Posts tagged with "horseback riding"

Western River Expeditions

Some of the best whitewater in North America froths deep within the canyons of Arizona and Utah on the Colorado and Green Rivers. People hopeful of river rafting here in the 2018 season are advised that the Grand Canyon portion of the river is nearly sold out for the season with space beginning to fill for 2019 trips as well.

However, comparable adventure options on the water and on land are still available if you follow the Colorado River north into Utah.

When active travelers seek experiences similar to the Grand Canyon that also combine spectacular scenery with wild white water, veteran tour operator Western River Expeditions suggests that a Cataract Canyon raft trip is as rewarding and remarkable in its own way.

“Utah’s Cataract Canyon, deep within Canyonlands National Park, is near enough in scale, appearance and proximity to Grand Canyon that it works the same kind of magic found in the Grand herself. Just one canyon upstream, above Lake Powell on the Colorado River System is hands down the best alternative to a Grand Canyon rafting vacation,” said Brandon Lake, CMO of Western River Expeditions.

Cataract Canyon begins downstream from Moab, UT at the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers. Expanded in size and now fortified by the waters of the Green, the Colorado River carves a deep chasm through the red rock heart of Canyonlands National Park. During spring runoff, the ride can rival the most legendary whitewater anywhere in the world. The remainder of the year river rafters are treated to fun Class III-IV rapids interspersed with calm stretches ideal for a swim under spellbinding canyon walls and geologic formations. Ample time is allotted for side canyon hikes and exploration of ancient Native American sites. The adventure ends with a scenic flight over Canyonlands on the return to Moab’s Canyonlands Field Airport.

Western’s Cataract Canyon 4-day trip offers departures in May, June, July and August. A per person double rate for adults (ages 16+) is $1,520; and $1,130 for ages 10-15. The rate includes equipment and guides for rafting, hiking and camping, plus guide-prepared meals, transfers from Moab to the river and the return scenic flight over Canyonlands National Park and shuttle to Moab. A two-day program on this stretch of the river is also offered in May, June and July. See Western’s Cataract Canyon Express, https://www.westernriver.com/cataract-canyon-express.

Also on the Colorado River north of the Grand Canyon Western River Expeditions offers a four-day Westwater Canyon Rafting & Multisport Adventure combining rafting on Class III-V whitewater plus a Hummer Safari off-road adventure. Guests return evenings to Red Cliffs Lodge on the banks of the Colorado River for overnights and breakfasts. Westwater Canyon was named “The West’s Best Short Whitewater Trip” by National Geographic. This program is available June through September at $695 per adult (age 13+) and $670 for age 12 (minimum required).

Full and half-day rafting programs on the Colorado River out of Moab are also available from Western’s affiliate, the Moab Adventure Center. See: https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/moab-river-rafting

Looking further north on the Utah’s Green River, families will discover five days of rafting through Desolation Canyon featuring 60 playful rapids and captivating off-river hiking.  After a spectacular scenic flight from Moab to a dramatic desert plateau, the adventure begins through 40 million years of geological time. Think outlaw hideouts, ancient dinosaur habitats and Fremont Native American petroglyphs. The minimum age for this trip is 5, making it ideal for young families. The rate for adults (16+) is $1,645 and $1,025 for ages 5-15. Departures are May through August. See: https://www.westernriver.com/desolation-canyon.

Western’s vacation consultants also suggest adding extra time in the area to explore the many national and state parks nearby. Guided adventures out of Moab, Utah, the undisputed adventure capital of the West encompass activities like rappelling, canyoneering, biking, hiking, flightseeing, and four-wheeling the surrounding landscape. For ideas and details see https://www.moabadventurecenter.com/. Some popular ideas:

• Tour Arches National Park

• Air Tours of Arches, Canyonlands and Monument Valley

• Hot Air Ballooning

• 4×4 Hummer Safari overlooking the Colorado River

• Stand Up Paddleboarding on the Colorado River

• Zipline, Canyoneering and Rock Climbing

• Mountain Biking, Horseback Riding, Jeep Rentals

• Day rafting trips in Castle Valley or Westwater Canyon

For a copy of Western River Expeditions’ 2018 catalog, and for questions, availability and reservations call toll-free: 866.904.1160 (Local: 801.942.6669) or visit the interactive website at: http://www.westernriver.com/.

About Western River Expeditions

Western River Expeditions is an adventure travel company headquartered in Salt Lake City, with operations and offices in Moab, Utah and Fredonia, Arizona. Annually from March through October it escorts more people down rivers on professionally guided rafting trips in Utah, Idaho and Arizona than any other company. It is the largest licensed outfitter in the Grand Canyon and the largest single tour provider in Moab, UT, through its division Moab Adventure Center (http://www.moabadventurecenter.com/).

Western River Expeditions, providing Grand Canyon rafting, Utah and Idaho rafting, and international multi-sport trips, was founded in 1961 by Colorado River rafting pioneer Jack Currey. It has been named one of the “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” by the editors of National Geographic Adventure magazine. The company is the proud recipient of the “Best of State” award through Utah’s Premier Recognition and Awards Program for twelve consecutive years.

