Morro Bay State Park

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About Morro Bay State Park

“Whoa what is that massive awesome rock jutting out of the Pacific?” “Oh you mean Morro Rock, the 23 million year old volcanic plug that overlooks Morro Bay and hundreds of different species?” That’s some of the normal conversation that ensues after seeing the magnificent Morro Rock on a drive along Highway 1 in the Central Californian coast. Morro Bay State Park covers 2,700 acres and offers incredible opportunities for camping, boating, and hiking, along the calm waters of the Morro Bay. The park contains the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Morro Rock Natural Preserve, the Heron Rookery Natural Preserve, and the highly acclaimed Morro Bay State Park Golf Course. Home to an incredible amount of marine and land species, Morro Bay State Park is an amazing stop along the Californian coast and warrants some serious seaside and marshy appreciation.

Campgrounds in Morro Bay

Morro Bay Campground

1. Morro Bay Campground

Morro Bay State Park campground consists of 135 sites shaded by a mixed forest planted by the CCC in the 1930’s. This does not cause for much shade...

Pierre
Pierre: We had a surprisingly good time there. The campground doesn't offer anything special other than appreciable and cheap showers –...
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Hipcamper Corina Rose

a humble yet beautiful campground, nestled just next to -- and on level with -- a gorgeous natural estuary preserve. hikes, walks and biking trails surround the place, with beautiful hills behind to climb and get a view of it all. a central coast gem!

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Hipcamper Pierre

We had a surprisingly good time there. The campground doesn't offer anything special other than appreciable and cheap showers – a quarter dollar is enough – but this is a nice area. Check out the bay at sunset! You can rent kayaks at the marina, in front of the Bayside Café.

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Hipcamper Jordan

This was the first place I ever camped.

It's not very secluded at all, it's only a short 10 minute walk into town which isn't really my preference. The campsite itself is pretty nice. There are some nice hikes available and the air is nice and crisp in the mornings. The campsites themselves were kind of hard to distinguish between, can't really tell where one begins and the other ends, but that could've been a rookie mistake made by me.

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Hipcamper A
A

Otters are adorable. Make sure to head out on the bay in a kayak and experience families of otters and other species gliding along the water; it’s a magical experience.

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Hipcamper A
A

Black Hill offers a great easy hike with a final view that’s worth a trek 10x the distance. This comes very highly recommended, and a common activity among locals is to stay on the hill for the sunset.

Hipcamper A
A

Head into town and enjoy what Morro Bay is known for: the seafood!

Hipcamper A
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Check out the Museum of Natural History to gain some perspective on the area. It’s fun for all ages, with activities ranging from nature walks, to lectures, to puppet shows, and to the Chumash garden where you can learn how Native Americans used the regional plants in their daily lives.

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host on Morro Bay State Park.
I have coming to Morro Bay for about 50 years now. I have climb to the top many times years ago.
The State Park is run down, the winter has took its toll. And thats being nice.
The price is a little high. $50. For just water & Elec. And $35. For dry camping-just to have a cold or Luke warm showers. B\Rs were dirty all day most of the time. The showers were dirty and hair in them every I check. And checked 5 Times all 3 days I was there. No TP. In 2 of the B\Rs. 2 days in a row. Staff was not to friendly at all. Host were great.
This is a pristine area, it has Bird watching, Hiking trails and much much more.
I think every one should camp at a S.P.
Shirtless host Steve

Hipcamper Shirtless host Steve

Report from your shirtless host @ Morro Bay S.P. on a 1955 Kenskill Trailer.
This is about a 1955 14' Kenskill. What a gem.
The classic was found in a shed. ? It was under cover for the past 30+ years just setting there.
The the new owners are Jim & Dina ( 3rd. owners they think ) that told me that they were looking for a trailer for about a year or so. What a gem they found. Every in side worked like new ( with a little cleaning up ) after setting for 30 years. This classic is being tow by a red custom GMC subauan
They had it painted about 3 years ago. So if you see it heading or coming from the coast back to Bakersfield give them a hook.
They put another classic on the road
Shirtless host Steve
Shirtlesshost.blogspot.co

Activities in Morro Bay State Park

  • BikingBiking

    Many of the available trails in the Morro Bay are open to your wildest mountain biking desires, and a full list of paths in and around the park can be accessed here. One commonly-traversed track that we recommend is Black Hill, but make sure to check out many of the other trails!

  • BoatingBoating

    It’s not called Morro Bay State Park for no reason, as boating on the bay is one of the most enjoyed elements for visitors. Head out to the marina and rent yourself a sailboat or kayak and embark on a serene boating adventure through the bay, it’s definitely a great activity for anyone while staying by the water. Check out the kayaking & canoeing section for places to rent and explore boating options.

