Morro Bay

State Park

Morro Bay

Morro Bay State Park offer camping, birding, and beach activities, and also features the Museum of Natural History, a marina, the golf course, kayak rentals, and extensive hiking on Black Hill and east of South Bay Boulevard on Cerro Cabrillo. And of course, the park includes the famous Morro Rock.

Where is it?

Just west of California’s scenic Highway 1, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay State Park overlooks the Morro Bay Estuary, marina, and Morro Rock.

History

Ancestors of today’s Chumash and Salinian people inhabited the area now within the park for thousands of years. These native people were able to find both fish and shellfish, as well as game and birds of all sizes.

 

The arrival of Europeans forever changed the lives of the native people. Recruited into the mission system, they succumbed to diseases to which they had no immunity. Today the Salinan and Chumash people are working to revive their ancient languages and cultural traditions. When missions were secularized in 1833, Mexico began granting lands to Mexico citizens. Four grants were made in Morro Bay. In 1850, California became part of the United States.

 

Franklin Riley, the first “American” to settle in the area, laid out streets and lots and called the town “Morro” (meaning nose, or headland). Mild weather made the area a popular tourist destination, and development soon followed. After the Great Depression, the State of California took possession of the land that is now Morro Bay State Park in 1934. The California Conservation Corps did most of the work to transform the land into a state park.

Recreation

Activities in the park are plentiful making use of hills and sand, estuary and ocean. Dogs are not permitted on trails, except for service animals.

Activities at Morro Bay

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Adventures with Nature (docent-led hikes)
  • Boating/boat rentals
  • Picnic areas
  • Exhibits and programs
  • Bird watching
  • Whale watching
  • Fishing
  • Surfing/wind surfing
  • Geocaching
  • Nature & wildlife viewing
  • Museum
  • Restaurant
  • Interpretive exhibits

ATTRACTIONS

The Museum of Natural History

The only natural history museum in the California State Park system opened in 1962. Over 50,000 people visit the Museum annually, including 5,000 children who participate in the docent-led school group programs that support California's required science and social studies standards.

 

Award winning artist Kristopher Doe created the Marine Mammal Mural on the north side of the museum to give visitors perspective of the size of these animals since most of us don’t find ourselves swimming with whales all that often! Interactive exhibits are designed to delight and educate both young and old, focusing on the estuary and bay ecosystems. Visitors learn about tidal forces, geology, erosion, human impacts on the land and how to preserve and protect the environment and all its living creatures in a fun, hands-on experience. Entry fees are $3 for adults and free to children 16 and under. The Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

Morro Bay Golf Course

Located within the park boundaries but run by an outside vendor, Morro Bay Golf Course is a 18-hole golf course that overlooks the museum and town of Morro Bay, placed just in front of the expansive Pacific Ocean.

Shopping

The Nature Store at the Museum of Natural History is open seven days a week, from 10am – 5pm. Souvenirs, toys, apparel, and other general merchandise can be found; entrance to the store is free.

Camping

Morro Bay State Park offers group, tent, and RV camping options. Please consider buying your firewood from our camp hosts. Sales of firewood fund education and interpretation in our local parks, and protect our trees and plants from invasive, non-local pests traveling on out-of-area wood. Click here for campground reservations at Morro Bay State Park.