Tag Archives: Avila Hot Springs

Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab

IMG_8971Before leaving Avila Beach on Katie and my trip to Avila Hot Springs we stopped into one of the shops for some ice cream. As we walked down the street looking for a place to stop I saw a sign for Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab. I had remember seeing a flyer at the hot springs for the ice cream and excitedly exclaimed that this must be the spot. We headed inside for a look around.

The shop was bigger than expected from outside. They had trinkets and gadgets for purchase from gardening decorations to magnets to photo albums. We walked around exploring the different decoration items. Eventually we got tired of looking and headed over to their counter where they sold sandwiches, fudge, ice cream, coffee and smoothies.

I ordered a mint fudge ice cream cone from the super nice guy behind the counter. His scoop was perfect, round, big and fit exactly right on top of the cone. The ice cream was absolutely delicious! Perfect for the hot day of exploring the small town and beach we were having.

After further investigation when I got home I still can’t be quite sure if the place we stopped was one of Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Labs or if they only sold Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab ice cream but I don’t think it was. From the outside there was no sign other than the Doc Burnstein sign, but inside the ice cream bar was called Hula Hut. Also, after googling Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream Lab I noticed that they only had 3 locations, Arroyo Grande Village, San Luis Obispo, and Old Town Orcutt and technically we were in Avila Beach.

I can’t wait to go back to Central California and get to one of their real ice cream labs. Hopefully I will be able to get there on a Tuesday evening when they have their all you can eat deals. Either way, their ice cream is creamy, soft, and too yummy for words.

Avila Valley Barn

IMG_8973Right next door to the Avila Hot Springs is the Avila Valley Barn. Not so close that you can smell the animals, but close enough that you could walk if you wanted to. Of course Katie and I had to stop by before heading home on our last day at the hot springs.

We parked in the lot next door and walked straight into the animal section with goats, sheep, and miniature horses. Inside there were small bags of goat feed for purchase. We took a moment to watch the children feed them through the gates. There were signs over the horses that said no petting, but the rest of the animals you were able to reach through or over the fence and give them a soft pat on the head.

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There was a tractor hay ride about to depart as we arrived to the barn entrance. Before heading in we noticed that they had fresh ice cream for sale along with deli meats in another building nearby. We headed into the barn where there were multitudes of things to see. They had fresh locally grown fruits and veggies, homemade pies and sauces, and recipe books and cooking accessories. They even had honey from their own bees and jams from the fruit they grown in their fields. As we were looking around I even saw where their pies were made as I snuck a peak through a window into their kitchen.

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Though everything looked delicious we didn’t end up purchasing anything. The barn has a lot to explore and experience. While we didn’t have a ton of time to check it all out I’m sure you could spend a half day or so there feeding the animals, going on the tractor ride, looking through and shopping at the barn. It’s definitely fun for families with children.

Old West Cinnamon Rolls

IMG_8973On Katie and my way home from Avila Hot Springs we stopped in at Old West Cinnamon Rolls in Pismo Beach for a treat. The place is relatively big for it’s looks from the outside and from what I had expected. Once inside they have a front counter and a few tables to sit at.

Old West Cinnamon Rolls is a family run business who’s cinnamon rolls have become tradition at fairs, shows, and bakeries all over the US. Their menu consists of coffee, smoothies, and other drinks. Their signature item being their cinnamon rolls, which they still make using Betty’s original recipe from over 40 years ago. They have every kind of cinnamon roll you can imagine from original to crumb to raisin walnut.

I tried their original frosted and crumb when I went. They came out of the oven warm and ready to be eaten. I took my first bite of the frosted and boy was it good. So rich that I had to stop about a quarter of the way through and finish the rest later. I saved the crumb until the following day. I must say I actually think the crumb was even better. The crispy top added texture to the soft roll. Next time I’m back in Pismo Beach, CA I’ll be sure to stop by again.

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Crunchy Sand at Shell Beach

IMG_8971While on a camping trip to Avila Hot Springs Katie and I took some time exploring the nearby beaches. I had heard that we should check out Shell Beach so we googled it and headed over to see what was so special. As we arrived we could see that it was absolutely beautiful. From the streets of Pismo Beach, CA the large rocks sticking out of the water along the ocean’s edge were breathtaking. The horizon like nothing I had seen anywhere else.

