Morro Bay State Beach
Narrated by Russ Christoff
Morro Bay offers all kinds of recreational and educational activities.
In the center of the action, are 135 campsites nestled in a pine and eucalyptus forest.
These sites are at a premium most of the year, and reservations are a must if you plan to stay.
What makes the camping at this state park so popular is its proximity to recreational opportunities.
Just steps away in one direction, are trails along an extensive marsh area, which is considered to be the largest least disturbed salt water marsh on the California coastline.
In all, over 250 species of birds have been recorded in the Morro Bay area.
In another direction is the Morro Bay State Park marina, which offers public mooring, boat and kayak rentals.
A quaint café is located conveniently on the property and overlooks the marina.
Bordering the campground to the north, I discovered a historic 18-hole golf course built in the 1930’s and one of only three golf courses in the State Park system.
This beautiful course has views of the estuary and Morro Rock.
A stop at the museum of natural history is a must.
Perched on a bluff over the marina, this building houses some outstanding exhibits.
There was even a display of old photographs depicting the museum’s scenic artists at work.
As we overlooked the estuary from the museum balcony, I talked with a ranger, Diane, about what people will see inside.
Diane, we are at the museum of natural history. I’ve heard that this is the only one in any state park. Is that true?
RANGER DIANE: It’s true! We’re unique. It’s the only facility that was built specifically to talk about natural history in the state park’s system.
There are other museums, other historic homes and things like that, but this is the only one that was built specifically for natural history.
They can come here before they go out and visit the parks, or they can come here when they are done.
They’ll learn about tide pools, they’ll learn about the local birds, they’ll learn about geology or some of the cultural history of the area.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: Is Morro Rock part of the state park?
RANGER DIANE: Yes it is! It is its own separate entity. It is part of our park district here but it’s a natural preserve.
It’s a nesting area for the endangered Peregrine Falcon, so you can’t climb the rock anymore.
Old timers that live here still in Morro Bay talk about the days they use to climb up to the top of the rock, and I’ve been up there a few times myself and it is a wonderful view.
RUSS CHRISTOFF: Diane, what is the miracle of Morro Bay State Park?
RANGER DIANE: Have you got an hour? (Laughter from Diane and Russ)
I think I would have to say, it’s the resource that makes up the bay itself.
It’s a unique place because it’s managed by a lot of different entities, governmental, private, and public, in fact, Morro Bay is now one of three national estuaries in California.
So that is quite a distinction, it was the first state estuary and the third national estuary in California.
So that to us says that it’s a special place, and worth preserving, and we all need to take very good care of it.