First up, Morro Bay
Long weekends are the best. In our case it gave us enough time to travel up the coast, relax, explore, and get back in time for the Sunday night early news.
We figured that leaving later in the afternoon on a Thursday was a great time to travel up the Central California coast to possibly avoid some traffic. However, Los Angeles didn’t cooperate, it was slow going even as we passed through Thousand Oaks, descended into Camarillo, and even through Ventura.
Once we passed through Ventura however, the traffic subsided as if to say welcome to Central California!! You are then greeted to that wonderful California shoreline with the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean beaconing us up the coast.
The gridlock that we experienced earlier was now washing away and was replaced with relaxation even though we still had a few hours more to drive.
Soon the 101 freeway took an eastern turn as we headed inland towards San Luis Obispo. Once in San Luis Obispo, it was only a short drive to Morro Bay on Highway 1, our home for the weekend.
I love it here but it wasn’t going to be our main attention this weekend. I had heard of some nearby beaches and coves that were good for sea glass hunting, therefore this was going to be the plan of action.
Over the weekend we would eventually investigate Los Osos , Cambria, Moonstone Beach, and Spooner Cove. We also walked Cayucos , Avila, Ventura Beaches, the small town of Harmony, and actually ended up exploring more of Morro Bay. We saw groups of sea otters, tons of sand dollars, a little bit of sea glass, all in three and quarter days.
Just a few miles out of town is a beach with tons of sand dollars(BTW, we only took the ones that were already dead)
Even though this isn’t the sequence of how our weekend went, let’s talk Morro Bay first. I always like to drive around to see every inch of a place so our first stop was the Embarcadero. This is where the heart of the city is with its restaurants, shops, cafes, boat rentals, antiques stores, plus places to sit just to enjoy the bay. We perused a few shops then sat back on a bench to admire this charming harbor town.
A lone boat with the sand spit in the background
This is where the crowds go, yet it never feels crowded. This place, in my opinion is the perfect vacation as you have many choices on what to do, or if you choose, just simply relax and do nothing.
We decided to drive to the other end of the bay heading south where hidden away from the busier part of town, sits a quaint marina. A few boats were moored in a channel while next to a parking lot there was a small café that gave patrons a view of the bay either from inside, or its outdoor patio. It was a peaceful little area and for that reason, I made a mental note to come back again for lunch.
Returning to the car, we headed back the way of the Embarcadero to investigate the huge Morro rock that stands 576 feet high and is a definitive landmark.
This is the first time I actually got out of the car to walk around the rock. The brisk wind was whipping around like a mini hurricane making the day colder than it actually was. Note to self, bring sweatshirt with you next time. However, I didn’t care, as I was in exploration mode and I was going to see the front side of this behemoth for the first time. Or was it the backside? Whichever, It was the side facing the ocean not the town.
On the bay side of the rock there is a small beach. Tiny one foot waves feathered toward the shore so I thought this would be a perfect family beach where you don’t have to worry about breakers wiping out your kids.
The beach was mostly empty save for a few people that were huddled up in warm clothes while the ever present wind made ripples in the sand. I always wonder if they look at me with my shorts, short sleeves, and think, “What is wrong with her?” Truth be told, I was cold but the beach was beautiful, clean, and well worth a few moments of discomfort.
It was a picturesque sight, so if you every have the chance, head to the parking lot, then go to the left side where there is a paved trail.
Walking back to the car, we saw that a crowd was now gathered by the rocky jetty that surrounds the bay. All eyes were on a group of sea otters that were bunched up in the water only about thirty feet from where we were. Roughly twenty of the cute little mammals were all sleeping on their backs with sea weed wrapped around them as if to keep them warm. A mother otter had a baby on her stomach as she acted like a comfy bed for it to sleep, while another was enjoying a dinner snack of what looked like a red crab of some sort.
We don’t get to see otters in Southern California so it is always nice to get a personal view of these little creatures in their natural habitat.
On the right side of the big rock, board and kite surfers were sharing the ocean on a water surface that was swirling around like a washing machine. Despite the fact that the wind seemed even stronger on this side, they still managed to find waves to ride which kept us watching for at least an hour.
Just out side of town, the wonderful Central California Coast
Although we had other places in mind to discover, Morro Bay is a great destination. There are plenty of things to do like whale watching, boat tours, kayak and SUP rentals, great restaurants, quaint cafes, souvenir shops, antiques, fishing, surfing, plus hiking.
It is all there under one of the most picturesque towns you will ever see.
Bring Binoculars or a camera for the sea otters and even though it is warm there, take my word for it, the wind can kick up, so bring a sweatshirt!
Next we are on to Los Osos.