Morro Bay State Park is the perfect campground choice for those who want to spend a few days relaxing on the California coast. Here visitors have the opportunity to stay in quiet campsites just steps from the ocean and serene hiking trails.
With plenty of activities to keep you entertained, Morro Bay State Park should be on anyone’s radar looking for a fun camping getaway on the Central Coast! We especially love to visit Morro Bay in the winter to escape the cold as the weather in this part of California stays temperate year-round.
Read on for our full review of staying At Morro Bay State Park Campground in Morro Bay!
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Morro Bay State Park Campground Location
Morro Bay State Park campground is located just south of Morro Bay town, next to the Museum of Natural History and Bayside Cafe. Be sure not to confuse it with Morro Strand State Beach, another State Park in Morro Bay that’s located north of the town.
To reach Morro Bay State Park campground, you can take Highway 1, turn off on S Bay Blvd, turn right onto Park View Road, and take the Main Street road all the way to the campground.
It can be a bit hard to spot the campground entrance at night, so we recommend setting directions on your phone ahead of time. Once you reach the entrance booth, you will need to check in and get a parking slip for the windshield.
If you need to stock up on camping supplies, we like to stop by Albertson’s in Morro Bay for food, water, and other camping necessities. This grocery store is just a few minutes from the campground and is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Campground Location: Main St, Morro Bay, CA 93442
About Morro Bay State Park Campground
Morro Bay State Park offers 134 campsites that are designed to accommodate a variety of different camping setups including RVs, campervans, tents, bikers, and hikers.
The Morro Bay State Park campsites cost:
- $35 for regular sites
- $50 for RV sites with electric hookups
- $10 for walk-in hike/ bike campsites
- $165 for group sites
We stayed at one of the dry sites in our Promaster campervan, but other campsites come with RV hookups including electric and water. Keep in mind that if you have a trailer, the maximum vehicle length allowed at the campground is 35 feet.
The campsites are spacious and can accommodate two vehicles, but if you plan to bring a second car, additional vehicles cost $10/night.
The campsites are located pretty close to each other, but there is some vegetation and trees for separation and privacy. Some of the campsites are more hidden in between eucalyptus trees while others are more open.
There is an $8-day use fee for those who plan to visit friends or family staying at the campground. If you have a larger group, you can hang out in the common picnic area during the day.
Many people visit Morro Bay State Park for hiking opportunities. The campground borders Black Hill along the property where you can go on serene hikes in a forest or climb up to a lookout point of Morro Bay.
Morro Bay State Park Campground does allow dogs (on leash) so we brought our pup along. In general, Morro Bay is very dog friendly and dogs are allowed on many of the hiking trails, restaurant patios, and there is even a special dog beach in Morro Bay just a 10-minute drive north of the campground.
There are multiple bathroom and shower facilities throughout the campground and you’re never too far away from a restroom, no matter which campsite you end up staying at.
If you have an RV and need to use the dump station, the dump fee is $10.
You May Also Like: 15 Best Places To Go Camping On Central California Coast
Things To Do At Morro Bay State Park Campground
For those who enjoy hiking, Morro Bay State Park offers a variety of trails for different fitness and difficulty levels. One of the best parts about staying at this campground is that you’re just steps away from trailheads and walking paths.
Here are a few popular trails to hike nearby:
Exercise Trail – an easy trail that starts next to the campground and leads to multiple stations with prompts for various exercises.
Black Hill Trail – a moderate 3-mile long hike that you can easily reach from the campground on foot. The hike starts off in a forest and then climbs up along a dramatic volcanic landscape to an overlook of Morro Bay and Morro Rock. On a previous visit to Morro Bay, we hiked the entire Black Hill Trail, and the views from the summit are simply stunning!
Morro Bay State Park Boardwalk – a short loop that starts by the marina and follows a flat boardwalk next to the bay. This is a great spot to go for a short walk, stretch your legs in the morning, and enjoy a bit of wildlife and bird watching.
This park is also situated next to the 18-hole Morro Bay Public Golf Course, mountain biking trails, and kayaking routes within the Morro Bay Estuary and the Morro Bay lagoon.
If you don’t have a personal kayak, you can rent a kayak or paddle board from A Kayak Shack that’s located in the marina next to the campground. A single kayak or paddle board rental costs $18 for the first hour and $9 for an additional hour. A double kayak costs a bit more starting at $26 for the first hour and then $13 for an additional hour.
From the campground, you can easily walk down to the marina where you can enjoy various water activities including boating, fishing, bird watching, and swimming just to name a few.
There is also a Museum of Natural History in the marina where you can learn more about this region’s history and Native American life or go for a walk in the Chumash Garden.
It’s safe to say that you won’t get bored on a camping trip to Morro Bay as there are plenty of activities to enjoy nearby! Or if you’d rather hang out at the campsite next to a fire pit with a book in hand – that’s a great way to spend the weekend too. The choice is yours!
Morro Bay State Park Campground Amenities
One of the best parts about going camping is making a firepit at the end of the day! If you forgot to pick up camping supplies – don’t worry. The campground sells firewood for $10 and fire starters for $1 that can be purchased from the campfire center between 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. in cash or by credit card.
Each of the campsites comes with fire rings, picnic tables for eating, and storage boxes for storing dry items. If you’re visiting with a larger group, there is a common area with picnic sites and family-style tables that offer excellent views of the surrounding mountains.
The one downside to staying at this campground was the outdated bathrooms. Most State Parks that we’ve stayed at in California have nice bathrooms, but these ones could use some upgrades.
The restrooms had flush toilets, but the sinks had no soap or hot water for washing hands.
