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Seeing Marine Animals in Morro Bay

A Sea Lion on the Shore - Seeing Marine Animals in Morro Bay
Jenn Tolson
Jenn Tolson
June 26, 2020

Morro Bay, California, sits right on the water and puts you close to the Pacific Ocean as soon as you arrive. While you can go surfing or take a snorkeling trip, you may want to spend some time playing in the water and enjoying the beaches too. Not only can you get up close to marine animals when you visit the beach, but you'll find other ways and places to see those animals. Whether you love whales and other huge creatures or adorable and cuddly otters, seeing marine animals in Morro Bay is easy.

Otter in the water


Otters are so cute and cuddly that no one could blame you for wanting to play with one. They love floating on their backs and hold hands with their loved ones. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the best places to see otters and offers more than 30 other marine animals that you might see on your trip. If you visit The Great American Fish Company, head to the back of the building and look for the T-dock. Visitors often spot otters frolicking around the dock.

Sea Lions‍

Morro Bay launched a program to help California sea lions and keep them safe. They have a floating dock where they can both play and sleep, which keeps them away from the heavy traffic on the water and the large boats driving through. When you stand on the beach, you can see the sleepy lions climbing onto the dock for a nap. You won't see any sea lions in the summer as the adults leave for the season.

Closeup of a seal


Many people confuse seals and sea lions because they look so similar. Though they have the same body type and size, seals have open ears, and sea lions have flaps that protect their ears. The Morro Bay National Estuary Program keeps those wild animals safe. You'll often see seals slipping and sliding as well as sleeping on the large rocks just off the coast.


More than one billion birds pass by Morro Bay every year as they fly south for the winter. Those interested in seeing birds, and other marine animals in Morro Bay should visit during the winter months. This is when the birds stop in Morro Bay on their journey south for some rest and relaxation. Shorebirds are very common as more than 20,000 of these birds stop in the area. You might see long-billed curlews and other birds too in Morro Bay State Park and the different regions.

Whale jumping out of the water


Seeing marine animals in Morro Bay, such as whales, is easy because Morro Bay has charter companies that offer whale watching excursions. Both Morro Bay Whale Watching and Sub Sea Tours can help you arrange a tour with as many people as you want. You might pick a half-day tour that runs until the late afternoon or one that lets you spend the whole day looking for whales. No matter what type of marine animals you love, Morro Bay offers tons of opportunities to see those animals in their natural habitats.

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