Austin Adventures Explores Heart of the Wyoming-Montana Rockies On a New Three National Park Adventure

An expert in national park multisport adventure has just launched a new way to experience three iconic Rocky Mountain destinations in one immersive journey. Over eight active days this summer guests will go hiking, rafting and horseback riding through Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks while recharging each night at distinctive lodges.

Austin Adventures’ new-for-2018 Wyoming Rockies Adventure collects guests in Jackson, WY, where the week-long expedition begins. There’s time to explore this Wild West town before settling into the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa located on seven lush acres adjacent to the National Elk Refuge and just a few blocks from Jackson’s lively town square. Welcome to the heart of the Rockies.

These mountains, constituting the spine of North America, rise thousands of feet out of the prairie, dividing the continent and providing some of the most dramatic and geologically diverse landscapes in the world. Those who have chosen to make their lives here are, among others, the guides, wait staff and innkeepers who interact with guests, sharing their understanding of this landscape while passing on love and lore.

“Our mantra is to engage as many senses as possible on an Austin Adventure,” says Dan Austin, founder and visionary director

(https://www.austinadventures.com/). To this end guests will…

Hike up to seven miles on easy to moderately strenuous terrain, ever alert for grizzly bears, bison, wolves, coyotes, elk, pronghorns – and wildflowers;

Horseback ride into the Bridger Teton National Forest, climbing 2,000 vertical feet to overlook Snake River Canyon;

Whitewater raft on class II-III rapids through Wyoming’s Snake River Canyon;

• Glide down zip lines under towering limestone cliffs, and come face-to-face with mountain goats grazing on mountainsides of wildflowers;

Swim and soak in an oversized Olympic pool fed by a virtually unlimited supply of 155-degree natural hot spring water;

Gaze 1,000 feet down into the V-shaped gorge of the color-splashed walls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone River.

Learn the geological differences between three magnificently dissimilar national parks all within a geographically small area;

Investigate Yellowstone’s four geothermal features: spouting geysers, steaming hot springs, hissing fumaroles and bubbling mud pots.

Excursions from Jackson Hole will first introduce guests to the wonders of the Grand Tetons. Then moving into Yellowstone territory, guests are guided to views of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone on a backcountry hike that favors moose and elk sightings over the distant din of summer crowds. Arriving at Canyon Lodge there’s the opportunity to step back from technology and embrace lodging in the country’s oldest national park while chatting fireside with new-round friends. Departing the park at the West Gate, a 110-year-old Montana homestead, 320 Guest Ranch, offers cowboy comfort along the Gallatin River that winds through sage and towering pines. The movie A River Runs Through It was filmed nearby.

The scenic drive north to Glacier National Park is interspersed by a stop at the famous pools of Fairmont Hot Springs Resort. Guests spend a night here before heading to Whitefish, Montana, and two nights at the Grouse Mountain Lodge, one of the region’s finest. A day is spent exploring Glacier Park with a hike along the Highline Trail (also known as the Garden Wall) to Haystack Butte and back. A drive along the famed Going to the Sun Road reveals an alpine environment that wows with its wildflowers, precipitous peaks and an occasional mountain goat or bighorn sheep. A final gondola ride up Whitefish Mountain to soak in the breathtaking views precedes a transfer back to the Kalispell airport for the inevitable return home.

The per person double rate is $3,998 ($80 single supplement). Departures in 2018 are July 15 and July 25. The rate includes accommodations; all meals (except one on-own dinner); fully trained, first-aid-certified professional guides and knowledgeable local partners; all necessary equipment for scheduled activities; vehicle support and land transportation during the trip; Austin Adventures T-shirt, water bottle, luggage tags and luggage service; pre-departure and packing information; and incidental expenses such as taxes, dining and housekeeping gratuities, local partner and expert gratuities and national park entrance and permit fees.

For details see https://www.austinadventures.com/packages/montana-wyoming-rockies-adventure/.  A recent blog about the sights seen on this adventure can be found at https://www.austinadventures.com/travel-resources/best-of-the-west/

To help plan the next great journey, Austin Adventures’ 2018 catalog is available upon request. Please order ONLINE or call 1.800.575.1540 or email info@austinadventures.com. For a full roster of 2018 trips that is frequently updated beyond the print catalog please visit http://www.austinadventures.com.

About Austin Adventures

Based in Billings, Montana, Austin Adventures has spent more than 40 years building an international reputation as a top provider of luxury, small group, multisport tours for adults and families to the world’s most captivating destinations. Acknowledged twice by Travel + Leisure Magazine with the prestigious World’s Best Awards along with other national media accolades and distinctions. Austin Adventures has perfected the art of creating itineraries featuring exceptional regional dining, distinctive accommodations, incredible guides and exhilarating activities, all while keeping all-inclusive rates and services the norm. In addition to scheduled group departures on all seven continents, Austin Adventures has developed a reputation as the leader in customized trip planning and execution. All backed by the industry’s best money-back satisfaction guarantee.

