You’re also a short hop from Paso Robles and wine country.
Stay: The nautical-theme Avila Beach Lighthouse Suites may not be old—the whole pier area was rebuilt after an oil spill in the 1990s—but it’s old-school, with Ping-Pong, putting greens, and a life-size chessboard.
Eat: Start your day with churro-style French toast or the Machaca—eggs with beef barbacoa, queso fresco, beans, and hash browns—at the local favorite, the Old Custom House.
—Katrina Brown Hunt