The city of Morro Bay is nestled on the central coast of California in San Luis Obispo County. Morro Bay’s warm Mediterranean climate, pristine sand beaches, unspoiled natural beauty, and abundance of recreational activities make it popular with visitors year-round. Along this waterfront city are numerous fascinating galleries and museums, as well as picturesque areas perfect for sightseeing. Book a stay at one of many incredible vacation rentals at Morro Bay today. Check out the loveliest places in and around Morro Bay.

1. North Morro Bay

The northern portion of the city of Morro Bay has several beautiful parks, including North Point Natural Area. A stairway leads down to a beach beneath a bluff where you can explore tide pools. To the north, Toro Creek Beach is a wide sandy beach that allows dogs to roam leash-free. To the south, the long stretch of Moro Strand State Beach offers activities such as strolling, sunbathing, fishing, and windsurfing. A short walk inland takes you to family-friendly Del Mar Park, which has a children’s play area, picnic tables, tennis courts, and a large meadow area where you can throw Frisbees and play volleyball. Slightly to the south is Cloisters Community Park, which has walking trails leading to the beach and to a wetland area.

2. Central Morro Bay

Iconic Morro Rock dominates the central landscape of the city of Morro Bay. This volcanic plug rises 576 feet high at the harbor entrance. Although in the past water surrounded it, at present a causeway connects it with the mainland. You can park at the end of the causeway and explore the trails and beaches around the rock, but it is illegal to climb the rock without a permit because it is a reserve for peregrine falcons. Animals you can observe in the tide pools include starfish, hermit crabs, and sea cucumbers. Additionally, you can spot seals, sea lions, and otters in the offshore waters. At the other end of the causeway, Coleman Park is a relaxing beach area for swimming and sunbathing.

3. Morro Bay Waterfront

Vacation rentals on the Morro Bay waterfront offer proximity to a number of fascinating family-friendly attractions. The open-air Maritime Museum gives you a look at a deep sea roving vehicle and other seafaring vessels. The unique Morro Bay Skateboard Museum has more than 200 skateboards in its collection. The Morro Bay Estuary Nature Center lets you peruse exhibits on the environment and ecology of the estuary. At the marinas, you can take a sightseeing cruise or charter a boat to go fishing for salmon, halibut, tuna, and rock cod.

4. South Morro Bay

The eastern portion of Morro Bay State Park covers most of South Morro Bay. The park includes saltwater marsh and pine forest, and it’s a great place for hiking, cycling, fishing, kayaking, and bird watching. You can climb through Monterey pines to the top of Black Hill, another volcanic plug, where you have a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean and the surrounding countryside. The park also features an 18-hole golf course. The family-friendly Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History has exhibits, videos, puppet shows, interactive displays, and nature walks on local ecology and wildlife.

5. Baywood-Los Osos

The community of Baywood-Los Osos is adjacent to the city of Morro Bay on the south. A number of lovely parks and nature reserves surround it on every side. On the community’s north end, the Elfin Forest is a natural area composed of woodlands and coastal marsh. You can take the boardwalk and view local plant species, birds, mammals, reptiles, and butterflies. The Sweet Springs Nature Preserve is another excellent site for bird watching for species such as herons, egrets, ospreys, bald eagles, and red-tailed hawks. Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve features a unique ecosystem of coastal oaks growing on top of ancient sand dunes. Nearby Montana De Oro State Park is a vast area of rugged cliffs, hills, canyons, and sandy beaches with opportunities for swimming, hiking, cycling, and horseback riding.

6. Cayucos

The small beach town of Cayucos lies just north of Morro Bay. It’s relaxing sandy shore is perfect for swimming, sunbathing, beachcombing, and exploring tidal pools. You can surf fish from the beach or fish off the local pier. You can stroll along the beach all the way to Morro Bay or hike a trail around Inland Whale Rock Reservoir.

7. Avila Beach

The town of Avila Beach lies south of the city of Morro Bay on San Luis Obispo Bay. The City Beach is a wide sandy expanse directly in front of the town that’s perfect for swimming and sunbathing. You can drop a fishing line off Avila Pier, which is in the midst of the beach. The Central Coast Aquarium allows you to take a close-up look at local marine animals. You can tour historic Point San Luis Lighthouse, which sits on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. When you need a break, you can take advantage of the natural mineral springs in the area and relax at a spa.

8. Chorro

The town of Chorro is a few miles southeast of Morro Bay along Highway 1. It is the site of El Chorro Regional Park, a lovely spot in the hills that features picnic areas, hiking trails, and sports facilities. You can enjoy cycling, golfing, rock climbing, and other activities. Also at the park is San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden, which focuses on plant life from Mediterranean climate zones around the world, including California, South Africa, Australia, Chile, and the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

9. San Luis Obispo

The city of San Luis Obispo is a great place to explore shops, restaurants, galleries, and wine-tasting rooms. Its regular street parties highlight local entertainers, and its farmer’s markets allow you to sample produce fresh from the fields surrounding the city. Among its fascinating and family-friendly museums are the San Luis Obispo Children’s Museum, the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art, and the San Luis Obispo Railroad Museum.