Spooner's Cove, Montana de Oro State Park

San Luis Obispo, CA
Spooner's Cove, Montana de Oro State Park

Spooner's Cove is a rugged, beautiful beach in Montana de Oro State Park. It is free to drive around Montana de Oro State Park and explore the beaches and hikes. A canopy of marvelous eucalyptus trees arches overhead as you drive along and you truly feel that you are on the open road (these are slightly dead now because of the drought). It's just a short drive from Los Osos to get to Spooner's Cove and you are rewarded with wonderful, wild nature. There are slanted rock formations you can climb to watch the waves crash below. Sometimes, the beach is covered in a diverse collection of smooth pebbles, shiny silver abalone shells, turbin snail shells (these get stinky so don't collect them!) and old sea glass. Hopeful people search through the colorful bits trying to find treasure. One man told us he sold a few pieces of old sea glass to a jeweler for $300. Fisherman's tale or truth? We'll never know. But it's fun to watch the people diligently scour the beach.
The sound of the ocean as it rushes up over the rocks and pulls back is lovely. You can hear the pebbles move in the waves- the best sound! The cove with a sea cave fills you with delight as the waves crash in.
If you walk or drive just past Spooner's Cove until you're above the beach, you can take the Bluff Trail to Corallina Cove and check out the tidepools, plus awesome views of Spooner's Cove along the way. My favorite beach here though is Spooner's Cove- there's something magical about it and the way the water washes in. The trail goes for two miles one way, so you can have a long walk, with new views at each overlook. 
The ranch house across from the beach was used by the Pecho family who had a dairy farm in 1892. The cove is named after Spooner, one of the original owners of these lands. Another man, Hazard, planted the hundreds of eucalpytus trees hoping to sell them for lumber, though they didn't prove suitable for commercial sale. The state of California has owned these lands since 1965 and luckily still does, despite Governor Schwarzneggar's proposal to close this reserve as part of a deficit reduction proposal in 2008. Public outcry won out and now we all get to enjoy this delightful place.
Spooner's Cove has three surf breaks, one known for its huge, dangerous waves and called South Point. There is also a large golden sand dune in Montana de Oro State Park.
After running around in nature, you'll be thirsty or hungry. For a coffee in a serene setting, head over to Baywood Park Pier. There is also a nice Starbucks with a sunny front patio in Los Osos town. You could also have dinner in Morro Bay and walk around the docks listening to the seals. For a fun place to eat dinner and hang out at a bookstore, head over to the Downtown Center in San Luis Obispo.

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The inspiring drive through forest to Spooner's Cove.

Wide open space at Spooner's Cove.

Pecho family ranch house.

Easing their way down the rock.

Colored rocks on the beach.

Standing on a rock with waves crashing on both sides.

Bicyclists take a break at Spooner's Cove.

Trees arch over you as you drive back.

View over the coast, on the way to Spooner's Cove.

View of Morro Rock and the estuary, on the way to Spooner's Cove.

Sea glass!

Lovely scene at Spooner's Cove.

Turban snails. Don't collect them because they smell!

Cliffs and caves.

A romantic spot.

Playing in the clear stream that runs into the ocean.

Crystal clear stream.

Kayaker and the impressive cliffs.

Abalone shells are fun to find!

The gorgeous rock formations.

Shimmering sand at sunset, at Spooner's Cove.

Water rushing everywhere!

Wave rolling into the cove.

Stream and arch in rock.


Golden shoreline.

Cliffs and shimmering sea.

Golden glitter sand.

I love this spot where the water rushes around a corner.

Tent at sunset.

Spooner's Cove, from the Bluffs Trail.

From Highway 101, exit at Los Osos Valley Rd. Head west on Los Osos Valley Rd for about 11 miles until it veers left becoming Pecho Valley Rd. Drive along through the forest for about 4 miles until you come to Spooner's Cove. There's a parking lot right by the beach.

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Last Updated: Wed, 10 Jan 2024 00:38:31 GMT

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