Comb the beaches

January 8, 2007 

Six miles of sandy beach stretch north from Morro Rock all the way to Cayucos, providing room to roam, space to stake out a spot for the day and wide spans to windsurf.

Morro Stand State Beach’s wind-swept shore is ideal for surf fishing, and surfers stoke on the break just north of the rock. There’s primitive camping (no water or RV hook-ups or shower facilities), sold by reservation from Memorial to Labor Day and first-come, first-served the rest of the year. Reservations can be made by calling 800-444-7275 or going online to www.reserveamerica.com. A reservation fee of $7.50 is added to the campground fee of $35. Dogs are allowed on the campgrounds but not on the beach, which is a habitat for the protected snowy plover. Park in the dirt lot by Morro Rock or take Highway 1 to Atascadero Road or to Yerba Buena to get to the campground. Get to the beach from the dirt lot at the Rock or from Highway 1 at Atascadero Road, San Jacinto Street or Yerba Buena Street.

Morro Bay’s other "beach" is the four-mile long sandspit that divides the bay from the ocean. Covered in dunes, scrub and Chumash Indian shell mounds, the sandspit is popular with horseback riders and surfers. It’s also a popular spot for kayakers to stop and explore. If you’re coming by land, access is from the free Montaña de Oro State Park. Take South Bay Boulevard to Los Osos Valley Road, turn right and follow as it turns into Pecho Valley Road and into the park. Turn right on Sandspit Road to park. The park also offer some of the best bluff-top and peak hiking in the area, as well as beaches, camping and mountain biking.

Or head just a bit north to Cayucos, often called one of California’s last remaining classic beach towns. The tiny historic town hovers over the beach and long fishing pier, making it a relaxing and convenient place to spend a day. Catch some waves on a body board in the morning, walk up to the boardwalk for lunch, poke around some tidepools in the afternoon and fish from the lighted pier at night (no license required). Cayucos State Beach has lifeguards on duty in the summer, as well as picnic tables, restrooms and outdoor showers.

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