Travel Ireland 

For 2018 – Cliffs and Castles, Food and Fiddles

Permeate Newly Crafted Itineraries 
For Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland

 
Inquisitive adventure travelers would be wise to put Ireland on their tour map for 2018. Vagabond Adventure Tours, Ireland’s award-winning tour operator serving fit and active travelers, and its complementary division, Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that emphasizes unique scenery, culture and history at a more relaxed pace, have added new tours and itinerary embellishments for the coming year.
 
“From the addition of unique accommodations to totally brand-new tours, 2018 is shaping up to be our most exciting new year!” says Amy Rankin, co-founder and director of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland (https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/).
 
New from Driftwood Journeys of Discovery
 
With multiple departures scheduled for May into September 2018, Vagabond’s Driftwood Journeys of Discovery is launching a new leisurely paced 7 Day Kerry UnCorked Tour through Ireland’s southwest including two nights in Ireland’s foodie capital, Kinsale, where guests savor sea food, visit craft breweries and enjoy whiskey tasting in a local pub. Another stop with plenty of time allotted for exploring is Dingle where galleries and pubs (54 at last count) abound. The itinerary embraces visits to ancient ruins and lunar landscapes, planting a kiss on the Blarney Stone, watching the centuries-bred instincts of working sheep dogs, strolling through stately homes and gardens, being spell-bound by the green fields and stone walls of Dingle and Ireland’s wild and rugged Atlantic coastline where near the Cliffs of Moher in the Burren original Irish music still emanates. The gateway city is Dublin. The per person double rate is €1,699 (€300 single supplement). For more details see: https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/cultural-ireland-tour-7-day/.
 
Driftwood Journeys of Discovery’s 6 Day Northern Island Tour lavishes guests inclined to leisurely paced culture with castles and manor house estates on whose walls is written much of Northern Island’s resiliency. Appetites for grandeur are whetted on Day 1 at two Palladian-style estates, Castletown House on 550 acres maintained by the Guinness fortune, and Strokestown Park and The Irish National Famine Museum. Sweet dreams this night are within the confines of Markee Castle Hotel. After extensive renovation to become an accommodation, as of 2017 this family-owned castle-hotel is the fourth member of Romantic Castles of Ireland and a new addition to this itinerary. Guests also get tweedy in Donegal, home of the famous weave and Donegal Castle and they’re imbued in clan lore at Dunluce Castle, the McDonald stronghold. One night they sleep with ghosts in 17th century Ballygally Castle. Another recent addition to this tour is a night at a Victorian red brick masterpiece right on the beach, Slieve Donard Resort and Spa. Over six days guests enjoy jaw-dropping vistas atop Atlantic Ocean cliffs; the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Giant’s Causeway; Celtic myths and monasteries; walks on the beach along the Wild Atlantic Way; fiddle-filled pubs, tours of cultural hubs and more. The gateway city is Dublin. Scheduled departures run from April through October. The rate per person double is €1,509 (single supplement €210). For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/6-day-northern-ireland-tour/.
 
New from Vagabond Adventure Tours
 
Vagabond Adventure Tours offers a new-for-2018 itinerary, 7 Day Magnetic North Adventure Tour, that embraces the complex history of Northern Ireland and the north-west counties of Donegal, Leitrim, Sligo and Mayo. The journey follows inland and sea-kissed routes where guests hike, horseback ride, bike and kayak. This seven-day tour’s magic includes:

  • castles watching over world-class gardens
  • the flora and fauna of national parks, moorlands and glens
  • villages where weavers still ply their trade
  • morning walks on Ireland’s holiest mountain
  • bike rides along the famous Western Greenway
  • museum visits
  • kayak outings on sea and river
  • playing a prehistoric sport, hurling
  • wondering at ancient Neolithic stone circles and Celtic ring forts

 
The gateway is Dublin. The rate per person double is €1,619 (€220 single supplement). Weekly departures are scheduled from late April through September, 2018. For details see https://vagabondtoursofireland.com/tour/7-day-magnetic-north-northern-ireland-adventure-tour/.
 
Also beginning in 2018, all tours that include Galway will linger a bit longer here giving guests at least two hours for exploring and shopping in this bustling city. From Eyre Square, a walk down Shop Street is a must. Onlookers are treated to entertainment from buskers as well as countless small cafes and shops, including the shop famous for Claddagh rings that promise love, loyalty and friendship. Not far from Spanish Arch is the impressive Galway Cathedral, which is home to interesting art and design. The Vagabond Adventure Tours inclusive of Galway include 7, 8, 11 and 12-day programs.
 
On all its tours, the Vagabond staff will curate locally owned accommodations, pubs and restaurants that help serve their goal of authenticity. In the end the mission is to have guests “love Ireland as much as we do.” Transport is in a custom 4×4 Land Rover or Mercedes ‘Vagatron’ that allows access beyond where regular tour buses go.
 
About Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland
Since 2002 Vagabond Adventure Tours has been creating opportunities for visitors to embrace Ireland by walking, biking, horseback riding and kayaking its lands and waters, imbibing history and culture along the way. In 2013 the company was honored by National Geographic Traveler with a Top 50 Tour of a Lifetime distinction. In 2015 and 2017 Vagabond Small Group Tours of Ireland was named a “Best Adventure Experience” at the Irish Tourism Awards. And in 2016, Vagabond became Ireland’s first tour operator to achieve Ecotourism Gold Level Certification. 
 
