Morro Bay is one of the most quaint and quiet oceanfront towns on the California coast. With its iconic morro rock jutting from the calm water, abundant sea life, and charm, it’s one of our favorite romantic getaways for a long weekend. And this is our perfect 3-day Morro Bay Itinerary for couples.
Just a quick drive from the popular Pismo beach or San Luis Obispo, Morro bay is a much quieter town. With a small local population and calm ocean views, it’s exactly the sort of place that makes for a perfect romantic weekend getaway.
From amazing bistros to watching the sea life in the harbor, this agenda isn’t a fast-paced action-packed weekend. It’s a weekend of quiet walks, beautiful views, and reconnecting.
History and Fun Facts
Founded in 1870, the history of Morro Bay predates Spanish explorers and goes back to the native Chumash people.
It became a bustling port due to the ranching industry in the late 1800s before becoming a military base during WWII and eventually having 3 iconic towers of a power plant erected towering over the town.
Now, the power plant is closed, and with discussions of removing the towers in full swing, the city has become a quiet place known for its outstanding geographical views. Namely, Morro Rock.
Morro Rock, the Gibraltar of the pacific, is an ancient inactive volcanic mound that proudly sits 576 feet above the sealine and served as a navigational beacon to mariners for years.
With miles of coastline jutting out from the rock, marshes, and rolling hills to the land beyond, Morro bay is the perfect place for those who love watching wildlife, enjoying fresh seafood, and exploring the outdoors at a casual pace.
When to visit
Like all coastal California towns, there isn’t a bad time of year to visit. However, the temps range from the mid to high 70s in the late summer months to below 60 in the cooler months from November to March. And with a cool coastal fog rolling in at dawn, things can get chilly.
If you’re brave enough to test the water, know it remains on the cooler side, only barely peaking into the 60s F in early September.
On average, things are sunny and cool in Morro Bay, with around only 50 days of precipitation each year.
Where to stay
There are several inns and hotels in Morro Bay with amazing views of the water. But we saved some money and stayed at a secluded romantic little Airbnb just a short walk up the hill, which was the ideal place for our trip.
Depending on exactly what you’re looking for, we recommend
- 456 Embarcadero Inn & Suites
- Anderson Inn
- Hotel Avisa
Or check out the local Airbnb listings!
How to get there
Getting to Morro Bay is easiest by car. It’s a beautiful 3 1/2 hour drive up California’s Pacific Coast Highway through iconic cities and rolling hills from Los Angeles or 2 1/2 hours south of our favorite hotels in Monterrey. Or, if you’re enjoying wine country, a quick trip out to Morro Bay from Paso Robles is just 45 minutes through stunning landscapes.
Flying in can be tricky. The closest airport is the San Luis Obispo regional airport, and the nearest major airport is LAX. Renting a car and driving north to Morro bay is an option, but we suggest looking for a connecting regional flight.
Check with rental car facilities to make sure there is availability – otherwise, you may just want to rent a car from LAX.
Morro Bay 3-Day Itinerary
Arrive at Morro Bay and check into a scenic Airbnb. Unpack and put your walking shoes on. Although it’s a steep walk up and down the streets, we found almost everything within this town walkable.
Head down to Giavanni’s Fish Market for lunch and explore the village. Be sure to stop along the beach at sunset for stunning views.
Pop into Cafe Della Via for a relaxing bite for dinner as you settle in.
Day 2 –
Start with Frankie and Lolas, the best place for breakfast. The food is amazing, the portions big, and the outside seating area is perfect to sip and enjoy coffee and a quiet morning watching the marine life and overlooking Morro Rock.
Go for a drive along the coast and see hundreds of elephant seals and harbor seals, take in the breathtaking views of the pacific ocean breaking along the Big Sur coast at Ragged Point, and stop by for a tour of Hearst Castle.
Stop into the small town of Cambria for one of the many weekly farmer’s markets, and enjoy lunch and a wine tasting at Black Hand Cellars.
Mosey back to Morro Bay and savor a sunset dinner at The Galley Seafood Grill & Bar, where you’ll want to order the clam chowder.
