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What's causing brown-looking waves at Avila Beach?

Posted at 4:17 PM, Sep 07, 2022

If you have been down to Avila Beach this week, chances are you came across some unpleasant sights and smells near the ocean.

Officials from the Port San Luis Harbor District say natural "red tides" have made their way onto the beach, resulting in the brown-looking waves that have been washing up on shore.

According to, the most recent water quality testing results for Avila this week were within bacteriological limits, and as of now, the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department does not have any advisories or beach closures in place.

Still, the brown water has deterred some tourists from jumping in for a swim.

"We went up to Morro Bay yesterday and went kayaking. The water seemed nicer up there so we haven't been in the water here in Avila," said Craig Ferguson, who was visiting from San Diego.

Officials with Port San Luis say the water should return to its normal-looking state within the next few days.