In 2013 the company launched Driftwood Journeys of Discovery that explores in a less strenuous manner many of the same routes of Vagabond Adventure Tours. Itineraries in both divisions focus on high yield, low impact tourism which means that local economies benefit from the company’s and guest’s contributions to local, rural Irish economies (including accommodations, meals, nightlife, attractions and shopping). For details on all of Vagabond Small-Group Tours of Ireland itineraries, availability and for 2018 reservations, please visit www.vagabondtours.com. Call toll free (from the US) 833-230-0288; in Ireland 00353 (0) 1 5634358; or email info@vagabond and info@driftwood.

MORRO BAY

This seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures on the coast in a gorgeous natural setting. Located along the Central California Coastline on California’s scenic Highway 1, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers an unspoiled slice of California. Sitting pretty between the beach and the harbor is the most recognizable landmark – Morro Rock. This amazing landmark welcomes travelers as they approach the city from miles away and is unforgettable. 

An ideal playground offering beaches, natural estuaries, kayaking, surfing, biking and hiking, fishing, golf and whale and bird watching, Morro Bay is an affordable destination for families, couples or groups. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions and breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town.


Sustainable Fishing in Morro Bay

The city of Morro Bay started out as a small commercial fishing village in the 1950s, and grew to be a tourism destination built on living an active healthy lifestyle. Today, Morro Bay is home to a thriving fishing community, successfully leading the way in sustainable small fleet fishing practices nationwide. Major publications like the New York Times and National Geographic noticed and wrote about the quaint town’s sustainable fishing practices in 2014. Leading the way in Morro Bay’s sustainable fishing practices is oyster farming. It actually began in the early 1900s and has been a part of the town’s rich culture ever since. The cold, clean waters of Morro Bay produce two specific kinds. Pacific Gold Oysters are farmed by the Morro Bay Oyster Company, and are a beautiful, hardy species that develop a robust flavor with a hint of melon. This impressive 130-acre oyster marine farm can be seen by paddleboard, kayak or from a guided tour with Lost Isle Adventure Tours. Grassy Bar Oysters are becoming a popular oyster grown and harvested in Morro Bay, exclusively raised by the Grassy Bar Oyster Company. These oysters are medium sized and have plump and juicy meats with rich, briny watermelon flavor.


Outdoor Adventures

Whether your adventurous spirit is extreme or serene, you will discover amazing outdoor activities in Morro Bay. For the adventurer looking for something exciting, sign up for a deep sea sport fishing expedition to catch the big one from one of the many charter boat companies that line the bay. Catch salmon, rockfish, lingcod, albacore or whatever is biting on daily fishing trips from Virg’s Landing Sport Fishing. They provide live bait in season and you can rent tackle if you need it. From kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and canoeing, to sailing and surfing, there are many rental companies to keep the active adventurer happy and healthy in Morro Bay. 

Looking for a more low key adventure? There are plenty of hiking and biking trails to be found in and around Morro Bay. From the Black Mountain trail in Morro Bay State Park to hiking the Morro Bay sand spit in Montana de Oro, or the Cloisters Wetlands trails in North Morro Bay the natural beauty of this coastal community is breathtaking. Check out the Sub Sea tours for bay cruises and whale watching, or book an evening sunset or Saturday brunch cruise on the bay with one of the many other tour operators along the Embarcadero. You can even rent an electric boat and cruise the bay yourself! Or, head to the Back Bay for a round of golf at the Morro Bay State Park Golf Course. With amazing bayside views, this 18-hole course is a must do for the avid golfer. For the bird lovers, be sure to bring your binoculars. The Morro Bay National Estuary offers over 250 species of birds to discover.


Bustling Waterfront, Charming Old Town and North Morro Bay Districts

Morro Bay’s waterfront is a hub of activity that attracts tourists from around the world, local residents and anglers alike. Whether you are strolling the Embarcadero shopping and lunching, or heading out to experience one of the many water sport adventures, Morro Bay is an enchanting destination. Stroll along the Embarcadero and enjoy homemade salt water taffy, or the smell of fresh baked cinnamon rolls. Discover fresh fish markets offering fish and chips or steamed crab. Restaurants, wine bars, hotels, and shops abound. From the Embarcadero, take a walk out to Morro Rock, past the marinas, along the harbor walkway as you watch the boats come and go through the harbor mouth. Watch the surfers at the Rock, or have a picnic on the beach. Rent a kayak, motor boat or paddleboard and get on the water to explore the bay and appreciate the waterfront from the ocean.

