7.5 out of 10

Morro Bay

35.386770025533 -120.857342490524
Great for
  • Clean & Green
  • Parking
  • Parks & Recreation
  • Peace & Quiet
  • Safe & Sound
Not great for
  • No ratings yet
Who lives here?
  • Families with kids
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Beach Lovers


3/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 3/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 1/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 3/5
  • Nightlife 1/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 2/5
  • Gym & Fitness 3/5
  • Internet Access 3/5
  • Lack of Traffic 4/5
  • Parking 5/5
  • Cost of Living 2/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 4/5
  • Public Transport 2/5
  • Medical Facilities 3/5
  • Schools 3/5
  • Childcare 2/5

"Golden Girls by the Beach"

There are few places more beautiful along the California coastline than Morro Bay. The long, half-moon bay with the long strip of beach mostly walling it off is stunningly beautiful—so much so, that you might expect this to be the province of the fabulously rich. Morro Bay is protected from such intrusions however by its relatively remote location in Central California. This location does a fair amount to restrain the rise of property prices. In addition, because so many of the residents who live here are older and have settled roots in the area, the rise in property prices does not reflect the price at which they bought their homes. So even though the home they occupy may be currently valued at $600,000, back when they bought their homes they signed for not even a third as much.

That said, there is really no such thing as an inexpensive coastal town in California that doesn’t have something substantially off about it. Morro Bay doesn’t have a lot of renters—its mostly a tourist spot in the summer. People come here for the outdoors. But the residents are really more in the senior citizen range than anything else. Put simply, this place is nice for a visit, but year round this is a pretty dead location. Very foggy and sometimes just down right cold.

You could perhaps rent a place and go into San Luis Obispo, but then you might as well go farther south towards Santa Maria.

As far as things to do, there are some fairly bland seaside restaurants. The kind of places that serve fairly standard fare and don’t worry too much about wowing anyone with much more than the amazing seaside views. There is a sprawling golf course, kayak rentals and well-located natural history museum in an interesting building surrounded by Monterey cypresses.

Unfortunately, the northern end of the bay by Morro Bay State Park with its almost iconic stone mound, is marred by the stacks of some kind of power plant.

Morro Bay is made up of mix of hotels, older beach style homes and the occasional mobile home park. The hotels vary from beachside resort to the more traditional roadside motel. Many people end up here when tiring from Pacific Coast Highway on their way between SF and LA. (This is roughly the halfway point.) Some people also stop here before heading over to see William Randolph Heart’s Castle, San Simeon right off Cambria—this is just forty to fifty miles north of here.

The homes here all face towards the sea, of course, and the rising slope of Morro Bay makes it ideal for this kind of tiered setup. You can somewhat tell that some of the occupants are indeed wealthy by the luxury cars parked out front. This is not however the predominant level of income for most residents of Morro Bay. This is a fairly middle class area—although given the high number of retirees, statistics are more than a little bit misleading.

A portion of the residents live in pretty old looking mobile homes. They very much remind me of some of those 1970’s movies where old people retired to back in the day.

Overall, this is the kind of sleepy community that would be perfect for someone who wanted to get away from it all—say you wanted to write the next great American novel and while not being bothered.
  • Beautiful
  • Quiet
  • Nice Homes
  • Remote
  • Boring
  • Bland Restaurants
Recommended for
  • Retirees
  • Country Lovers
  • Beach Lovers
4/5 rating details
  • Neighborly Spirit 5/5
  • Safe & Sound 5/5
  • Clean & Green 5/5
  • Pest Free 4/5
  • Peace & Quiet 5/5
  • Eating Out 4/5
  • Nightlife 3/5
  • Parks & Recreation 5/5
  • Shopping Options 4/5
  • Gym & Fitness 5/5
  • Internet Access 4/5
  • Lack of Traffic 5/5
  • Cost of Living 5/5
  • Resale or Rental Value 5/5
  • Public Transport 5/5
  • Medical Facilities 4/5
  • Schools 5/5
  • Childcare 5/5

"A great place for nature loving kids."

Morro Bay might have once been known as a retirement community for Bay Area residents looking for warmer weather but a recent influx of families has made it the most cost effective family town on the California coast. With no less than 5 kids parks, miles of walking and bike paths, nature galore and miles of beaches, Morro Bay is the perfect place to raise a family. Another hint... schools. Each teacher position that opens up brings dozens of applicants and the result is schools with teachers dedicated to your child's education.
Recommended for
  • Families with kids

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