Photo Essay: Morro Bay, California

A couple weeks ago I shared photos from what's arguably my favorite place on earth, Big Sur, where I road tripped to a couple weekends ago. I first road-tripped to Big Sur six years ago, and it's since become an annual tradition. However, as beautiful as Big Sur is, what I've come to love is discovering the small coastal towns that dot the California coastline, not the least of which is Morro Bay, California.

One of the last proper towns before entering Big Sur, Morro Bay is where I've made base camp on many of my Big Sur trips, including this latest trip. Morro Bay is one of the most interesting towns in California to me. First off, there's a giant 576-foot-tall rock that's smack-dab in the middle of the bay, called Morro Rock. Even more interesting, however, is that that big rock is actually a volcanic plug. And then there's the actual bay itself, of which the northern shore is a national estuary.

But what I love the most about Morro Bay is the town, where tourists and locals seem to intermingle in ways you won't find in many of California's coastal cities. This is most evident on the main thoroughfare, the Embarcadero, where you'll find tourists and locals alike filling local establishments like The Libertine, a waterfront brewpub, and Giovanni's Fish Market, one of the top fish markets on the California Central Coast.

For most travelers, however, it's all about Morro Bay's location. Morro Bay is almost exactly halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco (four hours away from both cities) on California's Central Coast. And with it approximately an hour south of Big Sur (and one of the closest towns to the south of Big Sur), Morro Bay is a great jumping off place for exploring the California coast. It just so happens that the sunsets don't suck either.

So below, see a few of my favorite photos from Morro Bay, California (and the last couple from Cayucos, the small beach town a couple miles north).

Morro Bay Photo Essay