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 a fantastic spot and here is all the information.

Pirates Cove-1

Details

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

Getting There

Pirates Cove Trail-2

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.

Pirates Cove Trail-1

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

The Cave

Pirates Cove-6

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.

Pirates Cove-5

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

Pirates Cove-2

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

Pirates Cove-3

Pirates Cove-4

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

Pirates Cove-7

After visiting the cave, you can head down to 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.

Pirates Cove-9

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

Pirates Cove-8

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

Pirates Cove-12

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

Pirates Cove-10

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.

Pirates Cove-13

Update 2018

I went back again in 2018 so that I could see the arch that I missed during the first trip. It is in the southwest section and it is a ton of fun to see.

To get down to it though you do have to use a sketchy rope, so many people might not want to go all the way down.

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

Interested in supporting this blog?

This blog is simply a hobby and labor of love for me. If you have enjoyed the posts consider sharing it with your friends. I want as many people as possible to explore this state and you can help by letting them know about all of the great spots!



About JoshMc

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.