The best part about visiting Morro Bay, CA may be the drive. It’s just over three hours from Los Angeles, depending on where you start, and consists of scenic views and small towns along US-101 with optional reroutes available on CA-126 and the Pacific Coast Highway. The directions are easy: go north, past the ocean, over the hills, and through the woods until you meet up with the ocean again. You can’t miss it. Look for a big rock.
Which leads us to the reason most people even consider the drive (which, if you’ve been paying attention, will surprise travelers with its awesomeness), and that reason rocks. Because it is a rock. Get it?
These are the jokes, folks.
The impressive Morro Rock sits in Morro Bay and marks the entrance to the man-made harbor. The rock itself is a 576-foot-high volcanic plug, one in a series of similar formations that stretch inland called the Nine Sisters. Apparently there was a lot of volcanic action back in the day.
While it is possible to access the base of the rock it is against the law (and dangerous) to climb. Morro Rock is a reserve for the peregrine falcon, which is endangered. Peregine falcons are allowed to climb the rock, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous. Most of them play it safe and fly to the top. You can’t be too careful when you are endangered.
The town of Morro Bay is a sleepy little beach community built on fishing that possesses a soft spot for tourists. The town itself has a population of around 10,000, but it feels twice that on a Sunday afternoon. The good news is that food options are plentiful and free parking is readily available throughout the quaint downtown area.
Morro Bay is an estuary and features a natural sandsplit and a number of chanels, creeks and tributaries. There are beautiful state beaches to the north and south of the town and harbor. In addition to being designated a state and national bird sanctuary, Morro Bay is also a California Marine Reserve as declared by the California Fish and Game Commission. This probably means something to the fishing industry, but I don’t know what.
Morro Bay is also home to the world’s most ill-placed power plant. It is located along the harbor and boasts three large stacks (450 feet high) that are in direct competition with Morro Rock for skyline bragging rights.
Morro Bay, Morro Rock and the surrounding beaches offer a number of great ways to spend a day (or weekend) within a reasonable distance from Los Angeles. The drive is beautiful, the beaches are picturesque, the town is charming and the rock is imposing. The power plant does power plant stuff, don’t look at it.
City of Morro Bay
Whit Honea likes bays with docks by them. He enjoys a good sit and a whistle. Read about his time rolling away at Honea Express.