Explore the natural world on the Central Coast
The town by the rock offers much for the traveler, comfy hotels and motels, great restaurants, and beautiful scenery. While strolling along the Embarcadero seems to be the most popular exercise, there is so much more adventure awaiting you.
Kayaking on Morro Bay is a long-standing adventure that has been popular for many years. Growing from just a few kayak operators about 30 years ago, kayaking has become a leading water sport. There are several operators located along the waterfront offering several styles of sea-worthy kayaks for everyone from the novice to the expert.
Other on-the-water adventures include stand-up paddleboards and electric boats. Paddleboard rentals are located on the waterfront, many operators include lessons for first-timers and they all offer special packages, including one offering paddleboard yoga. Electric boats are an excellent way to enjoy the water in a safe and comfortable vessel. Rent by the hour or day and take a picnic.
Take a sightseeing or brunch tour aboard the luxurious Chablis, a 50-foot, two-story riverboat boarding at the north end of the Embarcadero.
Out on the bay you are going to see the California sea lions that like to lounge on the floating dock. Be sure to keep some distance so as not to disturb them. You will also come across some of the Southern sea otters that spend time eating and resting here. Many of the otters are moms with pups. Again, keep a safe distance of at least 100 yards.
During winter Morro Bay is visited by approximately 200 species of birds, many of them water birds like long billed curlews, the largest of the sandpipers with the long curving beak and least sandpipers, the tiniest of the sandpipers that forage along the shoreline. There are pelicans, herons, shorebirds, terns, grebes, loons and gulls. And Morro Bay is home to peregrine falcons and visiting osprey. The popular Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival is held in January during the Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend.
Fishing is another adventure to try. There are deep sea fishing excursions available where you can rent gear and try your luck at catching lingcod or rockfish. Some people enjoy a sedate day sitting on a chair on the T-pier with a pole in the water.
Biking is a fun way to see the area and Estero Bay Inn offers bicycle rentals for people staying there. You might hop on a bike and pedal out from the waterfront through town into the State Park at the end of Main Street. Pedal up to the Morro Bay Golf Course and park your bike and hike up the trail to see the Monarch butterflies that spend winter months clustering on the trees. Monarchs also spend time in the trees at the campground in the State Park and anyone can walk through there to see them.
While you are at the State Park you can walk the boardwalk out around the edge of the estuary. Winter is the best time for this as many birds spend time feeding on the edge of the pickleweed and often at high tides clustered on any available piece of vegetation. Bring your binoculars to get a really good view and if you are into photography this is a good place for it.
With the highest and lowest tides of the year occurring in December and January you can pick a low tide date to go tide pooling and a good place for that is at Morro Strand Beach, north of Yerba Buena Street. You can bicycle there and then pick your way carefully across the rocks to peer down to see tiny crabs and anemones and other tidepool life.
A final adventure in Morro Bay could be a hike up Black Hill. This is accessed above the golf course and is a strenuous hike. There is a road up to a parking area and from there one can make the final hike to the top. Once there you will get a 360-degree view of Morro Bay. Come down and stop in at the Bayside Cafe for some great food relaxing at the outdoor tables or inside all with views of the bay.
Whatever you choose, try an adventure day or two in Morro Bay!
– By Ruth Ann Angus