  • FishingFishing

    Due to the Marine Life Protection Act, Morro Bay State Park area is split up into an area for recreational fishing and the Morro Bay State Marine Reserve, which is completely cut off from public usage. The Bay supports more than two-dozen endangered species, some of which are fish, thus making angling a highly regulated activity. Nonetheless, fishing is permitted in specific areas, and per California norm, you’ll need your fishing license. You can also find available fishing areas/species here.

  • HikingHiking

    Morro Bay isn’t all about the Bay, as hiking is another very common endeavor among visitors to the Park. The most common trail traversed by visitors is an easy one (only 0.6 miles, phew!), but don’t despair as the view at the top allows for a beautiful panorama of the bay. From the top, the awesome Morro Rock points above the Pacific and the alluring rolling hills of California to the East. Cerro Cabrillo is another highly-coveted trail which offers some more strenuous and less-maintained paths for the more adventurous type. Hikers are enveloped by surrounding sage brushes and chaparral/grass-covered hillsides, and are rewarded at the top with beautiful views of the estuary and mud flats as well as the geologically stunning Tiki Rock.

    Both hikes summit their own personal “morros” and are a great way to spend a day on the Central Californian coast.

  • Kayaking & CanoeingKayaking & Canoeing

    Kayaking Morro Bay among the plethora of wildlife is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the beauty that is the National estuary. Why not get the best seat in the house--the one directly on the water--and kayak along the easy flat-water of the bay. This is one of the only options that really allows visitors to experience the incredible wildlife that Morro Bay offers first hand, and many guided tours offer incredible insight through oyster farms, otter families, hundreds of birds, and many of the other species that inhabit the estuary. We highly recommend getting out on the water and enjoying the sunset from your kayak, as the serenity of the bay coupled with being surrounded by the myriad of wildlife is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

    Thanks to the sand spit that separates the bay from the rougher Pacific, the waters are relatively flat and allow for any level of kayaker to enjoy such an immersive opportunity. Make sure to check the tide schedule before heading out, though, as it tends to floccuate. You can also easily rent a kayak by the marina (which conveniently is right next to the Morro Bay campgrounds!)

  • SurfingSurfing

    If you’re ready to brave the cold central Californian waters, then throw on your wetsuit and head out to one of the many beaches where surfing is available. Morro Rock Beach is known as a local surf spot, and you can check out the surf report here.

  • Wildlife WatchingWildlife Watching

    One element that separates Morro Bay from many other parks is the diversity and overall magnitude of species that inhabit the area. After all, part of the park is an estuary, with the additional Heron Rookery Natural Preserve providing the breathtaking presence of herons and many other avian species.

    Morro Bay’s expansive 2,700 acre territory, consists of spanning grasslands and sage scrub habitats coupled with mudflats, tidal wetlands, and freshwater/saltwater riparian areas. Wow. If that doesn’t get your engine revving then we don’t know what will. In reality, wildlife is what really makes Morro Bay one of the more incredible stops along the California coast, as Morro rock itself is host to the previously-endangered Peregrine Falcon, who make their home above the rock where they can stay relatively safe.

    The Bay also provides visitors with year round birdwatching opportunities, for over 100 migratory birds come through the area on their annual journeys while many others stay for the whole year to enjoy the park; just like the visitors! You can also check out the Morro Coast Audubon Society for programs and field trips to open your eyes to the glory of the avian community on the coast. Morro Bay state park is a haven for bird-lovers alike and is a necessary stop for anyone who enjoys such a diversity of wildlife.

  • Other

    One of the most attractive aspects of the park is the legendary 18-hole Morro Bay Golf Course. With stunning ocean views and a course that rivals even Pebble Beach, this course is highly recommended by all and open to the public. Be warned though, you won’t be the only ones on the green, as many of the local birds enjoy the course as much as the golfers themselves.

History of Morro Bay State Park

For many millennia before European contact, ancestors of the people who today call themselves Chumash or Salinan lived on the central coast. The first European overland expedition
into the Morro Bay area was led by Don Gaspar de Portolá in 1769. The first American to settle in the area was Franklin Riley, who laid out streets and lots for a town he called “Morro” (meaning nose or headland). Year-round mild weather made Morro Bay a popular tourist destination beginning in the 1890s.

The Cabrillo Country Club had opened on the present state park site a few months
before the crash of the 1920’s. The club’s developers desperately sought a buyer, and the town of Morro Bay pushed for the state to acquire the land as a state park. The state
took possession of the property in 1934. As one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) created work for unemployed young men. The CCC arrived in Morro Bay State Park on May 11, 1934, to begin transforming the former country club into a state park. The many finely crafted stone features that are seen in the park today were built by the CCC. Morro Bay State Park looks out over the bay to wind-sculpted sand dunes. Guarding the harbor entrance of the central coast’s Morro Bay, Morro Rock has been a landmark for mariners over the centuries.