Morro Bay is one of the most visited destinations in California, specifically along the Central Coast of California, and a welcome precursor to the Big Sur area of California along Highway 101 (heading north towards Highway 1). The town is set on a slope, edging down towards sea level and the magnificent beaches and seaside piers that dot the shoreline. The town has a rich maritime heritage and is still a popular fishing port. Whale watching, kayaking and boating are all fun activities for tourists, while the town’s beaches are some of the best on the West Coast.
Morro Rock is the one thing that makes the town so unique. The rock itself is a large volcanic plug, that is, a freestanding remnant of volcanic magma that has hardened and been eroded and weathered by the elements to its current shape. The rock sits in the middle of the Pacific, only being connected by an artificially made spit of rocks and sand. On the rock, you can find nesting Peregrine Falcons, along with many other bird species. While climbing is forbidden, you can visit the base of the rock.
So what’s there to do in Morro Bay? Sit back, relax (if you have a hotel room there), take a stroll down to State Beach, and check out Morro Rock up close and personal. The waterfront area has a number of shops, piers, bakeries, candy shops and restaurants that you can spend hours exploring, but the true beauty lies in the harbor.
Morro Bay is enclosed by a jetty and the gigantic Morro Rock. The rock itself provides refuge to the rare Perregrine Falcon, while the open waters of the harbor are frequented by sea otters. These otters play in the water all day long, and can be heard all around the harbor. Also swimming around are seals, as well as migrating whales during certain points of the year further out to sea.
The channel heading out of Morro Bay harbor is regarded as very dangerous, with tremendous whitecap waves and swells occurring on a regular basis.
If you’re just stopping by, this is the perfect place to stop for lunch on your trip along Route 1 or through Big Sur. Just north of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara, it can be easily reached via Route I-101 to Route 1. It is the first major stop heading north on Highway 1 after breaking off from I-101 in San Luis Obispo.
All photos licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.