There is just something about that ROCK! I can't explain it - but it grabs you and just never let's GO! We have been visiting Morro Bay since we were kids and every time we visit we feel right at home and enjoy a memorable experience. My daughter Tammy and her family even decided to make the area their home. JJ fell in love with Morro Bay as a little boy and was equally fascinated by the three towers of the power company and the huge rock sticking out of the entrance to the harbor.
Morro Bay is located about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles near Hearst Castle and the entrance to Big Sur right on the Pacific Ocean. It is a working fishing village and an amazing, welcoming tourist destination filled with little inns, fabulous restaurants and quaint little shops.
Morro Rock was named El Morro by explorer Juan Cabrillo in the 16th century and it means 'little pebble' in Spanish. The rock is 576 feet tall, 20 million years old and houses many species of breeding birds. Morro Rock is the best known of the Nine Sisters of San Luis Obispo County, a series of volcanic plugs forming a line between Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo. You can drive to the bottom of the rock and enjoy the surf crashing around the north side of its base. Or…you can park across the lane from the rock to the harbor side and enjoy the ground squirrels and almost always view some sea otters taking a nap tied to some seaweed or eating something delicious from the bottom of the bay using their favorite rock as a hammer. Do not climb up on the rock or go out on the rocks at the end of the south side of its base. There are signs everywhere advising you of the danger and it is no exaggeration. People who do not read or believe the warnings die here every year. There is a new bike path (Anchor Park) out to THE ROCK from the end of the fishing wharf and it is sort of divided by walking and things with wheels so it is a perfect way to get out to the rock on a warm, sunny day!
Take some time to walk along the Embarcadero and have a hot cinnamon roll or an ice cream or better yet coconut battered shrimp at Rosie's! I will always remember the first time JJ saw the giant chess set in the square and tried to move one of the pieces. Unbelievable! He will never forget the time we took him to the Aquarium and a seal jumped off the shelf it was sitting on to try to grab the fish he was holding and started barking in a shrill sort of scream. I seriously thought I was going to have to do CPR! (Or was going to need it, myself) We always stop by the Shell Shop 'just to look' and buy the boys something fabulous - you can't help it. Further on down the wharf towards the rock is the famous salt water taffy shop. OK - the watermelon taffy is simply amazing. You cannot stop eating it until you loose a tooth!
Drive to the end of the Embarcadero away from the rock and visit our favorite park anywhere - Tidelands. The kids just love this small park along the harbor! They can climb up on that pirate ship and forget about time! Meanwhile, you can gaze at the sailboats or watch the playful seals as you soak up some sun! JJ and James have both had birthday parties here so this park holds some wonderful memories for us!
Some local activities you should know about are the Harbor Festival (held in early October), the Christmas Boat Parade (December)and the Winter Bird Festival (guided tours are offered out into the estuary - January) but there is always something going on from Art in the Park to local Farmer's Markets and everyone is WELCOME!
The best thing about Morro Bay, however, is what is not there - too many people, too much traffic and too much fast paced living. This environment lends itself to beautiful bird sanctuaries (over 200 species of birds!), parks and beaches filled with wildlife for your enjoyment. It is a perfect place to get out on a boat and do some fishing or whale watching. There are great places to camp, hike, and bike and get in or out on the ocean. The weather is mild, pretty much year round, so it's perfect. And, of course, Morro Bay is filled with really nice people who are glad you stopped by!
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