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Morro Bay State Park - Site # 141
Morro Bay State Park's most prominent landmark is Morro Rock - one of a series of volcano plugs known as the "Nine Sisters". On the bay’s eastern edge is a pristine saltwater marsh that supports a thriving bird population.
RegionalRegional - worth visiting if you are already in the area. They may be located farther from populated areas or with more limited wildlife species.

Early morning grooming along Morro Bay.: 1024x680 Morning rest on Morro Bay: 640x425 : 640x425 : 640x425

Background: This rich estuary includes creek-side wetlands, salt marsh sloughs, open water, eel grass beds, and Morro Rock, a reserve for endangered peregrine falcons. The park museum offers views of thousands of migratory loons, buffleheads, wigeons, and northern pintails, resident cormorants, American white pelicans, and brown pelicans are mixed amoung the group. More than 10,000 wintering brant feed in the eel grass, a haven for fish such as halibut and jacksmelt. Harbor seals, sea lions, and southern sea otters appear along the bay. Gulls and terns circle over mudflats with legions of sanderlings, willets, and other shorebirds. Watch for great blue herons, great egrets, and black-crowned night herons at the nature preserve; nesting herons share nearby eucalyptus trees with monarch butterflies, hummingbirds, and even red-shouldered hawks.
The park incorporates interpretive displays, hiking trails, and the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History to enhance the visitors' overall park experience.

The Habitat: Morro Bay State Park is located on the shore of Morro Bay and looks out over the waters of the bay and beyond to the wind-sculptured sand-dunes along the ocean. Morro Rock is a visible landmark which was used for centuries by mariners traveling up and down the coast.

The Experience: The park includes camping, picnic areas, a museum, a small boat harbor, guided hikes and lectures, and one of the most significant estuaries on the West Coast. It is a marine wildlife sanctuary with otters, seals and shorebirds. You can drive to the base of Morro Rock and walk on 6 miles of natural beach.

Morro Bay State Park features lagoon and natural bay habitat. The bay’s most prominent landmark is Morro Rock. The park has opportunities for sailing, fishing, hiking, and bird watching. The park museum has exhibits that cover natural features and cultural history, Native American life, geology, and oceanography. The park also has a colorful marina and an 18-hole public golf course. On the bay’s eastern edge is a pristine saltwater marsh that supports a thriving bird population.

Wildlife and Where to Find It: Trails with various levels of difficulty, car, overlooks, boats, kayak or stand-up paddle board.

Morro Estuary Natural Preserve and 800-acre wetland is home to 250 bird species. There is a heron rookery (Great Blue Heron, Great and Snowy Egret, Black-crowned Night Heron, Double-Crested Cormorant) in the eucalyptus trees. A sampling of other birds include Red-tailed Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Grebe (Pied-billed, Horned, Red-necked, Eared, and Western), Loons (Red-throated, Pacific, and Common), Western Kingfisher, Brown and White Pelican, Western Gull, Heerman Gull, Brant Geese, Mallard, Surf Scoter, Osprey, other Cormorants (Brandt, Pelagic), White-tailed Kite, Golden Eagle, American Kestrel, Lesser and Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, Peregrine Falcon, Prairie Falcon, Great-horned Owl, Barn Owl, and various Phoebe, Woodpecker, Flicker, Jay, Crow, Swallow, Sparrow, Blackbird, etc.

(At the 2012 Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival, 217 species were counted.)

Other wildlife in the park includes Deer, turkeys, raccoons, sea otters, seals, Monarch Butterflies.

Viewing Tips: More than 400 bird species in San Luis Obispo County. Waterfowl and songbirds are seen year-round; best viewed in winter. High probability of seeing shorebirds from fall through spring; marine birds and wading birds year-round. Herons nest from January to July. Look for marine mammals, deer, and small mammals year-round. Excellent car and boat viewing, many trails.

Site Notes: Bring your binoculars and camera, as wildlife and birds can be found throughout the park.

Morro Bay State Park now offers AT&T Wi-Fi Service. Kayak rentals are available at the marina or on the Embarcadero near shopping area. There are picnic areas, hiking and nature trails. Black Hill and Cerro Cabrillo, two of the Nine Sister Peaks, offers a fantastic view of the entire bay.

Nearby Viewing Sites: Montana de Oro State Park, Morro Rock Natural Preserve, Elfin Forest in Los Osos, and Los Osos Oaks State Park

Festivals & Events: Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival
Kite Festival
Car Show
Art in the Park, Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends

Avocado & Margarita Festival in September
Harbor Festival in October
Oyster Festival in October
Lighted Boat Parade in December

Visitor Information: Discover Morro Bay - (805) 225-7411 - www.morrobay.org
Viewing Site Hours of Operation are:
Staff On-site: Yes
Open: Everday
Hours: Contact Park
Year Round: Yes

Road Information:   Paved.  Gravel.  Dirt. 
 Roads available year-round.
Road Hazards: No
 Number of Parking Spaces: 0
Parking Fee: Yes
Proximity to viewing area:Throughout the park.
 Pull-Through Parking: Yes
Parking Notes: Parking availability varies throughout the park and includes turnouts throughout the park. There is a paved, free parking lot at the marina and at the Museum of Natural History.

Special Tips: Museum of Natural History: (Telephone: (805) 772-2694) A visit to the Central Coast of California is not complete without a stop at the Museum of Natural History in Morro Bay State Park. The museum offers activities for all ages: nature walks, exhibits, lectures, puppet shows, videos, docent-led tours and special events.

Visit the native plant garden along the side of the museum and learn how Native Americans used native plants of this area in their daily lives.

The Museum of Natural History is within minutes of the Heron Rookery, Morro Bay State Park, Montaña de Oro State Park, the El Moro Elfin Forest and Audubon's Sweet Springs Nature Preserve. The museum overlooks Morro Bay which is both a State and National Estuary.

How to Get There: From San Luis Obispo on Highway 1, take Highway 1 north to Los Osos/Baywood Park exit. Turn left on South Bay Boulevard, following signs to park.

Contact Information
Managing Agency: California State Parks
Agency Site URL: www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=594
Physical Address:Morro Bay State Park Road
Morro Bay, CA 93442
Agency 2:750 Hearst Castle Road
San Simeon, CA 93452
Manager Phone:(805) 927-2065
Site Phone:(805) 772-7434
County: San Luis Obispo
Addition Website:  See campground map at: http://www.slostateparks.com/pdf/MB_Map.p