Located in San Luis Obispo County, Morro Bay is a beautiful coastal city set along California’s State Route 1. Boasting three communities, namely Morro Bay, Cayucos, and Los Osos, Morro Bay is home to several pristine state parks, bird and wildlife-filled estuaries, and plenty of places for enjoying outdoor and recreational activities such as surfing, beachcombing, picnicking, kayaking, golfing and camping.
One of the best known California weekend getaways, Morro Bay is also renowned for Morro Rock, which is an ancient volcanic mound at the end of Morro Rock Beach and the last in a chain of long-extinct volcanoes. Situated within Morro Bay State Park, the rock spans 50 acres at its base and towers 576 feet above the entrance to Morro Bay and is surrounded by tranquil lagoons, a bird-rich saltwater marsh, and a network of hiking trails.
1. El Moro Elfin Forest
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Situated next to the Morro Bay estuary in Los Osos-Baywood Park, the El Moro Elfin Forest is a 90-acre natural area owned by the California State and San Luis Obispo County Park. The area features vast tracts of native coast live oak as well as 150-foot high prehistoric dunes rising above southern Morro Bay. The region is also home to more than 200 species of plants, 22 species of mammals, 13 species of amphibians and reptiles, and 110 kinds of birds, many of which are endangered and rare. The forest can be explored by a 5-mile-long boardwalk loop that winds its way through the forest, allowing visitors to soak up the magnificent natural surroundings without damaging the environment. Things to do in San Luis Obispo
1103 Santa Lucia Ave, Los Osos, CA 93402, Phone: 805-528-0392
2. Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve
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The Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve can be found in western San Luis Obispo County and is home to ancient dunes and centuries-old coast live oaks. The California state park features five major plant communities that thrive within the reserve, namely central coastal scrub, coastal sage scrub, live oak forest, dune oak scrub, and riparian (streamside). While these communities live side by side, they each boast their own characters and grow into a variety of gnarled and fantastic shapes. The Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve is located on Los Osos Valley Road in Los Osos Valley, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, and offers an array of outdoor and recreational activities including hiking and bird and wildlife watching. More day trips from San Francisco
1801 Los Osos Valley Rd, Baywood-Los Osos, CA 93402, Phone: 800-777-0369
3. Montana de Oro State Park
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Montaña de Oro State Park is an 8,000-acre reserve situated 6 miles southwest of Morro Bay that boasts breathtaking natural landscapes, fauna, and flora. Named the “Mountain of Gold” in Spanish for the golden wildflowers found in the park, the state preserve is made up of coastal plains and sandy beaches, towering cliffs and canyons, streams, and hills, and is home to the majestic 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. The park provides a wealth of outdoor and recreational activities, including hiking, mountain biking, and equestrian trails, camping, picnicking, beachcombing, and birdwatching. Offshore, Montaña de Oro State Park is a protected marine reserve with an abundance of natural ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
3550 Pecho Valley Rd, Los Osos, CA 93402, Phone: 805-528-0513
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4. Morro Bay Maritime Museum
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The Morro Bay Maritime Museum is a maritime interpretive center dedicated to showcasing naval military memorabilia with excellent exhibits of various naval equipment and vehicles such as a Coast Guard cutter and a deep-sea roving vehicle. Managed by the Central Coast Maritime Museum Association and the City of Morro Bay, the museum aims to create a greater awareness and understanding of the maritime heritage of California. Designed by architect Jim Maul, the museum has an outdoor small craft display, an interpretive center, and a major 1,500-square-foot exhibition hall that is home to a variety of boat and vessel exhibits and interactive displays.
1210 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, 805-225-5044
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5. Morro Bay Museum of Natural History
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Located on a hill in the heart of Morro Bay State Park with spectacular views of the Morro Bay estuary, the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History documents the natural history of the region. Established in 1962, the museum is the only natural history museum in the California state park system. The museum features a variety of fun, educational, and interactive exhibits that focus on the natural habitats of the area and the impact of human forces on the environment.
20 State Park Rd, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-772-2694, (website link)
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6. Centennial Parkway
A beautiful park frequented and cherished by locals; Centennial Parkway opened to the public in 1975 as a memorial to the city’s centennial celebration. It came to life through the hard work of community volunteers and the thoughtful design of an architecture student from California Polytechnic State University. In the park, guests can find the landmark Centennial Stairway, which was made from recycled redwood, and two former city water tanks, along with the iconic giant chessboard—one of only two in the United States. Over the years, more chess tables and benches have been added around the giant board, welcoming anyone wanting to test their wits with a round of chess.
