The name Avila commemorates Miguel Ávila, who was granted Rancho San Miguelito in 1842. The town was established in the latter half of the 19th century, when it served as the main shipping port for San Luis Obispo. Around this time, Luigi Marre built a honeymoon hotel here and steamboats brought customers from San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Although Avila Beach still has a working commercial fishing pier and the inland areas have extensive apple orchards, tourism is now the main industry. There are few historical structures remaining; among the oldest is the Point San Luis Light, built in 1890 after a series of shipping accidents.
In the late 1990s, Unocal began the cleanup of decades old oil seepage discovered years earlier from corroding pipes under the township, and which had caused a massive and toxic oil spill under the town. Over 6,750 truckloads of contaminated material was sent to a Bakersfield Landfill, and replaced with clean Guadalupe Dunes sand. Many of the town’s homes and businesses, including entire Front Street and Front Street Buildings, were razed as a result of the half mile wide excavation. After years of negotiation, Unocal agreed to a thirty million dollar settlement, which has been used to rebuild the town. Today, new buildings, homes, businesses, modern walkways and sea motif walls and benches take their place. A Sea Life Center welcomes visitors to explore the local ocean inhabitants up close.
There are no schools near by this property.