If you’re planning on taking a road trip along California’s Pacific Coast Highway, you should definitely make space in your itinerary for visiting Morro Bay. This little beach town is a gem in California and totally different from other cities in the west coast.
In this post you will find:
Where is Morro Bay?
Morro Bay is located in San Luis Obispo County along the scenic Highway One.
It is right in between San Francisco and LA which makes it the perfect place to stop to spend the night. You can get to Morro Bay from any of these cities in around 4 hours.
If you need help for your itinerary read: Ultimate West Coast road trip itinerary
This picturesque city is perfect for some chill time on your trip. Its name is given by the Morro Rock, a big volcanic cap which stands at the entrance to the harbor. Morro Bay is also sometimes called the “Gibraltar of the Pacific” because of this giant rock.
Where to stay in Morro Bay
If you’re visiting Morro Bay in summer, I strongly recommend you book your accommodation as early as possible. It is a small city so the few hotels available tend to be fully booked during summer season. When I visited Morro Bay I ended up sleeping in the car because I couldn’t find any hotel available! (I visited Morro in July 2014). Here some hotel suggestions:
- Sea Air Inn & Suites: an affordable hotel located just meters away from the Embarcadero. Check out prices for Sea Air Inn & Suites here.
- Marina Street Inn: a charming B&B that will feel like home. The hosts are super friendly and welcoming and serve full breakfast. Check out prices for Marina Street Inn here.
- Gray’s Inn & Gallery: a fully equipped apartment overlooking the sea. This inn is located on the beachfront of Morro Bay. Check out prices for Gray’s Inn & Gallery here.
Things to do in Morro Bay
- “Three stacks and a rock”
There are two landmarks that identify Morro Bay: the three smokestacks from an old power plant and Morro Rock, of course. You can see these from every spot in Morro Bay.
- Enjoy the beach
As I’ve said, Morro Bay is the perfect place to enjoy some relaxing time on the beach. The popular beaches are: Coleman park & beach, Morro Rock beach, Morro Bay state park beach, Morro strand state beach, North beach & tide pools, Sandspit beach and Toro Creek Dog beach.
You can’t miss the sunset at Morro Rock beach! It’s beautiful to see how the colors of the sky turn orange behind Morro Rock.
- Walk along the Embarcadero
On Morro Bay’s waterfront you will find local shops, restaurants, art galleries and bars that line the marina filled with boats. It’s a beautiful place to take a stroll and enjoy the views of the harbor.
- Wildlife viewing
Morro Bay is the perfect place to spot marine animals like otters, sea lions, seals, dolphins, birds and if you’re lucky, whales. There are many local companies that offer whale watching tours.
- Water sports
Morro Bay is surfers paradise. On the beach next to Morro Rock you will see surfers all day long.
Other water sports you can try are kayak and stand up paddleboard. You can check all the renting companies at Morro Bay’s official website.
- Take a hike
There are some places to go hiking in Morro Bay. Some of the most popular trails are: Black Hill, Cerro Cabrillo Peak, Montana de oro state park, Cloisters park trail and Morro Bay state park.
Day trips from Morro Bay
There are some cool places to explore near Morro Bay:
- Hearst Castle: the beautiful Hearst Castle is perfect for a day trip from Morro Bay because it’s just 30 minutes away by car. This castle is a National Historic Landmark and was built between 1919 and 1947 for the newspaper businessman William Randolph Hearst.
- Paso Robles: Paso Robles is a city located about 30 miles from Morro Bay, mostly known for its wineries. You can spend a day eating and drinking wine.
- Prismo Beach: a small city located south from Morro Bay where you can enjoy the beaches and sandboarding on its giant sand dunes. It looks like a really cool activity and reminds me a lot of the sand dunes in Ica, Peru.
Tips for visiting Morro Bay
- Bring a jacket. Even if it’s summer, it can get windy and cold especially at night.
- If you like seafood, this is your place! Every plate including seafood is super fresh and delicious in Morro Bay local restaurants.
- Book your accommodation in advance. As it’s a small town, there aren’t many big hotels and they become fully booked quickly.
Morro Bay is a gem in California and a must stop in a West Coast road trip. Just look at the photos to help you decide if you’ll include it in your itinerary 🙂
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- The ultimate guide for visiting Yosemite National Park
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