Pismo Beach Or Morro Bay: Where To Visit?

Pismo Beach and Morro Bay are well-known tourist spots near the central coast of California. Since both places are quite similar to each other, people often compare them.

So, which one would be better, Pismo beach or morro bay?

Between Pismo beach and Morro Bay, Pismo beach has more tourist spots.The beach is better there and has lots of activities to enjoy as well. Morro bay doesn’t have many well-known tourist spots other than the famous Morro Rock. It’s more about the ocean and the wildlife. 

Wanna know more details about them? Then keep reading our piece until the end.

Let’s begin!

Quick Comparison

Before we move on to a full-fledged discussion, let’s get a short preview-

AspectPismo BeachMorro Bay
Beach ConditionBettergood
Number Of Places To VisitLess More 
Suitable ForYoung TouristsOlder Generation
Best to Visit WildlifeNoYes

That was the sneak peek of the Pismo beach vs morro bay discussion. Let’s jump to the details.


There’s no direct flight route to Pismo beach as there’s no airport there. The closest airport to Pismo beach would be San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP).

The flights are usually run by United Airlines. SBP Airport is about 6.55 miles away from Pismo beach. You can get a taxi or a rent-a-car service from there to reach your destination. It’s only a 15 minutes drive away. 

Flying to Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX) is another option. It’s 19.77 miles away from Pismo beach. Takes only 30 minutes by taxi. Bus services are also available there.

Santa Barbara Airport (SBA) and Bakersfield Meadows Field Airport (BFL) should be later options. They are respectively 19.77 miles and 67.13 miles away from Pismo.

Similar to Pismo beach the closest airport to morro bay is SBP Airport. It’s 19-miles away from morro bay. And has domestic flights available from San Luis Obispo.

Source: travelinusa

From the airport, the fastest way to reach Morro Bay is by car. It takes a 30-minute drive to reach there. The latter option would be Santa Maria Public Airport (SMX).

It’s 39.2 miles away from morro bay and also has domestic flights to California. Takes an hour’s drive to reach the airport. You’ll find the bus, train, and taxi services from there.


There are many top-tier luxurious hotels and inns located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s the perfect place to stay if you’re taking a road trip on Highway 1.

You’ll also get some gorgeous views of the sandy beaches. So, where to stay? This list might help-

Hotel NameBest ForMake Reservations
SeaCrest OceanFront HotelOverall BestBook Today!
Dolphin Cove MotelBudgetBook Today!
Dolphin Bay Resort & SpaLuxuries Book Today!
Pismo Lighthouse SuitesFamiliesBook Today!
SeaVenture Beach HotelBeachfrontBook Today!
SpyGlass InnCouplesBook Today!

Morro Bay California also has the best lineup of luxurious hotels and inns. Most of them are budget-friendly. So, let’s take a look at the list of lodging near morro bay.

Hotel Name
Estero Inn
456 Embarcadero Inn & Suites
Best For
Make Reservation
Book Today!
Book Today!
Hotel Name
La Serena Inn
Pleasant Inn
Best For
Make Reservation
Book Today!
Book Today!
Hotel Name
Grey’s Inn & Gallery
Ascot Suites
Best For
Make Reservation
Book Today!
Book Today!
Hotel Name
Morro Bay Sandpiper Inn
Twins Bay Inn
Best For
Make Reservation
Book Today!
Book Today!

Need a Guide?

Tourist guides are not needed for your visit to Pismo beach or morro bay. Getting a detailed map of the area can save you a lot of hassle. 

Plus if you’re confused about anything you can ask the locals. They are pretty amicable towards the tourists. So, spending money on tourist guides is not really necessary.

Wanna Plan The Whole Trip Yourself?

Who needs a guide if you can arrange the perfect tour plan for yourself. All you need is the following information to make your trip fabulous.


Must-try-dishes in Pismo Beach and Morro Bay-

Food to Try at Pismo Beach LocationFood to Try at Morro BayLocation
Clam Chowder Splash CafeClam Chowder, Fish and chipsDutchman’s Seafood House
Black Angus BurgerWoolly’s beach bar & grillBBQ Oysters with garlic butterTognazzini’s Dockside
Fish and chipsBrad’s RestaurantMexican-California styled dishesTaco Temple

You’ll have great seafood at both of these places. But Pismo bay still wins in comparison. Because in an awe-inspiring beach town like Pismo you’ll find many traditional seafood dishes. 

For example, the award-winning clam chowder from splash cafe. They serve the best clam chowder you can get on the west coast. 

Almost 40,000 gallons of it are sold per year. Clam chowder from Morro Bay is good but it can’t top the award-winning one.

Another not-to-miss item would be the black Angus burger from Woolly’s beach bar & grill. Something you’ll miss at Morro Bay. But the BBQ Oyster and the California-Mexican dishes there are something to look forward to.

The nearby town of Pismo Beach is well-known for its wine production. The best place to taste these local wines would be the Tastes of the Valleys. 

It’s considered to be in the top 20 wine bars in America. It’s a must-visit place if you’re visiting Pismo Beach. You may require some tips to enjoy California wine tasting.

To taste the local beer at Morro Bay the libertine would be a good visit. Don’t forget to try the local craft beer there. It’s made from the saltwater from Morro bay.


Pismo beach California is situated in San Luis Obispo located on the central coast. No matter which airport you choose you’ll find many taxi services available to Pismo beach.

If you haven’t travelled through any pacific coast roadm, highway-1 would be good. You’ll get a glimpse of Carmel, Big Sur, and half moon bay on the way.

