At the edge of a sunny cove next to downtown shops and restaurants, Avila's ½-mile stretch of white sand lures scores of beachgoers on weekends year-round and daily in summer. It's especially family-friendly, with a playground, barbecue and picnic tables, volleyball and basketball courts, and lifeguards on watch in summer and on many holiday weekends. Limited free beachfront parking is available but fills up fast; otherwise park in a nearby pay lot ($5 for the day, $1
after 4 pm). Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 10 to 5. Facilities: food and drink; lifeguards (seasonal); parking; showers; toilets; water sports. Best For: sunset; surfing; swimming; walking.