Los Osos and Spooners Cove
We traveled to Los Oso only because we heard of Spooners Cove which we were told was a great beachcombing place with plenty of rocks and sea glass!
However, while in the area, we also decided to drive around and see what this mostly residential town was all about.
Before we visited the actual town, our first stop was Spooners Cove which is a part of the Montana de Oro State Park.
From Morro Bay it is only about 12 miles, and the drive is especially scenic. From various vista points you can see estuaries, Eucalyptus groves, golf courses, and the lengthy sand spit which is a natural protection for the bay.
When we arrived at the cove, there was a sizable parking lot with plenty of spaces open. It was 10:00 am and there were only about 15 people at this long stretch of sand and rocks.
The texture to this beach was so different than what I have ever seen; it was filled with every size stone imaginable. Where the waves hit the shore there were tiny pebbles no larger than a jellybean, while further up on the beach sat these amazing flat rocks. It was nothing like I had seen in Southern California.
The larger and flatter stones had beautiful patterns, and some had artistic lines traveling from side to side, while others were just plain. They ranged in size with the largest being the size of a normal sized pickle, but flat.
The cove is surrounded by a sea cave and a long bluff jetting out on the south side. Another example why I love Central California as this was yet another picturesque beach.
When we arrived, we heard live music coming from one of the caves. It was a drum plus a guitar performing in what were natural and perfect acoustics. I can see why they chose this place to play or practice.
Back to Sea Glass
A good portion of the sea glass we found were under the size of a dime as most of the rocks were around that size. Further up on the beach, the flatter rocks didn’t yield any glass except for one quarter sized green piece.
When I first heard of this cove, I thought maybe it would be this magical place where every inch of the beach would be filled with one sea glass piece after another. I pictured a Shangri-la for hunters like me, sadly it was not like that.
You really had to use all of your skills to find it, especially with tiny brown and green bits of kelp strewn around. Just when I thought I saw a piece of sea glass, I ended up picking up a chunk of slimy ocean seaweed. In fact, I almost bypassed that large green piece as I wasn’t about to be fooled again. I took my chance and bent over to pick it up and was glad I did!
Don’t get me wrong, I loved sea glass hunting here. We didn’t come home with a bunch, or even large pieces, but what we found were of good quality. I had in my pocket about 20 pieces of hard-earned sea glass. It was hardly enough to get excited about, however, you can’t beat spending a few hours in a setting as beautiful as this cove.
As we were leaving, I noticed how many more cars were in the parking lot. I looked across the beach and there were way more people than when we started. Regardless if there are crowds or not, it is still a great place to visit.
After Spooner, we drove south along a one lane road that reminded me of what the coast highway must have looked like way back when. It wandered parallel along the coast with bluffs and rock formations jutting out in the sea. There were walking and hiking trails everywhere, and even a place for horses! It was a beautiful drive that, broke our heart when it came to an end.
With the car turned around and now facing north, we decided to head back and see what the town of Los Osos was all about.
The Town of Los Oso
Los Osos is located on the south end of Morro Bay. With a population of about 16,000, it isn’t the touristy place like Morro. We followed a sign that said restaurants and soon were sent down a residential road towards the water. We got lost a little which gave us a chance to check out some of the homes along the way. Quite a few were situated perfectly with massive views looking out on a smaller bay with a tiny inlet and channel.
Kayaks, SUPS’, and canoes were laid out on the sand in anticipation of their owners grabbing them for a spin on this tranquil bay. Nothing was locked, so my hope is that I am assuming correctly, that there is no theft in this area.
When we found the so-called business district, there were a few charming cafes, gift shops, and the quaint Blue Heron Inn. All were set against the backdrop of a smaller inlet and the sandy dunes in the distance.
It was getting gray now as the marine layer was fluttering its way inland. This is the way it is in this area; the coastal eddy is a common occurrence. Too bad, it took away from what would have been some great photos, I snapped anyway.
As we made our way out of town, we saw a sign for the Elfin Forest so we thought we would check it out with plenty of time on our hands.
The Elfin Forest is a 90-acre area belonging to San Luis Obispo County Parks with trails upon trails that you can walk along at no charge. The Elfin Forest supports more than 200 types of plants and is home to many species of birds. Some parts along the way, offer you amazing views of what they call the Back Bay, complete with estuaries and offshoot waterways.
The loop provides access for young, old and people with walkers or wheelchairs. Just to get a taste of it, we strolled for a little bit until we reached the viewpoints. It was a spectacular view and made me get a way better feel for this area, with all of wildlife and nature.
In the car now, we drove back to our hotel only to pass by large groves of beautiful eucalyptus and a sizable golf course with its vibrant greens and sand bunkers.
I had never heard of Los Osos, and now I know that it is an un-crowded relaxing town with access to the bay, hiking, beaches, plus from what I read, a lively music and art scene.
Los Osos isn’t on most people’s lips as a place to go vacation but with it is close proximity to Morro Bay and its sleepy quaint ambience, you might want to give it a try.
I know I am glad I spent time to explore.
Story and photos: Debbie Colwell