Hike-in Required
Open Year-round
Guided tours
ADA accessible
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The California sea otter (Enhydra lutris) has been on the endangered species list since 1977, but it is starting to make a fierce comeback. Populations from San Mateo all the way down to Santa Barbara County are on the rise after major conservation efforts.

Morro Bay is one of the best places to see this incredible animal up close and personal. The bay is located next to a system of estuaries, which helped to create a sand barrier around the inlet of the bay. This natural structure serves as a break, keeping the waters in the bay calm and protected. It is a perfect habitat for the sea otter, which spends much of its time floating on its back. Since sea otters do not have a blubber layer like other marine mammals, they have to rely on two layers of dense fur and the heat of the sun to stay warm. 

A particularly good spot to see the Morro Bay sea otters is within the area outlined by the T-dock located behind The Great American Fish Company. Park in the restaurant parking lot, which is available for public use and has ample parking, and walk out toward the water. Once on the boardwalk you can already see the otters hanging out in their favorite spot. For the best sea otter viewing, walk out onto the T-dock for an up close and unforgettable experience. Sea otters can be found here year round, but they are most enjoyable to watch when the sun is shining.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

Not Required


Easily accessible. Up-close viewing.


Access is difficult when fishing boats are docked.

Pets allowed



Bird watching
Whale watching
ADA accessible


Nearby Adventures

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

Nearby Lodging + Camping

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


Nice write up! Check out this website which has more information out sea otters in Morro Bay with some nice pictures www.mbnep.org/2017/02/24/sea-otters-and-morro-bay/
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