Take a walk up to Old Town, the quaint downtown shopping district a short walk up the hill from the Embarcadero filled with lodging properties, antique shops, one of-a-kind boutiques, jewelry stores, art galleries, coffee shops and restaurants. The Saturday afternoon farmers’ market on Main Street is alive with produce, local vendors and fun surprises. Stop in for a matinée at the classic historic Bay Theater. Hop on the Trolley and head up to North Morro Bay to check out the fabulous beaches that stretch for miles along Estero Bay. A great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner, North Morro Bay offers several destination restaurants, a Thursday afternoon farmers’ market, surf and coffee shops and great parks. Check out the distinctive surf shops, shell shops, home décor shops, wine tasting bars, live music venues and more in this amazing working fishing village.  


Morro Bay National Estuary and Museum of Natural History

The Morro Bay Estuary Natural Preserve and its 800-acre wetland are home more than 250 species of land, sea, and shore birds, both migratory and resident and dozens of endangered species. This extensive marsh is located at the mouth of Los Osos Creek that opens out into Morro Bay, and is designated both a state and national estuary. Wildflowers bloom in the spring and green grass and brush cover the hills, offering a seed supply that attracts birds all year-round. Morro Bay hosts the Winter Bird Festival every January attracting bird watchers and photographers from all over the world.

The great blue herons and the great and snowy egrets roost all year at the Heron and Cormorant Rookery located near the entrance of the museum. You can locate the rookery from the bay by the cluster of barren eucalyptus trees. Or you can view the rookery from the parking lot of the Inn at Morro Bay. You can walk to the site and observe these magnificent birds, watch courtship rituals, nesting habits, and, in spring, adults caring for their young.

The Museum of Natural History – the only one in the California State Park system – opened in 1962. It serves between 45,000 and 50,000 people annually, including 5,000 school children in programs that support California’s required science and social studies standards. The museum offers new state of the art displays focused on the ecology of the Morro Bay Estuary. Several of the exhibits feature touch screens that provide visitors the opportunity to find out what the forces of nature are doing at that moment in time. Visitors can build a sand dune, operate the hydrologic cycle and dig into the food pit to create their own food chains. Entry fees are $3 for adults and free to children 16 and under. The Museum is open from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm every day of the year except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

 

Agri- and Aqua- Tourism

Agriculture and Aquaculture is alive and well in Morro Bay. From grapes, avocados and tangerines, to oysters and abalone, local chefs are in heaven preparing seasonally fresh caught fish and local produce. Meanwhile, visitors benefit from the amazing food and can also tour some of the farms. Visitors can get a behind the scenes look at a working avocado farm, the Morro Creek Ranch, boasting more than 27,000 trees that produce delicious Haas avocados of the highest quality. This family-owned agricultural operation started in 1978 and offers an avocado stand open to the public just outside of town. Morro Bay hosts two farmers’ markets in town. One in north Morro Bay at Spencer’s Market on Thursday afternoons, and the other on Main Street in Old Town Morro Bay, up from the Embarcadero, on Saturday afternoons. You’re likely to find a chef or two browsing the seasonal fare. Many local wineries offer behind the scenes tours of vineyards and crush facilities, so be sure to call ahead when planning a wine tasting tour.

Morro Bay is also home to two of the area’s renowned oyster farms, the Morro Bay Oyster Company and the Grassy Bar Oyster Co, respectively farming delicious the Pacific Gold and Grassy Bar oysters. Situated on the pristine bay, the Morro Bay Oyster company is a 130 acre marine farm that can be seen by paddle board, kayak or from a guided tour with Lost Isle Adventure Tours. Morro Bay oysters are sustainable seafood, delicious and full of nutrition. They can be found at many local restaurants and food and wine events. Just north of Morro Bay in Cayucos is the abalone farm that produces local sustainably farmed abalone for restaurants and chefs to prepare, and for visitors and locals to enjoy.
 

Restaurants, Fresh Seafood, Wine Bars and Craft Beers

With thriving aquaculture and agriculture industries, fresh seafood and locally grown produce are in abundance in Morro Bay. Surrounding farms and vineyards yield a bounty of outstanding organic produce, fresh seafood and award-wining wines served with flair at Morro Bay’s renowned restaurants, wine bars and craft breweries.

 Windows on the Water is a well know local favorite for its seasonal farm to table menus, Oyster Tuesdays, fabulous views, and an incredible wine list. Sunsets don’t get much better than from this romantic dining room on the bay. They also have a fabulous wine and extensive sake list. Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe on Market Street above the Embarcadero has been a Morro Bay favorite since 1942, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner with breathtaking views overlooking the Embarcadero and the bay. They offer fresh seafood, a great brunch and make a mean bloody Mary.

 

Family friendly dining is abundant on the bay as well. At Tognazinni’s Dockside, Too visitors can actually watch the catch of the day being unloaded as they sit under patio umbrellas listening to live music while eating fish tacos, smoked salmon or fresh tuna from this restaurant and fresh seafood market. Oh, and they are super pet-friendly as well. The family-friendly Hofbrau der Albatross restaurant offers patio seating right on the bay with a perfect view of Morro Rock. Diners can watch the sea life frolicking in the bay as they dig into their freshly carved roast beef the restaurant has been known for serving for over 35 years. And don’t miss Giovanni’s Fish Market right on the bay, offering their famous giant calamari sandwich, fish taco Tuesdays and fried fish on a stick – a favorite for kids. This family owned fresh fish market has been a main stay on the waterfront for over 25 years.

