fun to do kids morro bay california   Travel for Kids
  | California | Central Coast

Morro Bay

One of the most dramatic spots on the Central Coast is Morro Bay. Morro Rock, a distinctive volcanic formation called the "Gibraltar of the Pacific," was sighted in 1542 by the explorer Juan Cabrillo as he sailed up the coast of California. At Morro Bay, kids can boogie board at the beach, look for sea otters, play in the sand dunes, or spend hours exploring the tide pools.
Morro Bay Photo Album
morro bay california photo album

Sea otters Morro Bay State Park is super environment for sea otters, a sheltered lagoon and plenty of giant kelp. On a recent family trip, we saw a raft of sea otters next to Morro Rock.

    Read our blog post "See the Sea Otters" and find out why kelp is like a "floating blankie."

The Embarcadero

      Rent sea kayaks or canoes for a spin around sheltered Morro Bay.
      In season (December to March) are gray whale watching tours.
    At Sub Sea Tours, a bright yellow boat provides an underwater view of harbor seals, shiny schools of fish, giant kelp and sea otters.
    Or, if the water isn't clear, take a wildlife tour of the estuary in an electric launch to look for sea birds and otters.
      If you're pressed for time, stop into the small Morro Bay Aquarium, to see (and feed) sea lions, and get a peek at other marine life such as brightly colored fish, pink sea anemones and orange eels.
    Fly kites It's windy at Morro Bay, and the long sand beaches are good for kite flying. Farmer's Kites Surreys and More on Front Street has a good selection of kites.
    Rent bikes Bike out to Morro Rock or around the Embarcadero. Farmer's Kites Surryes and More has bikes and surreys for rent. (If you're lazy, you can also drive out to the base of Morro Rock.)

Morro Strand State Beach (South) – Buy kites to fly on the wide sandy beach (there are picnic tables too, so bring a lunch). In the warm weather, rent boogie boards and hit the waves, or just play in the sand.

    Tidelands Park – This is really fine playground, with pirate ship and giant octopus climbing structures, grassy areas, picnic tables, and a nice walkway along the bay.
  Museum of Natural History – Museum has hands-on exhibits about the bay, tidal flats, sand dunes, volcanic activity that created Morro Rock, marine life and wildlife around Morro Bay. Little one will enjoy the "toddler tide pool" (play with stuffed animals). Afterwards, take a walk to Windy Cove or White Point.
    Morro Bay State Park – Take advantage of Morro Bay campground, and take the trail up Black Hill for panoramic views of Morro Bay and Morro Rock.
    Elfin Forest – Take a walk on a one mile boardwalk loop, through a magical forest of native pygmy oaks, sagebrush, manzanita (red bark), ferns, monkey flowers, lizards, butterflies, and lichen floating in the oak trees. Watch out for poison oak, strollers okay, a fun walk for toddlers.
    Sweet Springs Nature Preserve (Los Osos) – November to March, look for Monarch butterflies, spending the winter in eucalyptus trees.
    Montana de Oro State Park – Montana de Oro State Park has camping and miles of hiking trails – the highlight is shale rock formations in shades of gold and silver, jutting out into the sea.
      Whale watching – Look for gray whales migrating, January to April. Best spot, take the Ocean Bluffs Trail with spectacular ocean panoramas. Bring binoculars.
Montana de Oro State Park
    Explore the tide pools – From the Ocean Bluffs Trail, climb down to Corallina Cove. You can't miss the giant-size bright green sea anemones, plus turban snails, rock crabs and sea stars (resist the urge to poke your fingers in the sea anemones).
      Spooner's Cove – Picnic tables, and wide sandy beach. If tables are full, drive to the end of the road, for another picnic area.
      Play in the sand dunes
      Take Sand Spit Rd. to the end, from the parking lot, it's a short walk down to the sand dunes. Play in the dunes (sand is very soft and fine-grained, bring beach toys), run around piles of driftwood, investigate clam shells and kelp washed up on the shore – it's a long sandy beach that seems to go on forever.
    Tip: In summer, mornings can be foggy, and sometimes it's gray all day. Fun to visit on a misty morning – the Museum of Natural History or Elfin Forest.
family hotels morro bay

Travel for Kids has so many fun things to do with kids around Morro Bay, but you'll need a fun place to stay.

Here's our own Travel for Kids hand-picked list of family hotels in Morro Bay, all styles and price ranges, in neighborhoods that are comfortable for families, and near to places you'll want to explore:

Morro Bay family hotels
kids books morro bay california
Sea Otter Pup
Victoria Miles, Elizabeth Gatt

Delightful story to read before going to look for sea otters in Morro Bay. Cycle of life for a sea otter mother and her pup – the mother feeds, washes, and snuggles the pup, and soon pup dives down to find food for himself. Beautifully illustrated! (Picture book)


Sea Otters
Laura Marsh

Fun facts about sea otters – a tail to steer through the water, thick fur to keep warm, hind legs to swim and dive, cleaning for hours every day to stay clean, pouches to hold their food. (Easy reader)


Sea Otters
Louise Spilsbury

Get to know the sea otters you'll see in Morro Bay. Discover how these enchanting creatures survive in cold waters (two layers of fur), how they eat (in the water, floating on their back), why sea otters rest with their paws up (conserves heat), threats to sea otters survival, and more. Good for older kids. (Illustrated chapter book)


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