As much as I love Fresno, sometimes (like now with all the beautiful blossoms blooming and making me sneeze more than I care to tolerate) you gotta just hit the road and get out of town. A change of scenery after a tough work week and perhaps a view of the ocean could be just what you or you and your family need to recharge. For many Valley residents, I know Pismo Beach is the #1 nearby Beach to visit (I get it, the Cinnamon Roll shop, Pancho’s hoodies and the dunes are pretty awesome) – but allow me if you will, to share with you the reasons I believe you should consider making your next day trip to Morro Bay.
Morro Bay seems to be Pismo Beach’s quieter, quainter sister. Or maybe aunt… it’s a bit more reserved, more mature perhaps – but there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had strolling through the downtown and waterfront areas.
Morro Bay is 138 miles from Fresno, and takes just under two and a half hours to reach. Kettleman City is a good place to stop along the way for gas, a quick bite or to explore the new Bravo Farms destination “Bravoland”.
Once in Morro Bay, most sites and activities can easily be reached on foot, just follow signs for Downtown/Waterfront. Street parking is free (though there is a 3 hour time limit) and not to difficult to find – even on a weekend. When we go, our first stop is usually Giovanni’s Seafood and Galley for fish and chips and a bread bowl of clam chowder. Giovanni’s has a walk up window for ordering and an outdoor seating area that looks out onto Morro Rock and across the Bay. You can enjoy a glass of wine or locally brewed 805 while you eat, too. There are some fun photo ops nearby as well – a lookout point that’s great for family photos with Morro Rock in the background, some painted cutouts of a fisherman and sea creatures to poke your head through, and the giant clam shell “wings” you can sit in front of and attempt to look angelic with.
After you’ve eaten, walk down to the Shell Shop to check out thousands of sea shells, coral, sand dollars and other sea treasures from around the world. This place is so neat, and the prices are very reasonable, making it a fun place to buy souvenirs.
Across from the Shell Shop is the Morro Bay Aquarium. This small aquarium is located behind a gift shop and is home to rehabilitated harbor seals and sea lions visitors can feed. Beyond the seal and sea lion area is a room with 14 tanks, each home to several different forms of sea life.
Kelli’s Candy and coffee is just down the sidewalk, and offers salt-water taffy, ice cream and espresso drinks. Across the street, is a giant outdoor chess board with pieces that can be played with for free.
End your day with a boat ride around the Bay – you can rent a nice boat for as little as $12 an hour, and the calm Bay waters are perfect for the whole family to enjoy.
If Morro Bay isn’t typically a destination on your radar, I hope I’ve helped convince you to reconsider! Everyone needs a little day trip now and again, and Morro Bay is one of my favorite places to visit.