A Quick Getaway to Morro Bay

Morro Rock, photos by Dawn Bauguess

Spring is sprung, we've got super blooms coming right at us, and sometimes the coolest way to experience the glories and bounties of California is to get outta town. This time we're thinking a drive up the Central Coast to Morro Bay.

First thing you'll see is iconic Morro Rock, one of those monoliths all up and down the coast. Created around 23 million years ago from the plugs of long-extinct volcanoes and called 'The Gibraltar of the Pacific,' it was a crucial maritime landmark for sailors as it's the highest of nine peaks off the coast. A 'plug' is where the magma hardened in the neck of the volcano, and the rock is one of nine along the coast from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay.

Next, turn right towards the hills and put on your hiking shoes, because you'll hit yet another plug, Black Hill, and its trail amidst chaparral and giant boulders. This friendly hike goes through Flemings Forest, with its lovely Monterey Pines. Wind your way up the hill, think about Spring in its many glorious manifestations and, of course, check out the gorgeous view.

After your workout, brain clear and body thrumming, you've got choices, lotsa choices. Like you can head to the beach, walking along the wave line under the shadow of the rock. The rock itself has been designated a sanctuary for peregrine falcons, so maybe you'll see one of those.

The Morro Bay Marina

And there are lots of other things to do, like Morro Bay certified farmers’ market happening every Saturday from 2:30-5:00pm (summers ‘til 5:30pm). Meet the farmers, enjoy artisanal crafts and indulge in yummy food, all within walking distance of hotels, eateries and shops at Main Street and Morro Bay Boulevard.

You can also hop on a boat and see actual whales. Late December through early April, gray whales are more common, while you'll encounter humpbacks from April/May through late November/early December, and blue whales from June through October. Sea otters too, feeding and frolicking at the T-Pier and along Harbor Walk. Schedule your visit using this wildlife viewing calendar to see the young otter pups.

Seals on the pier

Or, if you're more into shopping and coffee, there's the Embarcadero. A lively jumble of boutiques, bars and cafes, it's one of those coastal Main Streets with actual boats. There's lots of murals too, so many that Morro Bay is famous for its Mural Mile.

Hungry yet? Taco Row is the perfect pitstop with Lolo's Mexican, Chapala Market, Tacos El Viejon and Taco Temple. You can wander some more and scribble thoughts on bar napkins. If you're in the mood for music, dancing and great drinks as the sun sets (spectacularly), The Siren comes alive at night, where you and what seems like the whole town show up.

Time to rest your head? Look to the the Visitor’s Guide, which has lots of hotel, inn and vacation rental listings. Or... traveling with a house on your back? Check out Morro Strand State Beach, campgrounds for tent camping or RV hookups. 

If you're planning on a trip in the next couple of weeks, the Morro Bay Kite Festival is April 26-28, 2024 at Morro Rock Beach. And while you’re at the KiteFest, check out the “I Love MB” event on the 27th. More info here

Independence Day also lights up at Morro Bay. Station yourself in nearby Los Osos to see the rock framed by fireworks.

And what about Wine Tastings, before you come home? Look up: Absolution Cellars, Oceano Wine, Chateau Margene Reservations recommended. And for even more wine, check out Tin City in Paso Robles while passing through town.



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