Morro Bay is a strange place. Here, a delightful 576ft perfectly-shaped rock stands surrounded by a peaceful estuary rich with herons, egrets, pelicans, and sea otters. A bay with sailboats anchored on glassy blue-green water rounds out the scene. It would be a postcard-like sight, except for massive imposing smokestacks that stand beside the rock, the remnants of a power plant that closed down in 2014.
A pleasant touristy area stretches out along the water on Embarcadero at the 700 block, offering restaurants and trinket stores. From the restaurants, you can look out the windows at seals swimming merrily by. It's a wonderful treat, and kids love to watch while they eat. You can also walk along the docks that border the stores and look out on the sailboats, kayaks, the dunes across the water, the birds and seals, and amazing Morro Rock. At night, if you make sounds on the dock, seals will often echo back to you, "ar ar ar!"
The Garden Gallery, at 680 Embarcadero, is a nice store to check out, with interesting pots, sculptures, and windchimes by Woodstock for your garden.
On the 700 block of Embarcadero, you will find a giant sized chess board! It's great fun and free to have a game! There are also some tables with regular-sized boards where you can play. This is one of only two giant outdoor chess boards in the U.S.A! The other one is in New York City. Sun-N-Buns Bakery sits beside the chess board and is a memorable place to visit at night (they are open until 11pm). Here you can share a milkshake and cozy up next to the indoor firepit. It really warms you up!
Above the chess board is the Centennial Stairway, a gorgeous staircase made of redwood. This takes you to some more restaurants and also affords a fantastic view of the city, bay, and sand spit. Make sure you walk up it! DiStasio's On The Bay is a nice Italian restaurant at the top of the stairs, with fantastic views, decent food, and affordable prices.
If you want to get out of the touristy area and eat where the locals eat, check out Morro Bay Blvd, where cute coffee shops (Top Dog Coffee Bar, Rudie's Rock Espresso which has seating in the back) and stores line the sloped street. The best choice is Shine Cafe, where you can feel the hippie love while you eat the most delicious food! Try the black bean tostada salad! You can tell it's a great place to eat by all the people sitting outside- come early! Next door to Shine Cafe is a health food market where you can stock up on supplies. Across the street is Buttercup Bakery and Cafe, a counter-service bakery with a large outdoor seating area that is sunny on mornings with good weather. It is lovely to sit out there enjoying a sandwich made with Dutch Crunch bread, the bread from San Luis Obispo that is so yummy! They have summer concerts in August and Sept, Thurs 5-8pm. Thai Elephant, one block down, is my favorite restaurant in Morro Bay. Have a pineapple red curry, which is served in half a pineapple! If you stay at one of the hotels in the main part of town such as on Main Street you can walk to this area easily, and to the Embarcadero. This makes for a great vacation because you don't have to get into your car to do everything.
La Parisienne (closed in September), a delightful French bakery with huge windows looking out on Morro Rock, is across the road from the Harborwalk. It's wonderful to sip some warm tea and stare out the window, soaking up the view without feeling cold! Here you can get a pain au chocolate, or French Country sandwich (ham, potatoes, swiss, egg on a baguette). Or bring some fresh-baked bread home. Delicious! Sea otters often play in the water across the street from La Parisienne, in the morning. It's amazing to watch them!
Tidelands Park, at the very south end of Embarcadero, is a wonderful playground with a big cement ship that little captains can steer! The views of the bay and Morro Rock are gorgeous, with peaceful rowboats bobbing in the water at the docks and lovely little twisted trees catching the golden sunlight in the afternoon. Kids love to climb on the giant octopus sculpture, whale tale, seal, octopus, and dolphin sculptures.
There are some charming wooden stairs across from Tidelands Park where you can enjoy great views of Morro Rock, framed by Eucalyptus trees. The stairs lead to Morro Ave, where you can walk along checking out the cute houses and get back to your hotel if it's on one of the main streets.
Morro Bay is a freezing place. For some reason it is always ten or twenty degrees colder than everywhere around it, so dress warm.
You can walk or bike from Embarcadero all the way to the base of Morro Rock and to wild, beautiful Morro Strand State Beach on the Harborwalk, which offers a separate pedestrian path and bike path. Here you have a good chance of seeing sea otters on your left as you walk along! You may also see sand dollars at the beach at the very end of the parking lot on the left.
You can also find hundreds of sand dollars at windy Cloisters Beach.
A wonderful walk to do is the walk from Bayshore Bluffs Park to Museum of Natural History, past stunning views. It is one mile total, there and back, and a bit hilly.
A few days before Halloween, Morro Bay is full of people dressed as witches and warlocks, many on canoes and paddle boards! On foggy Halloween days, it is mystical to see them all rowing around in the bay!
A wonderful place to go if you drive north ten minutes up the coast from Morro Bay is Cayucos, a funky little beach town with great places to eat.
Sea otters cruising in the water, outside La Parisienne, along the Harborwalk path, with Morro Rock behind.Learn More
The staircase that leads down to the Embarcadero, and the estuary in pink light of sunset.Learn More
From Highway 1, head west on Morro Bay Blvd. Turn right on Main Street, and left on Beach Street. Turn left on Embarcadero. It veers to the right. Then park along the road as soon as you see an open parking space.
Shine Cafe, 415 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay CA 93442, call (805) 771-8344.
La Parisienne, 1140 Front St, Morro Bay CA 93442, call (805) 772-8530.
Sun-N-Buns Bakery, 830 Embarcadero, Morro Bay, CA 93442, call (805) 772-4117. Open until 11pm.
DiStasio's On The Bay, 781 Market Ave, Morro Bay, CA 93442, call (805) 771-8760.
Thai Elephant, 355 Morro Bay Blvd, Morro Bay, CA 93442, call (805) 772-5988.
my wife and i have been there lots of times,we want to go back
but cant afford to right now cant trust our car either,so we just keep on waiting and waiting.i work at the irs right now my wife doesnt work
because she has carpal tunnel in her hands and arthritis in her
back.so she cant work were trying to get her on ssi but the attorney is taking forever.but one day we will go back
Liked this place so much I'm coming back for another 2 weeks this year. Great birdwatching out near the rock. Drive up to Big Sur as a daytrip. Lots of unspoiled areas to explore.
planning to spend another memorial day weekend here- can't wait
My wife and I had a great time in Morro Bay.
It's a privilege to be a local.
good views. wildflowers. Good ocean smell. I would visit again.
Love this place- the atmosphere when you hear the seals barking and the fog horn blowing.
Last Updated: Sun, 05 Nov 2023 16:24:09 GMT