Categories: CampingDestinations

Sub-24 Bike Camping at Morro Bay

Ask any nomad on two wheels and they’ll say that multi-day bike tours are just the best. You get the thrill of traveling under your own horsepower, just like backpacking – but you can easily cover 10 times the daily distance on a pair of hoops. A lot of people prefer to just carry a little bit of clothing and a credit card, but I find a lot more joy in packing everything I need – tent, sleeping bag, cooking supplies… it just feels right. I’ve always loved the nomadic sensation of setting up for the night whenever you get tired, whether it’s stealth camping in a hidden in a grove of trees, or a tent site with all the camping amenities you could enjoy.

Usually I like to spend at least a couple nights on the road, but this trip was spontaneous and quick, and happened as a great opportunity to celebrate the coming arrival of my buddy Luke’s new daughter. I guess maybe it was a baby shower for dudes. Bikes and beers, good way to celebrate, right?

Highway One on the California coastline is arguably one of the best drives in North America. While millions of cars travel down this asphalt expanse – many people forget the simple joy of pedaling a bicycle down this iconic ocean-side road. So when Jordon, Luke, and I thought about where to point our bikes, it wasn’t a hard choice.

This particular route didn’t leave us any chance to stay hungry for too long, especially after starting the trip early in the morning by smelling the scent of fresh dough baking at Old West Cinnamon Rolls. Maybe not the best nutritional decision for an early morning start, but this is definitely the best place on the West Coast for a sugary start to your day.

Sometimes when I think about why I like to ride a bike, I question whether or not it’s really just so I can eat & drink as much, and whatever I’d like. It takes so many calories to keep you rolling on the road, and being somewhat of a foodie – I appreciate any opportunity possible to sample the local offerings.

So with sticky fingers, and cream cheese frosting on our lips, we hopped back on our bikes and pedaled the twenty-five miles towards Morro Bay. The lush green foliage of the foothills just taunting us with it’s magical colors, as the springtime weather was flourishing. After some steep hills, long windyroads and a few fast descents, we found the Morro Bay Strand State Beach Campground almost completely empty! We thought that possibly it was closed, but it turns out we had just come at a good time during the week. And with all sites available, we settled on one with some adequate wind barrier to keep from being sandblasted through the night, since this campground is right on the sand! After setting up camp, we did what any seasoned bike tourist does, and celebrated our arrival by cracking a few beers. The sun set slowly over the pacific ocean, giving us some sweet relief from the constant UV Rays that pounded us all day. I think we forgot the sunscreen, or we were too tough to acknowledge that we needed it.

I’ll spare too many details about the rest of our food on the journey, but definitely worthy of mention is the Libertine Brewery in Morro Bay. Right on the water, they are focused on craft beers and quality sours. Also, we scored a righteous breakfast at Frankie and Lolas Front St. Café. Taco temple is definitely a must, if you feel like a taco that covers your whole plate.

I’ve done a lot of bike touring where distance is high priority, but I really enjoy these shorter trips where it’s less about the destination, but more about exploring along the way. These sub-24 hour microadventures are pretty great, and you can pack a lot into a day if you plan well.

Just make sure to leave plenty of time for a couple good meals, some star gazing, and a healthy amount of craft brews.

About the author: Peter is an adventure & travel photographer living near the foothills of Sequoia National Park. Sushi, surfing, bike camping, and mountain summits are among his current vices, and he believes that ‘In everything…moderation. Including moderation’. Visit him, his cute puppy and even cuter wife on IG at @PeterAmend.

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