Experience Avila Beach, California

If you're the type of traveler who loves to bring your dog along on a trip, then Avila Beach is for you. It's an eminently dog-friendly destination. Even though Fisherman's Beach is the given name for one stretch of sand, the locals more often refer to it as Dog Beach, where Fido is free to romp in the waves. Visitors will also find lots of dog-friendly accommodations.

Avila Beach came into being back in the 19th century, as San Luis Obispo's main port. Today, tourism rules the day. The nearest airport is San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport, although flying into one of California's international airports and driving the scenic Pacific Coast Highway holds a lot of appeal. Avila Beach is almost equidistant from San Francisco and Los Angeles, about 200 miles from each of these cities.

One of the city's main sights is the 1,685-foot Avila Beach Pier, which was first built in 1908. It stretches out over the water at the center of Avila Beach and is a great spot to watch the sunset or indulge in some relaxing pier fishing (anglers won't need a license to fish off the pier). Another landmark of interest is the historic Point San Luis Lighthouse, built in 1890 by presidential decree, when the bay was the site of too many shipping accidents.

From May through November the town mounts Art on the Beach, where creative works are on display along Avila Beach's promenade.

Avila's main beach stretches along a half mile of San Luis Bay. Since the bay is sheltered, the water stays a tad warmer than other beach destinations along the central California coast. If the weather does get nippy, make tracks for one of the area's hot spring resorts. The rainiest months are December through March.

Free beach parking can fill up fast, but there's always the option of parking in the beach lot, which will cost $5 a day.

The above article appeared on USA Today's website. The full article can be seen here.