 Located on the bay with magnificent views of the harbor, the Morro Bay Wine Seller has been providing exceptional service and a comprehensive selection of local and regional wines to wine enthusiasts from near and far, for taste or purchase, for over a decade. They offer specialty cheeses, olive oils and craft beers to pick up and take with you. If you are looking for a wine bar that offers great food, stop by Stax Wine Bar & Bistro for a bite on the bay. Come relax by a fire on a plush leather couch and choose from over 150 local and imported wines with many offered by the taste, glass and bottle. Enjoy lunch or dinner from the Tapas Menu featuring gourmet cheeses and charcuterie, Panini sandwiches, prawn cocktails, oysters on the half shell, and more. Looking for craft brews? Look no further. The Libertine Pub offers patrons a cozy atmosphere, live music and an expansive beer selection, a great place to celebrate American Craft Beer Week each May. They focus their brews on barrel aged “wild ales” and offer up to 48 craft beers on tap at all times, so even the seasoned beer geek can satisfy their palate. When you’re REALLY hungry, you might be interested in trying their fish and chips burrito, deep fried in their Lagunitas IPA beer batter. It’s a legend on the waterfront.

 

Morro Bay: A Wine Lovers Paradise

Aside from great restaurants serving a great variety of award winning local wines and a fun sampling of wine bars dotted along the Embarcadero, Morro Bay is uniquely situated between two world class wine regions located in San Luis Obispo County.

Nestled in the Santa Lucia Mountains, just 30 minutes northeast of Morro Bay is Wine Enthusiasts 2013 Wine Region of the Year, Paso Robles. In the mid 1990’s Paso Robles was home to 35 wineries and 13,000 acres of grapes. Today there are more than 250 wineries, many of whom are small boutique producers dotting the countryside amongst Paso Robles’ 32,000 planted vineyard acres. Although the region is largely known for its stellar Rhone varietals and big Cabernets, there are more than 40 wine grape varietals produced – from Spanish to Italian to Bordeaux and Rhône, including the area’s heritage variety Zinfandel. Wine lovers can visit a large variety of tasting rooms, many of which offer picnic areas and specialty winemaker dinners.

Just 30 minutes to the southeast of Morro Bay is SLO Wine Country, which includes two small adjoining American Viticultural Areas, the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley. This wine region boasts an average distance of just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in prevailing marine conditions that are among the most pronounced of any wine region in California, forging a unifying wine quality that is native to SLO Wine Country. Cool-climate varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir excel here and the ocean proximity exerts a moderating effect minimizing temperature swings so that growing conditions are rarely hot or cold. The result is an extraordinarily steady growing season that fosters balanced ripening and consistent quality from vintage to vintage.

Paso Robles and SLO Wine Country are home to many wine touring companies that will come to Morro Bay and pick you up from your hotel, B&B or vacation rental.


Family Fun

For a family-friendly California adventure head to Morro Bay where moms, dads, grandparents and little ones will enjoy a fun and comfortable getaway with a wide range of activities and places to stay. There are over 30 hotels and motels to choose from, some featuring free breakfast and convenient amenities such as mini-fridges and microwaves. From May through October, a seasonal trolley runs from the Embarcadero, to Morro Rock, up to Old Town, to the State Parks by the Back Bay Marina, and out to North Morro Bay so there is easy access to anywhere you want to go, no matter where you stay. In fact, the picture-perfect community of Morro Bay is a breeze for hotel guests to navigate thanks to the new FREE trolley service. The Morro Bay Tourism Bureau (MBTB) has partnered with the city to sponsor the trolley for the busy tourism season starting Memorial Day Weekend and going through the first week of October. Within this partnership, all guests staying at Morro Bay hotels and motels will be able to ride for FREE.

 Spend a day exploring the bustling waterfront filled with classic places to stop like the Shell Shop, on the Embarcadero since 1955, or Crill’s Salt Water Taffy stand, in Morro Bay since 1970. Kids of all ages love the Sub Sea Tours where they can ride around the bay in a semi-submersible boat to get a feeling of what it’s like to be underwater without donning a wetsuit. Rent kayaks or a canoe and watch the kids light up when encountering wildlife like sea otters, pelicans or seals. Rent kites and a surrey from Farmer’s Kite Shop and bicycle out to Morro Rock along the harbor walk to fly your kites on the beach. Jump on the trolley and head up to Morro Strand State Beach and spend the day beach combing, building castles and swimming in the ocean. Oh, and don’t miss the Morro Bay Skateboard Museum featuring skateboards and memorabilia from the 1930s to present day. Every member of the family will enjoy Morro Bay no matter your age! The whole family can relax and take in all the natural beauty of this unique fishing village.


