Morro Bay is a hidden gem in California! If you’re planning a trip there, check out our favorite things to do in Morro Bay (with or without kids).
We’ve been traveling to Morro Bay lately and it’s a new favorite! It’s somewhere I had never been, despite being a huge fan of traveling in my home state of California.
We did some research about places that we could safely travel, and were excited to find that Morro Bay felt easy, safe, and had outdoor activities that we could do while safely distancing from other folks. It turned out that we found a ton of things to do in Morro Bay with the kids, and we all loved it!
I wanted to share some of our favorite spots, activities, restaurants, shops, and more — in case you’re planning a trip too.
Psst — if you need other California travel ideas, check these out:
- Our Favorite Places to Visit in California
- Best Stops for Kids on a Road Trip Down the California Coast
- Things to Do in Ojai, California
- Tahoe Travel With Kids
- 36 Hours in Monterey
- Things to Do in Palm Springs When It’s Hot
Best Places to Eat in Morro Bay
We had some great meals! Check out our favorites below.
Kuma Bowls. We had some killer ramen here! Even the kids loved it. The restaurant has a beautiful patio that feels like you’re sitting in a treehouse. We were able to eat outside safely, and they had heat lamps to stay cozy.
Mi Casa. Another place with an easy patio for social distancing, and pretty legit Mexican food. Get the nachos for sure.
Grandma’s Frozen Yogurt and Waffles. The kids loved this vegan frozen yogurt, big time. This little froyo shop also sits inside The Gathering Place, which is an outdoor plaza area with lots of picnic tables for hanging out.
Top Dog Coffee Bar. This coffee bar has an awesome breakfast — great bagel sandwiches, oatmeal, and more. The back patio is pretty magical, too, so make sure you grab a seat back there.
Bumble B Soda Company. Snag a malted, a shake, or a soda here for dessert. We took ours to go.
Bayside Cafe. This place is great for a sit-down dinner with lots of options and a big menu. It’s right on the marina so the view is pretty, and there’s a little mini hike you can take up the stairs behind the restaurant as you wait for your table. Plenty of outside seating and solid food. I loved the clam chowder!
Places to Shop in Morro Bay
We had two very favorite shops, and we went back multiple times to each!
The Shell Shop. Maybe the best shell shop I’ve ever been to… ever. The selection is incredible and the prices are really reasonable. It’s been family-owned since 1955 and the whole staff was very sweet. Definitely come look here!
The Garden Gallery. Not just one of my favorite shops in Morro Bay, but one of my favorite shops ever! It’s a garden store, with plenty of incredible plants and succulents, pots and planters. But it also has plenty of indoor items too — jewelry, art, home decor, and a kids’ section. I didn’t see it but there’s also apparently a cafe where you can grab a coffee and a bite. Don’t miss this spot!
Things to Do in Morro Bay
Morro Bay is a beach town, so lots of what we did was centered around that! Check out our favorite things to do in Morro Bay.
Morning Beachcombing. Morro Rock Beach has the most sand dollars I’ve ever seen in one place in my life. If you go in the morning (we would usually get there between 8-9), the beach is littered with them. Check out this post I did on how to spot the sand dollars that are safe to collect, and how to clean sand dollars.
If you come out later in the day, the beach can get busy, so we would avoid those times. But in the morning we pretty much had it to ourselves. We watched the surfers and let the kids collect shells to their hearts’ content.
Bike Riding. The downtown area of Morro Bay, where we were staying, has a few hills that aren’t too bike friendly. But down by the water there’s a bike path that was nice to take.
We also packed up our bikes and drove to nearby Avila Beach, where the Bob Jones trail is a perfect ride for families. It’s pretty flat and safe, and drops you right at Avila Beach boardwalk so you can hop off and look around. Out and back on the bike trail is 6 miles total. Henry (5 years) did it pretty easily).
Explore Downtown and the Waterfront. The downtown Morro Bay area has tons of cute little shops, restaurants, and outdoor markets. Wander around with a couple of hours to spare and see where you end up. There’s also a strip of shops and restaurants on the water near the Shell Shop that is fun for whiling away an hour or two.
Take a Drive. Head to nearby San Luis Obispo for a bigger city feel or to try some other restaurants and shops. Ryan and Henry found a toy store that they loved (we always like to check out the toy stores in towns we visit!).
I’d love to know if you head to Morro Bay, and what your favorite spots are! Add some in the comments or drop any questions that you might still have. xoxo