Pirate’s Cove and Sea Cave in Avila Beach

Before you read any further, yes Pirate’s Cove is a nude beach, so don’t be surprised if you see naked people hanging out there and let this be a warning if going with your family. That being said the beach and the cave itself are incredibly beautiful. You can walk to the cave without going down to the beach if you want to see it and do not want to see anything else. I went and visited on a rainy fall day and I had both the cave and the beach to myself for sunset, it was an amazing spot and here is all the information.

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  • Cost: Free
  • Location: 1551 Cave Landing Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
  • Parking: Dirt Lot

Getting There

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After getting off Highway 1 on Avila Beach Dr, you will go under the freeway and drive about a mile and a half till you see a golf course on your right and a small road leading up a hill on the left. The road is called Cave Landing Road and it is about a half mile long and ends in a large dirt parking lot.

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After parking you will proceed down the hill on the trail in the South East section of the lot. This trail is relatively steep but pretty short, after about a tenth of mile you will reach a split with a sign that says cave one way and beach the other.

The Cave

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I went to the cave first so I headed to the right. The trail to the cave is about another tenth of a mile and when you complete that you will turn a corner and see the big cave to your right.

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This cave is actually pretty impressive and is about 15 feet tall and 20 feet wide.

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When you walk through the cave you will be greeted by a sheer cliff. This is a fantastic place to watch the sunset from.

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I was sad with how much the cave had been abused though. There was trash everywhere along with graffiti on the cave walls. I don’t know who would do such a thing as this is a beautiful piece of nature, but please do your part and clean up some trash if you visit.

The Beach

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After visiting the cave you can head down the beach if you feel so inclined. Back at the fork in the road you will want to go left and then it is a series of 15-20 steps which lead you down to the beach.

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When I was there at sunset and I was the only person at the beach. I got to just sit there and relax with a few of the seals that were sleeping on the rocks in the water.

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The beach also has a few small tide pools and I saw a decent amount of sea anemones in the shallow pools.

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After sitting on the beach and just watching the waves come in I headed back up the steps to the car.

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There was a police car waiting in the lot so I am guessing they shut this area down after sunset, but I can’t confirm that. I did make a new friend on the way back that you can see below.

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All in all Pirate’s Cove is an amazing spot to explore and watch the sunset at. I wouldn’t recommend it for everyone due to the clothing optional thing, but I enjoyed my time at this beach. Be sure to leave any tips in the comments.

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Thanks for checking out the blog, I am happy to be sharing my adventures with you! You can get to know me by reading my about me, which includes a video and additional information on the site, myself and my full disclosure. Also, follow along on Twitter here or read all of my posts on this blog here.

  • Stetler Brown

    I LOVE pirates cove!!! It is such a great place to shoot pictures and just sit from the cave and enjoy the ocean. Every time I go to the area I have to stop here – even for just a short time! I recommend it to everyone to come here at least once.

    • I agree, it is such a beautiful spot. Thanks for the comment!