Morro Bay (population 10,000) is in San Luis Obispo County in the Central Coast region of California. The town is best known for the massive 581-foot (177-m) volcanic rock at the entrance to the harbour.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Morro Bay is a 15-minute drive from San Luis Obispo, 2½ hours from Fresno or Bakersfield, and 4 hours from Los Angeles or San Francisco.
The nearest airport is in San Luis Obispo, with a range of departures to western hubs. Take the SLO Transit bus downtown and then transfer to RTA route 12.
The nearest train station is in San Luis Obispo, with Amtrak service on the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner. To reach Morro Bay, take the SLO Transit bus downtown and then transfer to RTA Route 12.
Morro Bay can be traveled on foot, especially if staying in the central part of town.
Car travel is easy in Morro Bay, though parking may be challenging on weekends and in the summer.
- Morro Bay Transit, ☏ . Provides a year-round fixed bus route and several trolley lines that run in the summer.
- 1 Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Morro Bay State Park Rd, ☏ . Daily 10AM-5PM; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. The only natural history museum in the State Park system, this museum focuses on the unique environment of Morro Bay and its estuary. Adults $3; 16 and under free.
- Morro Bay Aquarium, 595 Embarcadero, ☏ . Every day. 12 years and over, $2.
- 2 Morro Rock. The great sight is the surf at the base of Morro Rock (called "The Rock" locally) which is the lava plug remnant of an ancient volcano. A bayside walk connects the Embarcadero waterfront to the ocean and harbor entry. The jetty that guards the bay mouth is a popular but dangerous surf vantage point, and one must take care with rogue waves which have killed visitors here. The Rock is a protected Native American shrine and home to endangered peregrine falcons.
The Embarcadero is the main tourist area and lines the east side of the bay. It is a great walking experience along a working port and eco-tourist destination. A variety of marine life is here, from sea otters to sea lions, and the town is a declared bird sanctuary. Excellent deep sea fishing originates at the north end of the Embarcadero. A public park and boat launch are at the south end. RVs and mobile homes may day-park at either end. There is a giant chess board in the middle of Embarcadero Rd.
Popular surfing locations are to the north on easy access beach from free public parking and across the harbor entry to the north end of the sand spit that forms the west edge of the bay.
You can rent a kayak and explore the south part of the bay, which is one of the larger estuaries on the west coast. A favorite local tradition is to kayak from Morro Bay State Park or Embarcadero docks to the massive sand spit for a picnic.
To the north of town is the Morro Strand State beach which offers additional surfing possibilities and many locals with their dogs in a fairly open uncrowded setting. To the south of the town is Morro Bay State Park which includes an impressive public golf course set in pines on challenging hillsides with amazing views to the ocean and bay. A renovated public campground is available.
- 1 Art in the Park (Morro Bay Park at the intersection of Harbor Dr and Morro Bay Blvd). Morro Bay Art in the Park is sponsored by the Morro Bay Art Assocition and is one of the oldest fine art and fine craft shows in the state of California; it's been running since 1955. Proceeds from the art show benefit high school art education in San Luis Obispo County. The show is held on Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend and Labor Day weekend.
Shops cater to the tourist trade with art, t-shirts and the like.
- 1 Dorn's Original Breaker's Cafe, 801 Market Ave (right above the Embarcadero). Has great views, and is both a popular and reliable choice, especially for older patrons.
- 2 Hofbrau Restaurant, 901 Embarcadero, ☏ . Delicious French dip sandwiches are hand-carved in front of you. This restaurant serves up German fare as well as the popular waterfront fish and chips and clam chowder options.
- 3 Taco de Mexico, 980 Main St. For an amazing carne asada burrito and authentic experience, head to Taco de Mexico for lunch. Referred to by locals simply as "Tacos De," this popular spot is easy, fast, and inexpensive, though lines can be out the door around noon.
- 4 Lolo's, 2848 Main St, ☏ . If you are looking for an escape from the often tourist-filled Embarcadero dining scene, follow Main Street to North Morro Bay. There you will find a great, family-friendly Mexican eatery with the best chips and salsa around (their salsa is bottled and sold in local grocery stores as well as in the restaurant).
