Destination: Morro Strand State Beach Park
California has a lot to offer an adventurous Airstream-er so places like the Central Coast often are overshadowed by the more glamorous Northern California spots (Napa, San Francisco) and Southern California locales (Los Angeles, San Diego). But we really enjoy the Central Coast because of it’s beauty and the fact that it’s usually less populated than other California coastal areas.
About 3 hours south of our San Jose Airstream garage off the 101 is the small town of Morro Bay, so named because of the large Morro Rock island that sits just off-shore. There are several RV parks to chose from in Morro Bay, but we went with Morro Strand State Beach Park because of it’s location right next to the beach. Unlike most state beach parks, Morro Strand has sites with full hook-ups (water, sewer, power), which makes it one of the best beach parks we’ve stayed at. To get to this one (and don’t mistake it with Morro Bay State Park), take the Yerba Buena Street entrance. And when leaving Morro Strand State Beach Park we recommend not going on Old Creek Road (if Google/Apple maps decides to route you that way) because it is an old, bumpy and twisty road.
We chose a standard (non hook-up) site since we were only there for a couple days and we wanted the primo spot where the beach access path comes right up to your front door. Also these premium dry-camping spots are a bit easier to reverse into since it’s just a matter of parallel parking your trailer (which is great for newbie Airstream renters). The standard sites also come with fire rings while the hook-up sites do not.
If you want to spend some quality time with a beautiful California beach, this state park is a must. There’s miles and miles of uninterrupted beach estate, which is great for beach jogs, fishing, and surfing. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the beach because it is also a bird sanctuary (but dogs are allowed within the beach park).
The picture below is a view of Morro Rock from the Morro Strand State Beach Park.
Another wonderful thing about Morro Bay, a small town with a still active fishing industry, is all the delicious fresh seafood available! There are a lot of great restaurants to choose from but one of our favorites was Giovanni’s Fish Market. They are known for their fish and chips served from their side window, which can get quite popular during peak times. Luckily we were there on a weekday and there was no wait (but if you’re looking at an hour+ wait I’m not sure the fish and chips are that worth it). Their fresh local oysters were also delicious! And one of the best parts was enjoying our meal while watching all the boats go in and out of the harbor and around Morro Rock.
If you don’t feel like waiting for food at the takeout window, still take the time to go inside their fish market where they sell fresh seafood along with in-house smoked fish, which was really delicious and affordable.
There’s also a lot of other highly rated seafood restaurants including The Galley Seafood Bar & Grill and Tognazzini’s Dockside Too. The town itself doesn’t have a lot of things to do, but there are places you can rent boats or kayaks.
Also if you are interested, Hearst Castle at San Simeon is only a 30 minute drive away. Since landslides on HWY 1 have blocked access to Hearst Castle from the north it is only accessible from the south (like Morro Bay). We didn’t have a chance to visit, though I have it on my agenda for next time.
So if you’re looking for a beautiful beach spot that’s an easy drive from San Jose, I can’t recommend Morro Strand State Beach Park enough. Morro Bay is a wonderful little beach/fishing town with a lot to offer!