"Uniquely Set Fishing Village" Top 5 Page for this destination Morro Bay by atufft

Morro Bay Travel Guide: 98 reviews and 258 photos

Morro means "Butte" in Spanish

The Morro rock was named by Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo when he first charted this coast during his 16th Century voyage of discovery. My Venezuelan born wife notes that the word "morro" isn't a common word in Spanish and can alternately refer to an animal's mussle or a rock-like mountain that juts upward, such as in English would be called a "butte".

The Morro Rock is one of several such prominent igneous rocks of in the south central coast of California, believed to be the remains of volcanic activity, but the Morro is distinctive for being within the coastal water linked by a causeway of earthfill. Earlier in the century, the rock was chipped away to construct the breakwater for the harbor on one side, and for additional fill on the causeway side, where a electrical power plant of considerable size was also constructed, such that eventually it was realized further demolition would erode the landmark for which the area was distinctively named. The rock is now safeguarded as a natural habitat for some 250 species of birds and other wildlife. It's a lovely rock that provides a wonderful eclipse and silhouette of the setting sun from the fishing fleet side of town, as shown in this photo, taken at the time we had arrived.

Fishing Village with Old Style Restaurants

In the morning light, sun reflects back to town off the rock, and it was then that I found that the Morro Bay fishing fleet is certainly one of the largest on the coast of California. This isn't saying too much, as the factory fishing business is dominated by fish consuming fleets from Asia, but the Morro Bay fishing fleet appears to be at least as large as the Monterey Bay fleet, and certainly larger and more authentic in purpose than either San Francisco or San Diego. Most of the ships are privately owned and operated, and occasionally it appears, fish can be bought directly from the boat. Most of the fish mongering though is done by wharfside markets and restaurants. For better or worse, the restaurants in Morro Bay continue a Yankee tradition of mostly fried "fish and chips" and where grilled is available, the flavors are ordinary and typically combined with a bland side dish of boiled vegetables and baked potato. For the better culinary experience though, the 12 mile drive to upscale university town, San Luis Obispo, or SLO, is convenient, allowing Morro Bay beach and vista lovers to have easy access to both beautiful views and urbane sophistication.

Wildife and Water Recreation

Morro Bay provides a great place to relax, walk the dog on the beach, kayak, and appreciate the wildlife that clings to the rock. The Morro Bay and its estuary, which comprises the Morro Bay State Park, are among the least ecologically damaged bays along the California coastline. Unlike the San Francisco Bay, Monterey, and San Diego Bays, Morro Bay retains much of California's indigenous flora and fauna. So in addition to a walk along the embarcadero, walking along the beach, within the state park, or near the Morro Rock, can provide a pleasant opportunity to appreciate wildlife. One of the most remarkable aspect of Morro Bay is the relaxed traffic free quality of the town. Unlike other wharf towns along the coast, Morry Bay is never hurried nor congested, so it remains a great place to get away from the urban din of either San Francisco or Los Angeles metropolitan areas.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Wonderful Vista and Traffic Free Wharf Town
  • Cons:Can Be Windy, Foggy, and Boring
  • In a nutshell:Morro Bay is a great overnight stay to get away from urban worries
  • Last visit to Morro Bay: Apr 2007
  • Intro Updated Apr 15, 2007
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Reviews (8)

Comments (6)

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2009 at 8:42 AM

    I didn't know that there were 250 different bird species in the area, but it isn't surprising. Glad to hear the power plant is reducing the stacks, they really are an eye sore--nice tips.

  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2008 at 12:25 AM

    Nice tips. I always like to find good off-leach beaches. We passed through Morro Bay last year when I missed Highway 46 on my way towards Death Valley and improvised with Highway 41. It looks like a nice place for a visit.

  • Ewingjr98's Profile Photo
    Jan 27, 2008 at 8:08 PM

    Alan - we also stayed in Morro Bay on our recent swing around the southern Big Sur. Good tips!

  • Maggies's Profile Photo
    May 11, 2007 at 4:11 AM

    Thanks again, can't wait to get there.

  • phm3c's Profile Photo
    May 5, 2007 at 2:34 PM

    It looks like the lady holding the dog had a good time. It makes a great photo.

  • Vulindlela's Profile Photo
    Apr 15, 2007 at 5:29 PM

    Nice page, Alan! It looks like the dog had a good time too.

atufft

“California is on the edge of the planet, not the center of the universe”

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