Hotel at a Glance: Masterpiece Hotel
Morro Bay, situated about halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, is set along California’s Pacific coast. Just a short walk from the beach, the Masterpiece Hotel has Spanish-style architecture and a red-tiled roof; it’s flanked by palm trees and mediterranean flora. From the guest rooms, you can see the massive dome-shaped boulder known as Morro Rock, which presides over the mouth of the harbor in Morro Bay State Park.
- Guest perks include daily free breakfast of waffles, fruit, cereal, and danishes; and an evening reception with wine and cheese.
- In-room amenities: mini fridge, microwave, coffeemaker, free WiFi, and satellite TV; deluxe rooms also have fireplaces
- Relax: The onsite spa features a large hot tub and tiled murals on the walls.
- Soak in mineral hot springs in nearby Avila Beach.
Morro Bay, California: Sleepy Fishing Village with Protected Coastal Wetlands near San Luis Obispo
Sea otters, sea lions, and shore birds make their homes in the protected coastal wetlands of Morro Bay. You can get a closer peek at the flora and fauna while hiking or birdwatching in Morro Bay State Park, which sits on a peninsula jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Stop by the park’s Museum of Natural History to learn more about oceanography and the area’s unique geological formations, including the dome-shaped Morro Rock.
Venture about 30 miles north of Morro Bay and you’ll find Hearst Castle, the enormous mansion built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst in 1947. You can take a guided tour of the estate, which features 165 rooms, a movie theater, tennis courts, and 127 acres of gardens, terraces, and pools. Much of Hearst’s magnificent private collection of art is still on display, including sculptures, paintings, and mosaic murals.
Only 13 miles inland is San Luis Obispo. Founded in 1772 as a mission community, SLO is one of the oldest towns in California. The original mission church has been completely restored and now houses a museum. Posh boutique shops and upscale restaurants pepper the surrounding area. San Luis Obispo is almost perpetually sunny, with more than 300 rain-free days each year. The city is bisected by a string of hills known as the Nine Sisters; six of them are open for climbing, hiking, and mountain biking. With the Pacific coastline just 10 miles away, windsurfing, kayaking, surfing, and kiteboarding are also popular pastimes here.