Morro Bay State Reserve

Santa Maria Valley + Santa Lucia/La Panza Mountains, California

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Morro Bay State Reserve


  • View from the marina at Morro Bay.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morro Bay State Reserve.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morro Rock.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morning on Morro Bay.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morning on Morro Bay.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Weather station on the bay.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morro Bay.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morro Rock and the power plant in the distance.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Heading back to the marina.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Egrets on the slough.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Morro Bay Oyster Company.- Morro Bay State Reserve
  • Boats moored in Morro Bay.- Morro Bay State Reserve
Overview + Weather
Beautiful paddle. Generally calm waters. Lots to explore.
Can get windy in the afternoon.
Santa Maria Valley + Santa Lucia/La Panza Mountains, CA
Site characteristics: Water: 
Motorized watercraft allowed: 
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Portage required: 
Preferable Season(s):
Spring, Summer, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Water difficulty: 
Easy / Class A
Current Local Weather:
Paddle Description

Paddle Description

Pro Contributor

The Morro Bay State Estuary Preserve is an 800-acre natural area that protects a rare and valuable ecosystem on the central California Coast. Part of Morro Bay State Park, the preserve carries the highest level of protection for the plants and animals within its boundaries. The preserve and the whole of Morro Bay offer an outstanding area for exploration with kayaks, SUPs or other craft. The marina located across the road from the Morro Bay State Park Campground is an excellent place to launch a boat to explore the bay.  There is a company that rents boats and boards at the marina as well.

From the marina it is about 3 miles to the end of Morro Bay near the town of Los Osos and the Morro Coast Audubon Society Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. Along the way, depending on the tides, there are many channels to the east that lead up Chorro and Los Osos Creeks that are worthy of exploration. Bird life is abundant and harbor seals are commonly seen. On the west side of the bay is the sand spit (part of Montana de Oro State Park), which is an interesting place to land and explore, though much of the spit itself is off-limits due to nesting plovers. There is so much to explore in the bay that several hours should be set aside to do this paddle justice. Just be aware that winds generally come up in the afternoon, so an early launch is recommended.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(4 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(18 within a 30 mile radius)

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