Hotels in Morro Bay, USA
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Morro Bay, the quintessential seaside escape
Midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles lies Morro Bay, a working fishing village on the Pacific Coast of California. Travellers are drawn here year-round by its mild, Mediterranean climate, relaxed lifestyle, and exceptional natural beauty. Few visitors depart without a photograph of its most dramatic landmark, Morro Rock, or memories of sunny days spent lazing on the soft, sandy beaches around the bay. Though the luxurious boutique hotels overlooking the harbour are much sought-after, Morro Bay is a welcoming place with accommodations to suit just about everyone, from charming motels to vacation condo rentals and campgrounds.
Explore Morro Rock…from a safe distance
Part of the Nine Sisters, a series of extinct volcano peaks, Morro Rock is a peregrine falcon preserve and a sacred site for two Native American tribes. For these reasons, climbing the rock is strictly prohibited, but day hikers at all skill levels can enjoy an excellent view from the summit of its nearest neighbour, Black Hill. Visitors can also catch a glimpse of the rock while exploring the Morro Bay National Estuary, the 2,300-acre salt marsh at its base. Its stunningly beautiful seagrass beds and mudflats are home to a diverse ecosystem and are an important stopover point for migratory birds. Travellers who prefer golf clubs to binoculars can also enjoy this special place while improving their short game: The Morro Bay Golf Course, often called the “poor man’s Pebble Beach,” offers challenging greens with views of the ocean and bay from each of its 18 holes.
Boats, beaches, and bicycles built for two
Beaches are one of Morro Bay’s most popular attractions. Tourists and locals alike enjoy walking or cycling along the harbour to Coleman Beach, which offers stunning views of the rock from its sandy shores. Morro Beach is also beautiful, though travellers who prefer tents or trailers to hotels head two miles north to Morro Strand Beach, as it is part of the Morro Strand State RV Park and Campground. Four-legged visitors generally like North Point Beach best, because dogs are permitted to run off-leash along its shores. Energetic sun-seekers can also kayak, canoe, or paddleboard across the channel to Sandspit Beach: the long sand spit barrier that protects the bay is part of Montana de Oro State Park. Sightseers also have plenty of options to enjoy the water without getting wet: bay cruises, dinner cruises, private fishing charters, and whale watching tours are widely available in Morro Bay.
Search for treasures, find Dory, and try the taffy
Avid treasure hunters will find at least a dozen antique, thrift, and vintage consignment stores amid the souvenir shops, cafes, restaurants, and pubs in Morro Bay. Travellers who care not for shopping can while away the odd rainy afternoon in one of several art galleries and museums in the village, or visit the marine inhabitants of the Morro Bay Aquarium & Gifts; the small, family-owned operation was made famous by in 2016 as the birthplace of Disney’s Dory, a lovable blue tang with a faulty short term memory. And no visit to Morro Bay is quite complete without a stop at Carousel Taffy, which sells a remarkable 70 varieties by the pound. Free samples of their most famous flavour, Chicken and Waffles, are always available.
Follow the Pacific Coast Wine Trail to Hearst Castle
Morro Bay marks the beginning of the Pacific Coast Wine Trail, and many of the award-winning wineries along the route tempt thirsty travellers with more than their wares. Castoro Cellars features an 18-hole disc golf course on the grounds of Whale Rock Vineyard, while Robert Hall Winery offers two regulation bocce ball courts made of crushed oyster shells. Alternatively, adventurous wine lovers can zip line over the vines at Ancient Peaks, or take a whirlwind helicopter tour of the wineries in Paso Robles. Travellers who prefer to winery hop on foot will also find several luxurious hotels in very close proximity to the vineyards of Paso Robles. However, even the most decadent properties along the coast of California shrink from comparison with the jaw-dropping estate at the end of the trail. With 165 rooms, 25,000 artefacts, and 127 acres of meticulously landscaped gardens, Hearst Castle is truly a “museum like no other” and well worth the 30-mile drive from Morro Bay in and of itself.
Price rangefrom NZ$76to NZ$337
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