Avila Valley Barn on Avila Beach Drive, just after you turn off the 101, is the first destination I want to spotlight as one of my favorite places on the Central Coast. What a treasure this place is!
If you’re visiting the coast, or even if you’re just driving through on your way to LA or San Francisco, it would be well worth your time to stop by, especially if you have kids in the car.
Why? Isn’t it just another of those ubiquitous fruit stands?
No! It’s so much more.
There’s a gift shop with so much variety. There’s a produce section, a display of baked goods, candy, candles, and everything else you could imagine. But that is just the beginning.
Out behind the shops there are pens brimming with eager animals—goats and pigs and llamas and donkeys—everything a little child could want. You buy them a little sack of lettuce and they spend the next half hour feeding the animals. And now and then, petting them, too. There are pony rides and little chairs and tables to sit at in the center of the yard.
As it gets toward noon, the corn on the cob begins to roast and the scent is everywhere. Once you’ve had your fill, mosey on over to the Sweet Shoppe where they will cut you off a piece of fudge dripping with caramel or peanut butter frosting, or anything else your little heart may desire. So good!
Then it’s time to line up for the hayride—everyone hops on a flat bed covered with straw and rides out into the orchards. It’s a “You pick ‘em” type of farm and they let you pick everything from ollalieberries to apples, depending on the time of year. In the fall, huge pumpkins litter the fields. In December, fresh, bristling Christmas trees fill the front lot.
This is just a very special place. I hope you get a chance to explore it yourself.
Location: just beyond Pismo/Shell Beach going North, just below San Luis Obispo going South, turn on Avila Beach Drive