Enjoy live music and wine at Stax afterward before strolling back to your room.
Wake up and sip coffee at Skipper’s Brew and put your name in at Dorn’s for brunch. Then plan some outdoor adventures exploring all the harbor has to offer!
Make sure to get the most out of your time in Morro Bay and the area around it by popping over to San Luis Obispo or down to Los Osos to walk around and explore as well before departing.
Things you absolutely do not want to miss
Unlike some vacations where you need to rush to see and do everything, a weekend is the perfect amount of time to walk around and explore Morro Bay, feeling relaxed, walking through art galleries, and just taking in a slower pace.
On Saturday, stroll through the local farmers market downtown and pop into the local bookstore, Coalesce Bookstore filled with treasures from floor to ceiling. Grab a slice of pizza at Grape Leaf and just unwind.
Best Places to Eat
Our favorite restaurant was Frankie and Lolas. It’s not that it was 5-star food, but it was down-home comfort food with amazing flavors. The charm was exactly what we were craving and wanted from our weekend in Morro Bay
Dutchman’s seafood house had a long wait and was the perfect popping brunch spot with crab omelet, muffins, and mimosas to drink
And don’t miss out on fresh seafood down at the pier! You’ll want to swing by The Great American Seafood Company and order up fresh fried fish and then stop by the Lil Hut for a drink.
San Luis Obispo is a nearby college town with a great farmers market and culinary scene if you need a night out. Grab an ice cream at slo a La mode Ice cream Parlor or brunch at Bliss Cafe.
Things to Do
Morro Bay is a haven for those who love nature. And the best thing to do in this waterfront city is to enjoy the outdoors, access to wine country, and unwind!
- Beaches: be sure to spend an evening along Morro Rock Beach or Morro Strand Beach, where tons of people park a chair and enjoy the sunset.
- Wake up early and stroll along the trail from town all the way up to the base of the huge gem at sunrise! There’s a high chance you will spot otters and sea lions in the water and on the buoys as you walk along the edge of town near the harbor.
- From within town, you can rent kayaks and paddleboards and paddle up and down the bay or hop aboard a whale-watching cruise from December through May for the best chance at spotting humpback whale migration!
- Or grab your binoculars and try to spot a peregrine falcon nestled into the nooks of Morro Rock. Or do some bird watching and look for the local loons, ducks, and other sea birds. Check out the views as you explore the Morro Bay natural history museum and Heron Rookery Natural Preserve.
- There is also Morro Bay golf course or a few more down in Los Osos if you want to bring your clubs and play.
- For those wanting a hike, we recommend Black Hill Trail, a short 2.5-mile trail that gives an amazing elevated view of Morro Rock. There is parking if you drive up or along Main Street if you plan to hike it. Pack bug spray in the summer months because the mosquitoes can get out of hand!
We found 3 days the perfect amount of time for visiting Morro Bay. It’s one of our favorite couple’s getaways along the California coast, with just enough to do for a long weekend without feeling overwhelmed.
Breweries, live music, and relaxation. There isn’t a huge club scene or hundreds of places to pick from. But the chill vibe of enjoying a drink and walking through Morro Bay at night is perfect for a couple’s weekend trip.
That’s apples to oranges. Where they both have sand, the atmosphere and vibe of Morro Bay and Pismo Beach aren’t alike at all. Pismo Beach has more of a popular beach town vibe, more people, and more social activities. Whereas Morro Bay is calmer, quieter, and a lot more romantic.
Yes. Like anywhere, practice usual self-awareness, but Morro Bay is safe. We walked everywhere and never encountered any issues.
What to Pack
Morro Bay has moderate weather all year long. Pack to be comfortable.
- Walking shoes
- Sweater and jacket for mornings and evenings
- Comfy pants and casual clothes
As you can see, Morro Bay is absolutely worth visiting. There are plenty of places to explore and things to do in in this beautiful place, and these were just a few of our favorite things!
Pack your suitcase and go….
Ready to plan your Morro Bay itinerary? We’d love to hear where you end up stopping and enjoying adding to our list for our next trip. Or, if you’re just exploring, be sure to read out six favorite romantic getaway ideas for Southern California!