Morro Bay Kayaking

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Where is Morro Bay?

Is this a popular kayaking destination?

What is the best time of year to participate in Morro Bay kayaking?

Morro Bay is located in California, on the coast almost halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The Bay is a very popular place for kayakers and other types of paddlers to enjoy, and it frequently draws tourist crowds and locals alike.

Those who are planning to kayak on Morro Bay may be surprised to learn that winter is actually the best time of year to visit this area. The weather stays mild, and although it rains more often in the winter, there are a lot of days with excellent weather for kayaking even so.

At this time of year, most wildlife is visible from the kayaks, and migratory birds are especially prevalent. Those who enjoy birdwatching are sure to be pleased with a wintertime kayaking excursion on Morro Bay.

In this article, we’ll give you all the basics you need to know about how to enjoy your time kayaking on Morro Bay.

Take your time, read through this information, and see for yourself what makes this bay such a popular paddling getaway.

Kayaking in Morro Bay

Experienced Needed: Beginner to Intermediate

  • Much of Morro Bay is perfect for beginners. However, if you do venture out closer to the open ocean, you’ll need to have intermediate skills to allow you to deal with higher winds and more frequent waves/

Location: City of Morro Bay, California

Portions Available for Kayaking:

  • The entirety of Morro Bay is open to kayaking. For the most part, however, tours will stick to the shoreline so as not to overwhelm paddlers who don’t have prior experience dealing with sea kayaking.
  • Self-guided sea kayakers are welcome to venture out into more open water. However, be sure to check ahead for any regulations or guidelines that may be put into place at the time of year when you visit.

How to Get to This Location:

  1. Coming from the north, take Highway 1 toward Morro Bay.
  2. Take the Los Osos exit and turn right at the end of the ramp.
  3. Just before a bridge, turn right onto State Park Road.
  4. Stay left after the turn, then turn left into Bayside Café after about a mile.
  5. Park on the other side of the café, close to the kayak docks, on the right-hand side of the road.

Ideal Trip Duration: Half-Day

  • A half-day tour of Morro Bay gives paddlers a chance to learn a little bit about kayaking and explore the surrounding wildlife without overdoing it, especially if they are not experienced.
  • There are many shorter tours available that last only a couple of hours and give families with younger kids a chance to see some sights as well.
  • It is possible to take a self-guided full-day or multi-day tour of Morro Bay. However, finding campsites can be challenging, so do your research ahead of time to make this work out well for you.

Family-friendly?

  • Absolutely! The water here is very calm, especially near the shoreline, and kids are welcome. Older members of the family can also enjoy paddling on these gentle currents, too.

Notable Sightseeing:

  • Sand dunes – Many half-day and longer tours will take paddlers to the sand dunes along the bay and showcase this unique natural area. Paddlers are welcome to get out of their kayaks and explore the sand dunes for a little while before paddling back to the main kayak docking location.
  • Harbor seals – If you want a chance to see some seals up-close and personal, you can make that happen when you go kayaking on Morro Bay! Harbor seals are plentiful in the Bay and are easy to see throughout most of the year.
  • Otters and herons – More of the common wildlife seen along this bay, otters and herons are easy to spot and may be very prominent in the waters at certain times of the year. Even self-guided kayakers often report seeing otters without really going out of their way to look for them, so keep your eyes open.

Onsite Rental Availability:

  • Yes; you can rent kayaks on-site at Morro Bay. There is a boat house on the bay for kayak rentals, and you can also rent other types of watercraft here, as well. Some on-site outfitters will allow kayak rental or will haul your personal watercraft to and from the water for you. However, some do not, so it’s important to check ahead of time with the outfitter you’re considering to confirm and make reservations for this type of service.
  • You can also schedule guided tours with many of the outfitters on Morro Bay. These tours may be family-friendly, adults-only, or may even be pet-friendly, so be sure to look for the tour that works best for you and your group.

Pros

  • Many outfitters allow private tours to be booked on Morro Bay, as well as add-ons for their group tours, such as lunch or dinner.
  • It is easy to find sunset or moonlight kayaking options on Morro Bay for those who are looking for something a little more intimate, too.
  • Kids don’t have much trouble paddling on their own on the bay, especially when they have a little bit of prior kayaking knowledge.
  • The bay is located centrally and provides plenty of nearby accommodations, food, and much more.

Cons

  • At some times of the year, it may be difficult to kayak on this bay due to fog, cold temperatures, and other weather-related issues.
  • There are not a lot of places to stop on the shore and rest or camp, since much of the land surrounding the bay is privately owned.
  • Many outfitters on Morro Bay book up well in advance, so it can be pertinent to schedule your trip as early as possible to ensure you get a spot.
  • The Bay may be crowded during certain times of the year, so it may be a good idea to visit during the off-season whenever possible to avoid this.

Conclusion

So what do you think? Is Morro Bay right for you? You may still have some hesitations, especially if you’re planning a trip from somewhere far away. Here are a few reasons to consider adding Morro Bay to your must-do kayaking list. See for yourself why others like you come back to this bay time and time again:

  • Those who are interested in the environment and local ecology can learn all about the estuary and different kinds of birds who live there on a Morro Bay tour.
  • Group trips and solo guided tours are always available from outfitters on Morro Bay, although sometimes at an upcharge.
  • Kids are often welcome on Morro Bay tours in tandem kayaks with a capable adult in the main seat.
  • Morro Bay often has nice weather that makes paddling cancellations uncommon (although keep in mind that they do still happen due to unforeseen weather events).
  • There’s plenty of on-site camping available.

Go kayaking in Morro Bay and find your own reason to love this beautiful location on California’s coastline!

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