Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. In our newest “Make a Day of It” feature, we aim to showcase some information Matt has been working through on his runcation planning to Morro Bay, California later this month.
My wife and I enjoy exploring new places together, and I especially love it when running and leisure can be combined into one memorable trip (she’s less excited about this). Our next mini-excursion will see us heading down to the Central California Coast to the little beach town of Morro Bay. Morro Bay is located right on the ocean near San Luis Obispo, and a good 3-4 hours from both San Francisco and Los Angeles. It is a fishing village with a ton of charm (named one of “The Best Little Beach Towns to Visit in Spring”), and has amenities that Oregon runners would enjoy. The city is steeped in local with fresh and local faire and has tons of opportunity to enjoy the outdoors – on land and sea.
Though Morro Bay has a local flavor to it, it seems to want to showcase their city as a destination for all outdoor enthusiasts. First and foremost, they have a wonderful boutique hotel experience, which takes waterfront travel to the next level. There are also great trails for running and so many activities tucked away that there seems to be something for anyone to enjoy. We can’t wait to reconnect a little with nature this summer.
First the running:
The Morro Bay Visitor’s Center has a whole section on their website dedicated to trail running and hiking – so you know it has to be good. They outline three main trails nearby:
Morro Bay is also an amazing place to run on the beach. You can actually run up to 6 miles one way from their famed Morro Rock to Cayucos Pier on nothing but sand. In fact, that’s exactly where the Brian Waterbury Memorial Rock to Pier Run and Rock’n Around the Pier Half Marathon takes place. This is the 50th year for the 6-miler and 8th for the half and is a true beach run! So much so, that there is a warning that runners will get wet and there is a 3-hour time limit due to the tide schedule!
I am really excited for this, and am registered for the half marathon – that’s about 12 of 13.1 miles on sand! Gonna be both tough and beautiful!
Where to stay:
There look to be a ton of newly renovated lodging options right along the beach, but we are going to check out 456 Embarcadero. This family-owned and operated boutique hotel is small (only 29 rooms) and should provide a nice calm and serene atmosphere. Each room has balconies offering vistas of Morro Bay Estuary, Morro Rock (the volcanic plug that towers above the town), and the ocean. It is the most southern property on the popular Embarcadero and the beach is literally just right there. All it takes to have your toes in the sand is walking out your door.
Continental breakfast is provided on site and there is also a state-of-the-art Jacuzzi that should offer some more relaxing – or perhaps recouping after a long run in the hills or along the beach. If you are traveling with dogs, they can also accommodate this request.
What to do:
Morro Bay seems like a place to both consider for a romantic getaway, but maybe more importantly – a destination for people that love to explore outdoors. That sums up the Pacific NW to a T. The vibe seems to be more laid back and casual than the bustling metropolis’ California is know for, and the town is rooted in outdoor activities. I already mentioned the hiking and running opportunities above, but there are also places to get in a round of 18, go whale watching, or charter a fishing boat. There are also locations to rent bikes, surfboards, SUP’s and kayaks. The water looks especially beautiful.
There are a variety of spots for wine and beer (I personally can’t wait to visit Three Stacks and Rock Brewery), coffee shops, and a specialty of local seafood spots. For a city I hadn’t known about until some research a few months ago, I can’t wait to get there and check things out!