Art and Culture in Morro Bay 

Art and culture take center stage in the seaside village of Morro Bay. The Art Center in Morro Bay is one of the largest California Central Coast venues for exhibiting original fine art by local artists, boasting two large galleries. The Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History is regally perched on a hill overlooking the Morro Bay Estuary. In addition to amazing panoramic views of the coastline, the view from the museum includes the world-famous Morro Rock. Featuring state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, this is the only museum of its kind in the California State Park system. The Morro Bay Skateboard Museum is the place where visitors can see the complete history of skateboarding – from the early 1930’s to present day. More than 200 skateboards are on display from all eras with rotating exhibits from extensive private collections. And there are the many shops and boutiques that carry the works of local artists. Now visitors can add the Morro Bay Mural Mile Walk to their itineraries. The Morro Bay Mural Mile tour is the perfect way to tour the downtown and waterfront areas, enjoying the 23 murals that depict the area’s natural beauty, its history and the amazing array of sea life beyond the shores.
There are also many unique art galleries and specialty boutiques in the quaint seaside town including:

John Ramos Art Gallery a few blocks off the Embarcadero at 407 Morro Bay Blvd showcases the original paintings and limited edition prints of John Ramos, capturing images of the California beach lifestyle along CA Highway 1. (805) 772-4700; www.johnramos.com

Forever Stoked Gallery at 1164 Quintana Road is a grass roots art collective that spreads positive energy through artwork. Nature is the source of their inspiration and currently features the paintings of Charlie Clingman, Chris Pedersen, Peter Pierce, Jordan Haughey, and Dave O’Brien and quality goods locally made in Morro Bay. (805) 772-9095; www.foreverstoked.com

Fiona Blue Gallery at 900 Embarcadero offers an eclectic mix of sculpture, lighting, clocks, glass, pottery and paintings. Fun gallery; (805) 772-0541; www.fionableu.com

Gray’s Inn & Art Gallery at 561 Embarcadero features original watercolors of the Central Coast area by Todd Gray; (805) 772-3911; www.graysinnandgallery.com       

The Garden Gallery at 680 Embarcadero offers a blend of indoor and outdoor living products that capture the essence of the California lifestyle. Here you’ll find lush plantings of succulents along with pottery, fountains and home accessories; (805) 772-4044; www.thegardengalleryinc.com      

The Shell Shop at 590 Embarcadero is family-owned and operated since 1955 and exhibits the largest selection of marine sea shells on the Central Coast. Shop for decorative corals, unique crafted sea shell jewelry and sea clams; (805) 772-8014; www.theshellshop.net

Suite 1 Gallery at 601 Embarcadero #1 is a full service gallery where you can view, purchase and create your own art; (805) 772-4972

Seven Sisters Gallery 601 Embarcadero #8 showcases beautiful one-of-a-kind items such as jewelry, art and gifts; (805) 772-9955; http://stores.sevensistersgalleryca.com/

Poppy at 901 Embarcadero offers shoppers a warm, friendly shopping experience where you’ll find artisan soaps and lotions along with women’s clothing and accessories; (805) 771-9750

Morro Bay offers a wide variety of cultural events and exciting things to do on California’s Central Coast. From on-going events like cruises, whale-watching tours, brunch and dinner cruises, and fishing charters departing daily from the Embarcadero to the annual Surfboard Art Festival, Bird Festival, Kite Festival and Art in the Park Fests, there’s something for everyone in Morro Bay. Stay in the know on what to do in Morro Bay by checking this calendar regularly. 

 

BFF Getaways – Two Legged and Four!

Morro Bay, CA is the ideal location for a best friend’s getaway along California’s Central Coast. From girlfriend getaways to bro-cations and pet-friendly adventures, this quaint seaside village is the picture-perfect destination offering everything from golfing, fishing, and hiking, to restaurants, shopping, wine tasting and plain relaxing. The variety of lodging options in Morro Bay offers BFFs the opportunity to stay in beach front vacation rentals, luxurious inns, leading brand hotels, reliable budget and specialty accommodations that fit any budget.

Girlfriend’s getaways are perfect for Morro Bay with its fabulous water front, extensive list of restaurants, boutique shopping, wine bars and relaxing spas – not to mention amazing beaches. Start the morning off taking a nice speed walk down the Embarcadero and out the harbor walk to Morro Rock, a great way to get in exercise before the day really begins. Reward you and your BFFs with a girl’s brunch at Dorn’s, sitting on the patio overlooking the Embarcadero and the bay planning out what adventure to tackle next. From horseback riding on the beach to kayaking on the bay, to renting surreys and riding around the Embarcadero, there is no shortage of things to do. And, then there is wine and food. Located 30 minutes from Paso Robles and Edna Valley Wine Countries, wine tasting tours are a great way to spend some girl time with your BFFs. Paso Robles and SLO Wine Country are home to many wine touring companies that will come to Morro Bay and pick you up in front of your hotel, B&B or vacation rental. Or, stop by the many wine bars located in Morro Bay for some waterfront wine tasting.

