A Photo Journal of California's Beautiful Morro Bay

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Up until about three weeks ago, I had literally never heard of a place called Morro Bay. It came up in a conversation with Maryann, the woman who facilitated my visit to central California to drive the Highway 1 Discovery Route.

“They’d love a couple posts from you,” she gleamed. “Would you be interested?”

Was I interested in visiting Morro Bay? I was ambivalent, if I’m honest. But it meant more commissioned content, so I was down.

I should note that my ambivalence had nothing to do with Morro Bay itself – truth be told, I didn’t even Google it. One of my unwritten rules of travel is that I try to learn as little as possible about a destination before I visit, which in turn motivates me to learn more about it upon arrival. When I departed my hotel in Avila Beach for Morro Bay last Saturday, the only thing I knew about Morro Bay is that it was a 15-minute drive from me.

How silly I was.

Morro Bay is spectacular, in no small part because of Morro Rock, a “volcanic cap” that juts out of the ocean at the mouth of the town’s namesake harbor. Then there’s the beach itself, and the Embarcadero, a lively strip of restaurants, shops and bars that lines a marina filled with boats and yachts of all sizes. When I visited, it happened to be during the Morro Bay Avocado and Margarita Festival, but there’s always something going on in this town that just doesn’t seem as small as it actually is – around 10,000.

From the moment I set my bag down in the charming “Sunset Suite” of the Estero Inn, to the moment I drove out of town to head back to Texas; from rising at dawn to visit the Morro Bay Oyster Company farm with its owner, to watching the sun set in the shadow of Morro Rock; from heading out to sea in search of whales with Subsea Tours, to heading into downtown in search of photo ops, Morro Bay is a place that has forever etched itself onto my travel map.

Will it earn a place on yours? These photos should help you decide.

Morro Bay was kind enough to sponsor my visit to their fair city but as usual, all opinions are my own.

Robert Schrader
Robert Schrader is a travel writer and photographer who's been roaming the world independently since 2005, writing for publications such as "CNNGo" and "Shanghaiist" along the way. His blog, Leave Your Daily Hell, provides a mix of travel advice, destination guides and personal essays covering the more esoteric aspects of life as a traveler.
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