Katie 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.