Morro Strand

State Beach

Morro Strand State Beach

Miles of windswept sand, sea and dunes at Morro Strand State Beach curve gently from the town of Morro Bay to Cayucos. Two long stretches of beach provide recreation for visitors and habitats for a diverse array of plant and animal life. Overlooking Estero Bay and iconic Morro Rock, the beach hosts a variety of coastal environments — including strand, dunes, and dune wetland communities. Morro Strand experiences dry summers, with average temperatures in the low 70s, and wet, cool winters. Coastal fog and wind affect the beach during all seasons.

Where is it?

Morro Strand State Beach is located two miles south of Cayucos on highway 1.


Ancestors of the Chumash and Salinan people lived on the California’s Central Coast, including the Morro Strand area. Adept at hunting and gathering, they made seasonal use of the vast resources of the Pacific Ocean, today’s Morro and Estero Bays, and inland areas.


Spaniard Don Gaspar de Portolá’s journey to the Central Coast in 1769 was the first European overland expedition to reach the area. Indigenous people moved away from their settlements into the missions, which drastically changed their lives. The native population dwindled from exposure to European diseases and lack of traditional food sources.


The missions were secularized in 1833, and the Mexican government granted that land to Mexican citizens. Four such land grants were made near Morro Bay. The Mexican-American War concluded in 1848, and in 1850 California became one of the United States. Land developer Edward G. Lewis purchased the southern portion in 1916, calling the area the Atascadero Beach or Atascadero Colony. Lewis planned to create a beach community and began selling lots to prospective builders, but only one house was built. By the start of the Great Depression, Lewis and his hotel were in financial and legal trouble. The property was added to the State Park System in 1948, classified as Atascadero Beach. The remaining northern portion of Morro Beach had been acquired by California State Parks in 1932. Atascadero Beach and Morro Beach were combined in 1988 and renamed Morro Strand State Beach.


Dunes + beach + ocean creates many recreational activities at Morro Strand State Beach. Dogs are not permitted on the beach. Kite flying is restricted from March to September to protect sensitive species.

Activities at Morro Strand

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Picnic areas
  • Horseback riding
  • Surfing/windsurfing
  • Swimming
  • Beach area
  • Tidepooling
  • Fishing
  • Bird watching



Morro Strand State Beach offers a total of 74 tent and RV camp sites. 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 Strand State Beach.