Driving along the water’s edge, we came across three staircases. Not sure which to take, we choose the one furthest south to start. As we reached the bottom there was not much sand. We traversed over the rocks and eventually came to a little section with more sand than rocks. We searched for rocks compressed with shells inside them, but didn’t come across anything that looked remotely similar to what I had seen from my friend that had been there. We wondered if we were in the correct area so we headed back to the car and moved farther north.

We walked down the staircase farthest north this time since the tide was coming in and there was no way to go down to the sand on the middle staircase without getting wet. Down in the sand this time it crunched beneath your feet. The drastic change in only a mile away from the other section of the beach was interesting and somewhat confusing. Unlike most sand you find in California this sand was harsh and hurt as you walked. Our feet created huge deep marks as we walked. As I took a closer look I could see that the sand was made of small rocks and shell pieces about 2 mm in size.

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We walked around continuing to look for those big compressed rocks with shell within them, but not finding any in this area either. At least there were rocks in the last area that might have had the compressed shells in them. This area had hardly any big rocks at all. The dark brown sand was beautiful however. We headed back to our campsite glad that we took some time to explore and see somewhere new.

Camping at Avila Hot Springs

IMG_8973Katie and I went to the Avila Hot Springs in San Luis Obispo, CA for a weekend of fun, exploration, and relaxation. Discovered in 1907 by oil drillers, the Budan family established these springs as a popular natural artesian mineral hot spring oasis. Today they offer RV campsites, cabins for rent, and what Katie and I chose, tent campsites.

We arrived at Avila Hot Springs as the sun was setting on a Saturday evening and pulled up to the admissions office. Katie headed inside to find out where our campsite was and soon we were unloading the truck and setting up our tent in nothing but flashlight, nearby campfire, and moon light. After our tent was set up and the firewood we would need for that night unloaded we moved the truck down to the parking area below.

We set the wood into the pit and made our first attempt at our fire. It was turning out to be a big flop. Our free wood was too dense to catch fire once we had a spark or small flame growing on the newspaper. We struggled time and time again with no success. Luckily our neighbors saw that we were having problems and offered us some lighter fluid. It was enough to get our fire and dense wood finally lit long and hot enough to continue for the rest of the night. We spent the rest of the evening by the fire making a few S’mores and staying warm until we figured it was time to go to sleep.

The next morning we made breakfast over a new fire made with more lighter fluid, egg and cheese burritos and hot chocolate. Most people were heading out that day and someone offered us some firewood since we were staying for another evening. Then we got to explore the campground. They have a massage room, hot mineral soaking pool, freshwater pool with two watersides, bikes for rent and even a small cafe. Katie was excited for their 20’x20′ therapeutic hot mineral soaking pool. At 104 degrees it is constantly being replenished with water from the natural artesian well beneath Avila Hot Springs. She could barely wait to get in, but held out until evening when the temperatures dropped and the water would feel the warmest.

We headed out to the town and explored a few areas. As it got later we headed back the the campground for dinner. We were determined to try to start the fire this time without lighter fluid this time, or at least I was. We lit the fire with our new wood and it was so much easier. We made our dinner, chicken apple sausages and banana boats for dessert and they were delicious. There’s no better way to cook a meal than over a campfire.

With our fire slowly dying we decided to go for a soak in the mineral pool and a swim in the freshwater pool. The mineral pool was so hot we quickly needed to cool down in the freshwater pool, but both pools were so nice and refreshing. One to relax your muscles and the other to cool you down. We stayed until the pools closed and then headed back to our campsite. A little poking and prodding and our fire reignited, ready to warm us up and cook a few more s’mores. The night was much colder than the previous one so we retired to our tent pretty late using it as long as possible to keep warm.

The following morning we made one last fire, cooked and ate our breakfast, and packed up our belongings. As we pulled away from the campground I couldn’t wait to come back. It’s definitely a place for people of all ages to enjoy.