It’s all paws out for a daylong adventure on Avila’s Bob Jones Bike Trail. Don’t have a bike? No worries! Bike rentals are available near the parking area and leashed Lassies are also welcome with walkers, joggers and skaters on this 2.5-mile paved pathway to beautiful Avila Beach. With dog-friendly stops along the way offering food and drink, this scenic city-to-sea trek makes exercising enjoyable.
The dirt parking area for the Bob Jones Bike Trail is right off Highway 101 at Avila Beach Drive. With its wide, clearly marked path, the trail is easy to navigate for the more experienced bike dog. Mutt Mitts are available all along the route but water is not, so be sure to bring an ample supply for both Buster and yourself. The scenery on the trail varies from apple orchards and a labyrinth on the east end of the trail to the popular Avila Beach Golf Resort near the shoreline. The trail gently winds near San Luis Obispo Creek where early morning and evening travelers are met with a chorus of Pacific tree frogs, whose loud calls become more pronounced during the spring mating season.
Woodstone Marketplace is immediately off the east end of the bike trail and welcomes dogs with fresh water and dog treats on their shaded patio. Thirsty travelers will enjoy the generous beverage list featuring local wines, beer and non-alcoholic refreshment. Venturing west from Woodstone, Bob Jones enthusiasts soon leave the shaded portion of the trail for the sunny road that follows the immaculate golf course. Sheltered from the wind by the sloping hillside, this part of the Bob Jones Bike Trail can get quite warm, but never fear, as cool ocean breezes are not far off.
Crossing the bridge over San Luis Creek marks the end of the trail and brings travelers to the beach. For an off-leash paradise of sand and surf, cross Avila Beach Drive and turn right over the bridge. Keep in mind that this road may be busy with traffic and the designated bike lanes are the safest bet for you and your pup. Olde Port Beach is a favorite of locals and visitors. With gentle surf and a panorama view of Avila Bay, this dog beach is a safe, fun environment for the entire family. Here dogs are free to play ball in the surf, dig holes in the sand and make new friends. Fire rings are brought to this beach for evening bonfires during the spring and summer months, while small BBQs are welcome year round. When it is time to leave this heavenly shore, keep an eye out for Noni’s Express Dog Wash van, often situated at the top of the ramp. For a reasonable fee, Noni will provide you with a gentle warm water bath to rinse away the salt and sand.
Immediately to the south of Olde Porte Beach is Avila, a quaint seaside community brimming with restaurants, shops and boutique hotels. Hungry hounds and their people are welcome at The Custom House. The broad patio, which overlooks the main walkway, beach and Avila Beach Pier, is perfect for soaking up the view while enjoying delicious chow. The Custom House’s abundant menu is sure to please everyone in the family, including Rover, who can choose from a special dog menu featuring ground beef, chopped hot dogs or frozen yogurt drizzled with peanut butter.
When your plans include an overnight stay in SLO’s South County, be sure to head south on highway 101 to Pismo Lighthouse Suites. This beachfront hotel features nine dog-friendly suites with pet beds, food and water bowls. Fido will enjoy access to the oceanfront lawn, and this generous business donates 10 percent of the $25 pet fee to Woods Humane Society.