Avila Hot Springs – San Luis Obispo, California

In the middle of nowhere, there is a hidden oasis called Avila Hot Springs. The remote hot springs is nestled in the hills of the Central Coast and offers an escape from city life with its natural hot mineral pools and lush surrounding. Avila Hot Springs is located in the small town Avila Beach, which is south of Big Sur and north of San Luis Obispo.

In 1907, while drilling for oil, someone made the unexpected discovery of it. It remained untouched until 1970s when it was opened to public as a spa retreat.

At the entrance to Avila Beach and Port-San Luis Harbor, the Budan family established it as a mineral hot springs getaway in the early 20th century. Today, it’s one of California’s smallest hot springs resorts with 29 private casitas for guests and three pools that feed from underground thermal springs.

Avila Hot Springs
Avila Hot Springs

Campers can choose to pitch tents or stay in RVs with lengths of less than 25 feet now, in addition to renting cottages by the day, week, or month. It is all only 2 miles away from the beaches, and the gorgeous Bob Jones Trail provides rapid access.

The exceptional southern location on the Central Coast is responsible for some of the nicest weather throughout the entire year. It is one of the best places to get away from the heat because it has palm trees and winds from the ocean. In addition to massage therapy, group picnic tables and barbecues, bike rentals, and maybe most importantly, hot springs, are available.

The Basics

Swiming pools at Avila Hot Springs
Swiming pools at Avila Hot Springs

What is the history behind Avila Hot Springs? The Hot Springs was discovered in 1890 by loggers who found Native American artifacts near it. It remained untouched until 1970s when it was opened to public as a spa retreat. Today, it’s one of California’s smallest hot springs resorts with 29 private casitas for guests and three pools that feed from underground thermal springs.

Hours of operation

The Avila Hot Springs resort is open year-round. The public pools are open from 8am to 9pm daily. The earliest check-in time is 3 pm, and the latest check-out time is 12 pm. There is an additional cleaning fee if guests check in or out before 3 pm or after 12 pm.


The rates depend on the season, day of the week, and the type of room. During summer (May-August), the rates are higher than the rest of the year. There are weekday and weekend discounts for summer.

Room types and amenities

There are two types of rooms at the Avila Hot Springs: private casitas and dorm-style rooms. The private casitas are available in two levels: the deluxe casitas are $250 a night and the premium casitas are $300 a night. The dorm-style rooms can be booked for $100 a night.

The casitas have a seating area, a patio, a fireplace, a king-size bed, and a kitchenette. The rooms also have a shared bathroom. The dorm rooms have a shared bathroom and kitchen.

Things to know before visiting Avila Hot Springs

There is no public transportation to the Avila Hot Springs, so you will have to drive or get an Uber to get there. You can expect to spend a good amount of time in traffic on the way back to San Francisco. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies, you should let the staff know.

There is a minimum stay of two nights on weekends, and three nights on weekdays. You can cancel your reservation with a 72-hour notice, but there is a fee for doing so.

Soaking in the Natural Hot Springs

Heated Mineral Spring Hot Tubs
Heated Mineral Spring Hot Tubs

At Avila, guests can choose between a heated freshwater pool and a hot springs soaking pool for their aquatic experience. Each one is accessible at any time of the year. The natural mineral water that fills the 20′ x 20′ soaking pool comes from a source many feet below the ground. It is thermally heated to a temperature of 104 degrees Fahrenheit and is 1 meter deep.

At a temperature of 130-135 degrees, it flows to the surface without the use of pumps. The water is then cooled to the therapeutic temperature by the addition of fresh water.

The swimming pool provides a great deal of enjoyment thanks to its uncovered deck and its two slides. It has been disinfected with chlorine to ensure your safety, and it is heated in an artesian hot spring in a natural way. There is at your disposal a pool lift that complies with ADA standards. In addition, there are options for both private and group swimming classes. The temperature is maintained at approximately 80 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit.

Visitors have the option of just stopping through for the day or staying for the night. Day passes can be purchased for a certain time period, such as the morning, the evening, or the entire day. Spectators also have the option to purchase a cheaper admission that grants access to the resort but does not permit them to soak or swim in either of the resort’s pools.

Alcohol and glass containers of any kind are not allowed inside. It is necessary to wear clothing.

Individuals or couples can schedule massage appointments, and appointments are taken on a first-come, first-served basis. The treatments consist of either a massage followed by a thirty-minute dip in the hot springs pool or vice versa.

Overnight Lodging

Overnight Accommodation at Avila Hot Springs
Overnight Accommodation at Avila Hot Springs

Tent and recreational vehicle camping, in addition to cabin rentals, are all available at Avila. Primitive and dry camping is offered throughout the year at the back park, with additional overflow lawn camping offered during the spring and summer months at the front park. Making reservations is strongly recommended, particularly during the busiest times of the year, which are spring and summer.

During the busiest times of the year, picnic tables and fire pits are not always available at the campsites that accommodate RVs and tents. Wood fires and charcoal barbecues are not allowed in the area designated for overflow tent camping. Instead, portable grills that run on gas or propane are preferred.

Dogs are not allowed in the tent campgrounds at all, which is a really unfortunate restriction. The RV sites are suitable for campers and RVs that are no longer than 25 feet.

Vacation rentals are offered in the shape of cozy cabins with one bedroom, one bathroom, and one queen bed in addition to two bunk beds in each unit. They have enough room for up to four persons at a time. The cabins that were manufactured by Cavco each feature a kitchen, eating area, and living space.

There is a fee for groups of up to six persons, but guests are expected to provide their own alcohol (bedding or sleeping bag).

The cabins come equipped with standard amenities such as cable television, a refrigerator, a microwave, and basic utensils and cookware. There are no phones or wifi. In the main building, there is WiFi that guests can use. There is no maid service provided on a daily basis. There is a laundromat on-site that accepts payment in the form of coins.

Additional Activities

Beach cruiser bicycles are available for rental by the hour, the half day, the full day, or overnight. There are bikes sized for both children and adults accessible. The lodge is conveniently situated close to the beginning of the Bob Jones Trail.

Because it follows San Luis Obispo Creek all the way to Avila Beach while also running along to the Pacific Coast Railroad, the bike trail is commonly referred to as the City to the Sea bike trail.

The trail is extensively used not just by walkers and runners but also by skaters. On the path, you will go by a golf course, a bridge, as well as a charming restaurant where you may stop for a bite to eat and a glass of wine. You will conclude your journey on the beach or promenade in the heart of Avila Beach.

You can enjoy the beautiful landscape, the scenic trails, and the pristine coastline near the resort. Explore the outdoors with a trek to the Botanical Beach, a nearby beach full of wildflowers, or a walk to the Avila Beach Golf Links, a historic 18-hole golf course.

If you want to learn about the city’s history, visit the Avila Beach Museum. There are three pools at the Avila Hot Springs that feed from underground thermal springs. You can enjoy swimming in the pools or just relax on one of the lounge chairs.

If you want to take a refreshing dip in the cold water, you can walk across the street to the beach.

Weather (5 day forecast)

The summers are hot and dry, and the winters are mild with little rainfall. The Avila Hot Springs is open year-round, but the pools may be closed to maintain the water temperature. You can check the resort’s website or call to confirm the pools are open before visiting.

Local information

Address: 250 Avila Beach Dr, San Luis Obispo, California 93405, USA
GPS: 35.180687,-120.702975
Phone: 805-595-2359
Season: Year-round
Clothing: Required
Website: avilahotsprings.com