806 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, California 93442
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7. Morro Bay State Park
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Set on the shores of the Morro Bay lagoon in western San Luis Obispo County, Morro Bay State Park is a state nature reserve with pristine natural landscapes and terrain and the renowned landmark of Morro Rock. The park offers a variety of outdoor and recreational activities for visitors to enjoy, from hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and sailing to bird and wildlife watching. It is also home to the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History, which features an array of exhibits that focus on the cultural history, natural features, geology, oceanography, and Native American life of the region. Morro Bay State Park has a bustling marina, where locals can launch watercraft, and an 18-hole public golf course, while the northeast edge of the bay is home to is a magnificent saltwater marsh that supports a burgeoning bird population.
60 State Park Rd, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-772-2560
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8. Morro Bay T Pier Sea Otters
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The South T-Pier at Morro Bay is home to over 30 California sea otters, including several pups. The adorable raft of otters draws both locals and visitors who come to watch the playing otters, whose population has been on the endangered species list since 1977 but is now on the rise thanks to significant conservation efforts by the local community. Located next to a system of estuaries that have formed a sand barrier around the inlet of the bay, Morro Bay is an ideal habitat for the otters with tranquil and protected waters. Visitors can park behind the Great American Fish Company and stroll along the Embarcadero to see the otters lolling and sunning themselves in the calm waters.
Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442
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9. Morro Coast Audubon Society Sweet Springs Nature Preserve
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Visit the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve on vacation. This 32-acre park is located off Ramona Avenue in the town of Los Osos and provides an array of outdoor and recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, and birdwatching. Owned and managed by the Morro Coast Audubon Society for the past 30 years, the Sweet Springs Nature Preserve is named for a freshwater source that flows into the bay and boasts beautiful views of Morro Bay, its networks of estuaries, mudflats, and wetlands, and Morro Rock. The family-friendly preserve is a favorite spot for picnics, birdwatching, and fun family-days out.
660 Ramona Ave, Los Osos, CA 93402, (website link)
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10. Morro Rock
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Located at the entrance to Morro Bay Harbor in Morro Bay, Morro Rock is a huge volcanic plug created by pressurized lava flow reaching the surface. The rock is connected to the shore by a causeway, making it a “tied island,” and is protected as part of the Morro Rock State Preserve. The last of a coastal chain of extinct volcanic peaks along Highway 1 known as the Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, Morro Rock stands 576 feet tall and is home to a large population of nesting peregrine falcons as well as hundreds of cormorants, gulls, and other seabird species. The base of the rock can be reached by driving north on Embarcadero Road, and visitors can explore the rock and its surroundings along the Atascadero Road access trail.
Morro Bay Harbor, Morro Bay, California
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11. Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks
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Sub Sea Tours and Kayaks offers tailor-made and private guided tours of Morro Bay on a variety of vessels. Tours range from cruising the bay’s gentle waters and learning more about the local fauna and flora to heading out into the ocean for some whale watching. The company has two vessels; one is the 28-foot outboard-powered M/V Seaview, which is a 21-passenger semi-submersible boat with large underwater windows on each side for underwater viewing in Morro Bay. The second vessel is the 33-foot outboard-powered M/V Do Osos, which is a 22-passenger open-deck catamaran and used for whale watching trips on the ocean. The vessels are manned by professional and highly skilled seamen and crew, who provide a safe and unforgettable experience.
699 Embarcadero # 9, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-772-9463
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12. Bayshore Bluffs Park
A walk through the serene Bayshore Bluffs Park will bring every visitor a sense of wonder and appreciation for the beautiful Californian landscape. Maintained by the city, the park offers just over 3 acres of natural meadow, which come alive with colorful wildflowers in the spring. An indigenous Monterey Cyprus tree is another point of interest within the park thanks to its unique sideways growth over a pathway after being blown down by a storm. Parkgoers can simply enjoy viewing the scenery and local wildlife or make use of the various walking and biking paths, observation decks, picnic areas, and even a Bayshore launch deck for non-motorized boats.
181 Bayshore Drive, Morro Bay, California 93442, (website link)
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13. Three Stacks and a Rock Brewing Company
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Located in north Morro Bay, Three Stacks and a Rock Brewing Company is a working brewery and tasting room that serves freshly brewed local house-made beer as well as guest taps including craft beers, ciders, and wines. The relaxed brewery produces six rotating house-brews and boasts a pub-style ambiance with tables and chairs and a menu of pub bites to complement the beer selections, including free popcorn. Three Stacks and a Rock Brewing Company offers weekly specials such as Wing Wednesdays (chicken wings with a variety of sauces) and Surfside Sundays with beer and pizza.
