Morro Bay: The Hidden Gem of the Californian Coast

Nestled somewhere between Santa Barbara and Monterey sits the sleepy seafront city of Morro Bay. Although not an obvious place for many tourists, Morro Bay is picturesque, relaxing and perfect for a stopover if you are travelling around California.

Filled mainly with locals, Morro Bay is a photographer’s dream. Its fantastic and vibrant sunsets across the bay are punctuated by Morro Rock: a large volcanic plug that lies in the middle of the water, creating the town’s distinctive landscape. You can also walk along the seafront out to this rock, which gives you a new perspective of the bay.

Perhaps one of the main attractions here, you can also go on whale-watching and kayaking tours around the bay, which give incredible up-close views of whales, dolphins and seals that are truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Companies such as Sub Sea Tours offer these trips from $35-$45 per person, and each tour lasts from 2.5-3.5 hours. Even in the summer, remember to dress warmly, as the open-air nature of the boat (which gives its magnificent views) doesn’t protect from the cold ocean air. When I visited in mid-August, jumpers were definitely necessary!

Morro Bay is also well-known for its salt water taffy, which comes in a huge variety of unusual flavours, ranging from Hot Chocolate to Tropical Peach: these little colourful and traditional taffy shops are found dotted around the town, such as Crill’s Salt Water Taffy, and are usually not expensive.

Also famous within the town is the fresh seafood that is served in the restaurants and cafes. Halibut, oysters and king prawns are just a few of the delicious fish that are caught locally, and can be eaten at restaurants such as Dutchman’s Seafood House, and the slightly more pricey Windows on the Water, which all give incredible panoramic views of the ocean.

Because of its central Californian location, staying in Morro Bay makes it easy to visit many other sights and places nearby. Just 30 miles north of the town is Hearst Castle, the renowned estate of William Randolph Hearst which has been opened to the public. A California Historical Landmark, the castle has beautiful interiors and even more stunning grounds, with amazing views across California. Prices for an adult ticket into the estate start at $25, and vary depending on the season and the time of your visit.



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