Of all the places to see in Morro Bay, anywhere that allows you to explore the natural wonder of California's Central Coast should be at the top of your to-do list. With various state and local parks, water excursions, and hiking trails, there are many ways to see the area's splendor. One such place that allows you to get a glimpse of the variety of local wildlife is at Estero Bluffs State Park, located north of Cayucos.
The park's history dates back 10,000 years when Native Americans dwelled in the area. It was a prime location for their settlement, as there were plenty of opportunities for food by fishing in the ocean.
In the 1700s, the Portola Expedition traveled through the area, which led to the formation of the California Missions. This effort established the nearby towns of San Miguel, Jolon, and San Luis Obispo.
Once Mexico declared independence from Spain in 1821, the California Mission properties were sold and granted to private citizens. One of these land grants was an almost 9,000-acre property area known as Rancho San Gerònimo. Much of this area is part of the state park today.
A dairy farmer later owned the property, and remnants of these tenants are seen in the park by visiting a restored windmill. In the 1960s, there were plans to develop the area into a resort and residential properties, but residents petitioned for the land to be conserved. The land became California state property in 2002. Today, the park is four miles of pristine Central California coastline.
Things to do
The Estero Bluffs trail is a four-mile trail that runs along the coastline throughout the park, offering beautiful views during a walk or run. There are short jet-off trails that run east to west and connect the path to Highway 1. Sightseeing is the park's main attraction, as you can see gorgeous views of Morro Rock, local wildlife, and native plant species. The trail is pretty flat and wide, so it's easy for hikers and casual strollers of all types.
There is a beach near the San Geronimo Creek, which offers a fantastic place to view tidepools. From the trail, climb down the bluffs to the beach and you will see exposed coastal rocks, which are home to mussels, barnacles, limpets, snails, hermit crabs, and sea anemones.
Visitors are in for a treat if visiting between December and March every year. This time of year is whale migration season, and Estero Bluffs State Park provides an excellent place to go whale watching.
Getting to the park
Short, east to west trails connect the Estero Bluffs trail with Highway 1, which is also the most convenient way to find parking to enter the park. There are several parking lots along Highway 1 north of Cayucos, which take you to the bluffs overlooking Estero Bay. The northernmost lot connects with a trail that leads to a large beach, where Villa Creek meets the ocean. Drive north on Highway 1 after leaving Cayucos and look for parking about four miles out of town.
Explore Morro Bay and beyond
Estero Bluffs State Park is only a 30-minute drive from The Blue Sail Inn in Morro Bay. Spend a day at the state park and explore everything the coast has to offer, then come back to your comfy room and relax from a day of adventures. We are located in the heart of Morro Bay, steps away from the downtown area, so you're close to everything when you book a room at the Blue Sail Inn!