Morro Bay


Morro Bay is a waterfront city in San Luis Obispo County, California – U.S.A. located along California State Route 1 on California’s Central Coast. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 10,234, down from 10,350 at the 2000 census.

History : The prehistory of Morro Bay relates to Chumash settlement, particularly near the mouth of Morro Creek. At least as early as the Millingstone Horizon thousands of years before present, there was an extensive settlement along the banks and terraces above Morro Creek. The first European land exploration of Alta California, the Spanish Portola expedition, came down Los Osos Valley and camped near today’s Morro Bay on September 8, 1769. Franciscan missionary and expedition member Juan Crespi noted in his diary that “we saw a great rock in the form of a round morro”.

Morro Rock later gave its name to the town. The descriptive term morro is common to the Spanish, Portuguese and Italian languages, and the word is part of many place names where there is a distinctive and prominent hill-shaped rock formation. Note that the similar Spanish descriptive word “moro” indicates a bluish color rather than a shape. The first recorded Filipinos to visit America arrived at Morro Bay on October 18, 1587, from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de la Esperanza one of whom was killed by local Native Americans while scouting ahead.

While governed by Mexico, large land grants split the surrounding area into cattle and dairy ranchos. These ranchos needed shipping to bring in dry goods and to carry their crops, animals, and other farm products to cities. Thus, Morro Bay grew. The town of Morro Bay was founded by Franklin Riley in 1870 as a port for the export of dairy and ranch products. He was instrumental in the building of a wharf which has now become the Embarcadero. During the 1870s, schooners could often be seen at the Embarcadero picking up wool, potatoes, barley, and dairy products.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the town has been a center for beach holidays. Tourism is the city’s largest industry, coexisting with the town’s commercial fishery. The most popular beach is on the north side of Morro Rock, north of the harbor. There are also excellent beaches north and south of the town which are now owned by the State of California. In the 1940s, Morro Bay developed an abalone fishing industry; it peaked in 1957, and stocks of abalone have declined significantly due to overfishing. Halibut, sole, rockfish, albacore, and many other species are still caught by both commercial and sport vessels. In addition, oysters are aquacultured in the shallow back bay.

A portion of Morro Bay is also designated as a state and national bird sanctuary. It is also a state and national estuary. Much of Morro Bay is a state wildlife area where waterfowl hunting is conducted during the season and is one of the few areas in California where Pacific brant are pursued. In 2007, the California Fish and Game Commission designated Morro Bay as a marine protected area named the Morro Bay State Marine Reserve.

Morro Rock The town’s most striking feature is Morro Rock, a 576 foot high volcanic plug which stands at the entrance to the harbor. Originally it was surrounded by water, but the northern channel was filled in to make the harbor. It was quarried from 1889 to 1969, and in 1968, it was designated a Historical Landmark. The area around the base of Morro Rock is open to visitors, with parking lots and paths. However, climbing the rock itself is prohibited except with a permit, both due to risk of injury, and because it is a peregrine falcon reserve. Morro Rock is one in a series of similar plugs that stretch in a line inland called the Nine Sisters. It is possible that the landscape moved over a volcanic hot spot through the ages.

Get around : Morro Bay can be traveled on foot and isn’t very car friendly. From Friday to Monday in the warmer months a free trolley shuttle runs the length of the Embarcadero (the main street along the waterfront) from larger parking areas at Morro Rock to the north of the bay and city marina at the south end of the Embarcadero.

By bus : Morro Bay Transit. Provides a fixed bus route and a trolley that runs in the summer.
Highlights :

  •  Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History, Morro Bay State Park Rd,  . Daily 10AM-5PM  closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. The only natural history museum in the State Park system, this museum focuses on the unique environment of Morro Bay and its estuary. Adults $3 16 and under free. Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History  Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History
    Morro Bay Aquarium, 595 Embarcadero . Every day. 12 years and over, $2. 2 Morro Rock. The great sight is the surf at the base of Morro Rock (called “The Rock” locally) which is the lava plug remnant of an ancient volcano. A bayside walk completed in 2007 connects the Embarcadero waterfront to the ocean and harbor entry. The jetty that guards the bay mouth is a popular but dangerous surf vantage point, and one must take care with rogue waves which have killed visitors here. The Rock is a protected Native American shrine and home to endangered peregrine falcons.

Morro Bay Kite Festival
Last Weekend in April
Morro Bay Beach

Miracle Miles for Kids 10K Walk/Run
April 21, 2018, Morro Bay Beach

Rock to Pier Run
July 14, 2018 Morro Bay Beach

Morro Bay Harbor Festival
October TBA, 2018, Embarcadero, Morro Bay

Adventures  in Morro Bay! : MORRO BAY GOLF COURSE , Boat Tours & Cruises/Whale Watching , CLOISTERS PARK TRAIL , Kayak , whale watching, harbor tours, day sailing trips, sailing lessons, private charters , Morro Bay Bike Park , surfing , Access info : Morro Bay is a short drive from San Luis Obispo.


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