Thursday, December 16, 2021

Morro Bay: play, stay on the bay, with seals, otters and great seafood

Morro Rock stands imposingly and majestically in the waters, as it has for centuries, welcoming
tourists and modern-day explorers. The rock is beloved by locals for its lore and ancient history.

A regal seagull checks out the surf near Morro Rock.

AN ANCIENT landmark, revered by native people and photographed by tourists, greets curious visitors and charms locals in Morro Bay, Calif.
Explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo named the towering 476-foot rock known by sailors as an imposing navigational aid.
It stands sentinel above the entrance to Morro Bay.  Cabrillo's "discovery" was made during his voyage up the California coast in 1542 --50 years after Columbus made his famous voyage to the new world on the other side of the country.
Cookie and Keller enjoy a bay stroll near sunset.
THOUSANDS of years before, native  
people fished the rich coastal waters and traversed the land of long-extinct volcanoes which formed the historic landmark.
Morro Rock goes back 23 million years. The "Gibraltar of the Pacific," is the last peak of the Nine Sisters, which extend from San Luis Obispo to Morro Bay. The rock was mined until 1963.
Still today, there's a feeling of age and mystery about the rock's place on the beautiful bay, shrouded in fog as it often is and looking like a movie backdrop.
ONE CAN picture long-ago Spanish galleons, when commerce relied on the sea for transport.
Farmers came to work the land, and miners worked the hills and caves. 
Morro Rock is an imposing sight from the hotel balcony.
Located as it is midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay is a stopping off place for us and many others on our drives up the coast from San Diego. California's renowned Pacific Coastal Highway runs right through the center of this quietly satisfying little beach town.
Everything seems to center around the beach, where high school students work out and can easily walk to or from their school.
Morro Bay is a fishing town. Dozens of privately owned boats on hitches line residential streets and you can't go wrong ordering seafood at the dozen or so popular restaurants.
Morro Bay is a fishing and tourist town. The
seafood is abundant and delicious everywhere.
WE GOT GREAT tips from our hotel check-in clerk at Ascot Suites, a charming, centrally located hotel with an abundance of English country art.   We took our happy hour drinks to the rooftop sundeck with a beautiful vista of the bay and rock.  We lingered to enjoy a perfect sunset with gorgeous shirt sleeves weather in late October.  Locals say the pleasant temperatures last through the holidays.
Thousands of people visit Morro Bay each year so there are over a dozen hotels, plenty of B&Bs, and assorted other rentals -- from simple and rustic to plush and expensive.
After a day of play on the bay,
Bruce Keller enjoys sunset.
FOR A TOWN of only 11,000 there is a surprising amount of activity and entertainment.   We happened upon live music on the bay -- and asked about the town's other landmark: three large smokestacks.  They're from an old power plant and can be seen from almost everywhere in town. We nature lovers delighted in the wildlife, too. We saw harbor seals, sea lions, sea otters, snowy plovers and peregrine falcons which nest on Morro Rock.
More info:;  
Gran Olive's filled date and mincemeat cookies.
We'll share her recipe next week. Please "tune in."
UP NEXT: A non-baker finds courage to restore a family tradition: making Christmas cookies, grandmother's recipe no less.  After a day of kitchen duty for Cookie, Keller is munching his way through the holidays with the results. We share a favorite family recipe -- my grandmother's delicious date and mincemeat filled cookies. We also travel the globe in search of foodie fun to celebrate the holidays in style with other cultures.
Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us Fridays for a fresh look at family, travel, cruising, nature, the arts and more. Please share the link and tell your friends:


  1. This is a lovely piece on a pretty place. Thank you.

  2. Morro Rock is our family's favorite landmark on our annual trip from San Francisco to San Diego. Fun town, beautiful birds. And that beautiful rock!!! Nice piece.

  3. Such fun following you two.....

  4. Where is Cookie? Are you still in Morro Bay? We would love to get together, as we are not far..... San Luis O.....let us know. You have our email.

  5. Such a treat to discover this column!