595 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-771-9286
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14. Virg's Landing
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Virg’s Landing has been a local sports fishing institution in Morro Bay for more than 50 years, offering a wealth of equipment, advice, and knowledge about fishing in the waters of California’s Central Coast and Morro Bay as well as a variety of fishing and sea-based excursions and tours. Whale watching and nature excursions are offered from January through April each year, while fishing charters are offered throughout the year. Virg’s Landing has a fleet of four Coast Guard approved boats, which are fully equipped with all the necessary safety equipment and crewed by professional, highly skilled captains and seamen. Private charters and tours are also available on request.
1169 Market Ave, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-772-1222
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15. Central Coast Outdoors
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Central Coast Outdoors is a small adventure travel company that offers guided tours of California's Central Coast region, including Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Big Sur, and SLO County. The eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable company aims to provide guests with an unforgettable experience in the outdoor world in and around the Central Coast with a variety of tours ranging from bicycling and kayaking to hiking and specialty tours. The company specializes in small group travel, promising a unique and personalized experience and specialty tours are offered for school and youth groups in addition to corporate team building events and special celebrations and occasions.
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16. Chablis Cruises
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Chablis Cruises offers public and private cruises on board the Chablis, a beautiful 50-foot, two-story riverboat. Departing from the north end of the Embarcadero, between Great American Fish Co. and Lil Hut Fish & Chips, the Chablis boasts plush decorated interiors with large windows and a rooftop deck, offering spectacular views of Morro Bay Harbor and the surrounding landscapes. Visitors can enjoy public cruises on the boat, such as champagne brunches, harbor cruises, and Morro Bay chowder cruises, or the boat can be hired for private celebrations such as weddings, birthdays, and receptions. The Chablis is fully equipped with comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, a full-service bar, modern bathrooms, and adequate safety equipment.
1215 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-772-2128
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17. Dorn's Original Breakers Cafe
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Dorn’s Original Breakers Café is a family-owned and family-friendly bayside eatery that serves fresh, locally caught seafood and oysters against a backdrop of beautiful ocean views. Established in 1942, Breakers Café has been serving both locals and visitors for more than 75 years, offering outstanding freshly prepared cuisine paired with fine wines and warm and friendly service. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; Breakers Café features a seafood-centric menu with a variety of other options such as hand-cut and dry-aged New York steaks, chicken marsala, and signature pasta dishes with fresh salads and sides, including made-from-scratch dressings, vinaigrettes, and sauces.
801 Market Ave, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-772-4415
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18. Maya Sailing Adventures
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Maya Sailing Adventures offers a range of sailing trips and cruises, including harbor tours, whale watching cruises, romantic sunset cruises, sailing lessons, and private charters in Morro Bay. Harbor cruises take in the sights and the sounds of the bustling Morro Bay Harbor and the marine activity of the waterfront while sailing on the sparkling waters and watching for whales. The company also offers overnight trips with a variety of different destinations to choose from, including San Simeon Cove or Port San Luis, as well as soaking up the spectacular sunset, watching the world’s largest mammals at play, or enjoying customized nature immersion retreats.
1213 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, Phone: 805-459-4665
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19. Morro Bay Golf Course
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Built in 1923, this iconic central coast course offers a beautifully scenic game of golf at an affordable price. The 18-hole course is popular for its location overlooking the town of Morro Bay with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean from every hole. However, more than just jaw-dropping views, the Morro Bay Golf Course offers an enjoyable game for every skill level alongside pristine playing conditions on its bent grass and tree-lined fairways. Several kinds of instruction programs are also available for those wanting professional guidance as they perfect their game both on the course and in the practice area.
201 State Park Road, Morro Bay, California 93442; Phone: 805-772-1923
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20. Kelli’s Candies & Family Fun Zone
After a delicious meal in town, satisfy your sweet cravings at Kelli’s Candies & Family Fun Zone. The store offers almost every kind of yummy treat imaginable from chocolates to candies to ice cream. Their chocolate menu includes nut barks, sugar-free chocolates, and over a dozen flavors of fudge, just to name a few. They also have an endless selection of candies from taffy to jelly beans to bulk candies like Swedish fish and sour glow worms. Hard-to-find vintage favorites like Fizzies and Dubble Bubble are also available at Kelli’s. After picking your dessert of choice, be sure to head over to the family zone for a few rounds of fun video games.
725 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, California 93442, Phone: 805-771-8200
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