- Bayside Cafe, 10 State Park Rd, ☏ . For additional waterfront dining, check out the Bayside Cafe, located at the local Marina. Offering outside and inside seating and a view of kayakers, this restaurant is great for small family gatherings or long conversations with friends. Try the catch of the day sandwich, which is almost always salmon cooked to perfection.
- Dutchman's, 701 Embarcadero STE E, ☏ . Waterfront seafood staple known for clam chowder, fish 'n' chips & sanddabs (a flatfish).
- Liberty Pub: Live music and nice place.
- Comfort Inn Downtown, 590 Morro Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Hotel features pillow top beds, balconies, fitness room, free hot breakfast, free wireless Internet, business center. $79.
- [dead link] Bay View Inn, 225 Harbor St, ☏ . Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Rooms with ocean views, king beds, queen beds, and two beds. Free wireless high speed Internet, in room coffee makers, fridge, microwave, iron/ironing boards. Booking direct with hotel and save. rates starting at $59.
- Pacific Shores Inn, 890 Morro Ave, ☏ . Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 11AM. Luxury rooms at affordable rates. Room with ocean views, free wireless Internet, in room fridge & microwave, coffee makers, pillow top beds, king & queen beds available. Free breakfast & fitness room. starting from $49.
- Anchor Inn, 220 Beach St, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Best Western El Rancho, 2460 Main St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- Ascot Inn at the Rock, 260 Morro Bay Blvd, ☏ , toll-free: .
- Days Inn, 1095 Main St, ☏ . Hotel amenities include free large-vehicle parking, free continental breakfast, and free Wi-Fi. The property is non-smoking, pet-friendly, and kids 17 and under stay free with an adult.
- Econo Lodge, 1100 Main St, ☏ , fax: . $40–100.
- Inn at Morro Bay, 60 State Park Rd. It sits on 4,000 acres just inside Morro Bay State Park offering a coastal hideaway of natural beauty.
- Motel 6, 298 Atascadero Rd, ☏ , fax: .
- Best Western San Marcos Motor Inn, 250 Pacific St, ☏ , toll-free: , fax: .
- Best Western Tradewinds Motel, 225 Beach St, ☏ , fax: .
- Pleasant Inn Motel, 235 Harbor St, ☏ .
- Cambria - 20 miles north on Highway One, Cambria offers visitors Moonstone Beach, home to tide pools and the semi-precious stones that give the beach its name. The town also offers an abundance of inns and hotels for those seeking a quiet weekend away.
- Los Osos is south of Morro Bay, a little way off Highway 1 and closer than San Luis Obispo.
- San Luis Obispo - 14 miles southeast of Morro Bay and almost exactly half way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this small college town and its neighboring communities boast extraordinary resources for hiking, mountain biking, sea kayaking, swimming and surfing, outstanding natural beauty, a carefully preserved and thriving 19th-century downtown centered around a meticulously restored 18th century mission, a small but thriving art gallery scene, and a large and growing collection of top-quality wineries.
- Atascadero - 18 miles to the northeast of Morro Bay, this town was founded in 1913 as a planned utopian colony, complete with an Italian Renaissance-style town hall surrounded by an expansive sunken gardens. The town hall and gardens remain today, and have been joined by the tiny Charles Paddock Zoo, home to 45 species including a pair of red pandas, Malayan tiger, and lemurs.
- Montana de Oro State Park, 3550 Pechco Valley Road, Los Osos (Take Pechco Valley Road to the end), ☏ . This 8,000-acre park has miles of hiking trails, ocean fishing, a beautiful cove, and 50 primitive camping sites (i.e. vault toilets and water from tanks). It's about 6 mi (9 km) southwest of Morro Bay.
|Routes through Morro Bay|
|Monterey ← Cambria ←||N S||→ San Luis Obispo → Santa Barbara|
|END ←||SW NE||→ Atascadero → Fresno|