For a couple of bucks, you have the option to get tokens for showering which we tried out. For $1 you can get 2 tokens which will give you a couple of minutes of running water per each token. We camped here in the winter so we were hoping for warm water, but after running it for a while, the water got lukewarm and I took a very quick shower just to rinse off.
Tip: Be sure to bring sandals for showering as there can be a lot of mud and sand on the ground.
Camping in camping. It’s supposed to be a ‘rough’ outdoor activity. But from reading through previous stays and comments, the outdated bathrooms are one of the most common topics brought up for this campground.
Morro Bay State Park Campground Reservations
Reservations for Morro Bay Campground can be easily made on Reserve California here! You can search reservations by park name ‘Morro Bay SP’, enter the arrival date, select the type of site you’re looking to book (tent camping, group campsites, hook-up camping, etc), and select ‘Show Results’. You can browse through all available sites and select the ones that best fit your needs.
Morro Bay State Park Campground typically stays open year-round, unless there are park closures due to poor weather, fires, or other Statewide reasons.
If you plan to go camping during the week, there are usually plenty of campsites available, especially in the winter. The weekends do tend to sell out so be sure to book the campsites ahead of time.
Campground check-in is at 2 p.m. and check-out time is noon.
Where To Eat In Morro Bay
One of the best parts about visiting the Central Coast of California is all the drool-worthy seafood that you can try out! Whenever we travel to Morro Bay, we like to check out new seafood spots in town.
Here are some of our favorite restaurants in Morro Bay:
Dorn’s Breakers Cafe
Dorn’s Breakers Cafe is one of our favorite brunch spots in town! This iconic Morro Bay restaurant is situated slightly uphill facing the ocean with picture-perfect views overlooking Morro Rock. On weekends they have a special weekend brunch menu that includes mimosas and Bloody Marys along with delicious Eggs Benedict plates!
Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant
If you’re looking for a place to eat with a view, head over to Tognazzini’s Dockside Restaurant. This restaurant is located on the Embarcadero boardwalk and offers an excellent view of Morro Rock from the patio. The clam chowder bread bowl, oysters, and grilled shrimp are a must-try!
Bayside Café is located in the marina, just a short walk from the campground. This is a great place to go get food if you don’t feel like cooking your own. They serve a mix of American and Mexican plates in a serene setting overlooking the water.
Things To Do In Morro Bay
Here are a few things that we recommend to see & do on a trip to Morro Bay:
Morro Bay T Pier
Whenever I visit Morro Bay, I always try to stop by the Morro Bay T Pier for some wildlife and bird watching. The Morro Bay Pier offers excellent views of the marina and is one of the best places for sea otter viewing in the town of Morro Bay.
At this pier, you can often spot adorable sea otters floating in the water with small babies on their stomachs. Truly, nothing is cuter than these little guys!
The biggest attraction of Morro Bay is Morro Rock. Morro Rock is a towering volcanic plug that can be best seen by walking down the Embarcadero or the beach.
Morro Rock is connected to the shoreline so you can walk or drive to the base of it and spend some time at Morro Rock Beach.
The Elfin Forest Natural Area is a beautiful hidden gem in Los Osos, just a short drive south of the campground. Situated next to the Morro Bay Estuary, Elfin Forest Natural Area consists of 90 acres of wilderness and hiking trails.
With a thriving bird population and many beautiful natural features, we love visiting the Elfin Forest for a leisurely afternoon walk and some bird watching. This nature preserve offers plenty to explore including hundreds of different plant species and various animals.
Coastal Access Monarch Butterfly Preserve
If you come to Morro Bay in the winter months, be sure to stop by the Coastal Access Monarch Butterfly Preserve to see clusters of Monarch Butterflies resting in the eucalyptus trees. In the spring Monarch Butterflies start migrating north so the best times to visit butterfly preserves are from December to February.
Morro Bay Dog Beach
If you have a pup, you’ll be glad to know that Morro Bay has its own designated doggie beach where they can run wild and free! We love to stop by the Morro Bay doggie beach before heading to the campground to tire our dog out so he sleeps for the rest of the night.
Read More: 16 Wonderful Things To Do In Morro Bay
What To Bring Camping On Central Coast
Here are a few things that we recommend to pack for a camping trip on the Central Coast:
- Helinox Chair Zero. Foldable chairs are great for eating, hanging out, or enjoying a campfire. We have a couple of foldable chairs that we can easily put together when we’re stopped at a campsite or store at the back of our van when we’re done.
- REI Camp Foldable Table. We have a small camping table that we can prop up for eating meals. This table has foldable legs that are easy to set up and are made of aluminum material that doesn’t rust.
- AeroPress Travel Coffee Press. Using an AeroPress is one of the easiest ways to make coffee while camping. We love this coffee press because it can fit into small storage spaces and it won’t break if you accidentally drop it.
- Travel Towel. A travel towel is great for camping because this type of towel is light and dries quickly which is perfect after swimming or showering. It’s also very compact and folds small into the included pouch – perfect for limited storage spaces.
- Packing Cubes. Staying organized while camping can be a challenge. These travel packing cubes not only keep everything nice & tidy but also help save a ton of space.
- Down Hoody. When traveling to the Central Coast, it’s always colder than expected. I have a lightweight jacket that I can easily bring in my daypack on hikes or to the beach.
- Headlamp. I don’t go on any camping trips without a headlamp. Having a headlamp is essential in case you need to find your way to the restroom at night.
We hope this guide has helped you prepare for a wonderful visit to Morro Bay State Park Campground! This campground offers one of the best places on the Central Coast to go disconnect from daily lives and enjoy a bit of time off the grid.
Morro Bay is one of those places that you can visit many, many times and not see it all. There are always new fun activities that keep bringing us back!
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