Morro Bay also offers everything for the bro-cation from exciting deep sea fishing and whale watching adventures to a challenging round of golf at the Morro Bay Golf Course, offering incredible bayside views. When the tide is right, Kayaking through the channels in the Back Bay Estuary is a wildlife adventure not to be missed. When it’s time for a hearty meal and craft brew, head over to The Libertine Pub, offering an expansive beer selection and a great menu of man grub. They focus their brews on barrel aged “wild ales” and offer up to 48 craft beers on tap at all times, so even the seasoned beer geek can satisfy their palate. Their fish and chips burrito, deep fried in their Lagunitas IPA beer batter is a legend on the waterfront, sure to satisfy the hearty adventurer. Or, stop by Giovanni’s Fresh Fish Market and enjoy their blue crab sandwich or fish taco Tuesdays while you sit out on the patio.

And, you don’t need to leave your four-legged best friend at home when you travel to Morro Bay! From hotels and restaurant patios, to beaches, parks and wineries there are plenty of businesses welcoming pups with open arms. The Inn at Morro Bay located on the water next to the Morro Bay Golf Course offers a warm welcome to Fido’s and their owners. From the Best Western El Rancho, and the Bayfront Inn, to the Beach Bungalow and vacation rentals, there are dozens of pet friendly accommodations to serve every budget. Pet-friendly restaurants on the water front offer great bayside views and yummy treats for owners and their pups. From Giovanni’s and Dorn’s to Frankie and Lola’s and the Bayside Café, there are a dozen restaurants with patios that offer pet friendly choices. One of the few off leash dog beaches along the Central Coast of California is just north of Morro Bay on the way to Cayucos. This two mile stretch of sandy shoreline is a great place for a playful afternoon or a full beach day with your BFFs.

 

Romance is Everywhere in Morro Bay

With majestic Morro Rock casting its own shadow on the bay at sunset each night, Morro Bay offers couples a blissful, off-the-beaten-path romantic getaway. Morro Bay exudes romantic vibes and a dreamy waterfront and marina, dotted with boutique lodging options with views right on the bay. Dozens of cozy hotels, Inns, and B&B’s are within walking distance to the shore offering great amenities that serve any budget.

Think horseback riding on the beach, or renting a surrey to ride along the Embarcadero with your honey. Take a romantic stroll along the harbor walk out to Morro Rock to watch the sunset or have a picnic on the beach. Romance is whatever you make it. Kayak the bay out to the sand spit with a bottle of wine and spend the afternoon frolicking on the beach or have a romantic lunch or dinner at one of the many restaurants and wine bars that line the Embarcadero and bay.

A variety of wedding venues like The Inn at Morro Bay, The View at Morro Bay Golf Couse and the Garden Wedding Chapel at Coalesce Bookstore Old Town Morro Bay are known to offer amazing destination weddings. And, of course, Morro Bay offers miles of beautiful sandy beaches offering unique scenic backgrounds for your unique wedding day. Whether planning an engagement, wedding, honeymoon or just needed time away, Morro Bay has something romantic for everyone.


Nearby Attractions

Morro Bay is conveniently located on the Central Coast – close to everything and far from ordinary. Beaches and hiking trails run for miles north and wind their way up Highway 1 from Cayucos to Cambria. Morro Bay is also close enough for a day trip up to Big Sur for hiking and a nice lunch. Just north about 40 minutes is the area’s most well-known attraction Hearst Castle State Park, located just south of the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, the largest on the Pacific coast and, and the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse near San Simeon, which is open to the public for tours on Saturdays. Hearst Castle offers not-to-be-missed daily tours for only $25, and the Elephant Seal Rookery offers docent lead walks and is open every day for free. The most active times of the year are during breeding season, from December through February when almost 4,000 pups are born in just a few weeks.

Located south of Morro Bay, in Los Osos, is Montana de Oro State Park, offering hiking access to the famous sand spit that creates the western boarder of the Morro Bay harbor. This park features over 8,000 acres of rugged cliffs, secluded sandy beaches, coastal plains, streams, canyons, and hills, including the 1,347-foot Valencia Peak. There are also mountain biking and equestrian trails. The best-known beach is Spooner’s Cove, which offers a beautiful beach with endless tide pools. The park’s name means “Mountain of Gold” and comes from the golden wildflowers that bloom in spring.


About Morro Bay

This seaside fishing village with bustling waterfront offers a picture perfect getaway for travelers who seek food, wine and outdoor adventures found in a gorgeous natural setting. Located along coastal Highway 1 in San Luis Obispo County just south of Big Sur, midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Morro Bay offers year round activities in an unspoiled slice of California. Recently named as a Bicycle Friendly Community by the League of American Bicyclists, outdoor activities are a way of life. From ocean-side golf, kayaking, sailing, hiking, fishing, surfing, biking, and bird watching, to kite flying, shopping, dining, wine bars, local craft brews and miles of unspoiled beaches, there is something for everyone.

Sitting majestically between the beach and the harbor lays the iconic and historic landmark Morro Rock, welcoming travelers from miles away as they approach Morro Bay. Located just minutes from world-renowned Hearst Castle, historic missions, breathtaking Montana de Oro State Park, and surrounded by vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, Morro Bay is a destination designed to fit any style and budget for families, couples or groups. Morro Bay also offers a myriad of year-round events including food, wine and music festivals, art fairs and car shows unique to the town. For more travel information visit http://www.morrobay.org or follow Morro Bay on its Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest pages.