You can use any ride-sharing app to get taxis to Pismo bay. Bus and train service will take a long time to reach and will cost more.

Morro Bay is situated on highway one on the central coast of California. It’s the same distance away from Los Angeles and San Francisco. The fastest way to Morro Bay is to go along Highway 1.

Highway 1 offers a great scenic view. You can also make stops to enjoy the view and grab some snacks. Taking a car would be the fastest way to reach Morro bay.


To most people Pismo beach and morro bay sound like not-so-fun places to visit. But there are many entertainment options waiting for you there. Care to find out?

The next segment would be all about entertainment. 


These are the popular activities to enjoy in Pismo beach California-

  • Drive four-wheel trucks through Oceano Dunes SVRA
  • Enjoy a bath in Avila hot springs
  • Go to pier plaza
  • Enjoy a bath in Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort and Spa
  • Hike through the Pismo preserve
  • Ride a boat through central coast kayaks
  • Ride a bicycle through bob jones trail
  • Go to horseback riding
  • Play golf 
  • Do scuba diving
  • Go surfing
  • Go fishing
  • Play volleyball on the beach

If you’re visiting Morro bay then these are the fun activities that you can enjoy-

  • Make friends with the sea animals. 
  • Go bird watching
  • Hike around Black Hill, Bishop Peak, Cerro Cabrillo, Islay Hill, and Cerro San Luis
  • Go for a bicycle ride around the town
  • Rent a kayak to tour around the sea
  • Get on a glass-bottom boat
  • Enjoy a fishing expedition
  • Have a kite competition
  • Try to stand up paddle boarding
  • Go surfing

Seems like there’s a lot of similar activities to do, doesn’t it? Just like typhoons lagoon and Aquatica.


Here’s a list of souvenirs you can get from your visit to Pismo beach-

  • Kites
  • Local jewellery
  • Candies
  • Surfing board
  • Local wine
  • Toys, shell keychains
  • Pismo t-shirts and mugs
  • Beach snacks
  • Handcrafted items

You’ll find some great souvenir shops at morro beach too. Here’s what you can get-

  • Beach-themed t-shirts
  • T-shirts and mugs with painted morro rock
  • Magnets
  • Seashell display
  • Beach-themed photo frame
  • Jewelries
  • Local wine
  • Paintings
  • Crystals and antic items


There are a number of places to visit in Pismo beach.

Source: sacmag

You may even think of extending your trip. So, here’s a list of places to visit in Pismo beach-

  • First and foremost would be the Pismo city beach. You can either take a walk, surf or try fishing. 
  • Visit the 11-acre Dinosaur Cave Park. 
  • Visit the tranquil Eldwayen ocean park.
  • Take a walk or drive through Pismo state beach
  • Visit Pismo state beach monarch butterfly grove. It’s one of the unique places to visit.
  • Walk around the palisades park to enjoy the greenery and the ocean
  • Go to Pismo beach premium outlet for shopping.
  • Enjoy family time in SpyGlass park
  • Enjoy the scenic view from Margo Dodd Park
  • Visit Hearst castle.

The sightseeing list for Morro Bay isn’t short either. Here’s the list of tourist attractions you can visit for sightseeing-

  • Get a perfect view of morro rock
  • Visit the Morro Bay Maritime Museum 
  • Explore the downtown
  • Enjoy sea wildlife 
  • Visit the Central Coast Wine Country
  • Visit the Morro Bay state park
  • Camp around Montana De Oro State Park
  • Explore the Morro Bay National Estuary
  • Enjoy the natural beauty around El Moro Elfin Forest
  • Pay a visit around Hearst Castle
  • Enjoy the scenic view from Tidelands park
  • Enjoy wildlife visit Estero Bluffs State Park
  • Visit the century-old oak trees and ancient dunes in Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve
  • Visit the Morro Bay Museum of Natural History

Since both are sea-shore areas there are similarities in the landscape. Just like arches and zion.


There are a few places to go if you wish to enjoy Pismo beach nightlife. The most popular option would be Harry’s nightclub & beach bar. 

Puffer’s of Pismo and Tastes of the Valley is quite popular as well.

Unfortunately, there’s not much nightlife to enjoy in morro bay. However, sunsets are always wholesome here!

Final Verdict

So, can you guess who’s the winner today? It’s Pismo beach. The number of places to sightseeing may be greater at Morro Bay. But Pismo beach has more diversity.

And to be fair, Pismo beach is more beautiful according to most tourists. There are also a lot of activities to enjoy. 

As for morro bay, it’s the perfect place to enjoy sea wildlife, fishing, and bird watching. So, whether it’s Pismo bay or Morro beach depends on your choice.

To get a closer look at the ocean and wildlife, Morro Bay would be good. For the diversity of scenic beauty and fun activities, Pismo beach would be good. 


What’s the cheapest way to fly to Pismo beach?

Flying to Pismo beach is the cheapest in January, February, and August. As for weekdays, try to book flights on Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday. The flights to Pismo are the cheapest these days.

What’s the best time to visit Pismo beach?

September and November is the best time of the year to visit Pismo beach. The temperature stands between 70-80 degrees. So, the place is less foggy than in 

the summertime. There are also many events and festivals that take place during that time. For example, the Iconic Pismo beach festival.

What’s the best time to visit Morro Bay?

The summer season is the best time to visit Morro Bay. That is, if you want to enjoy lots of events. It’s the busiest time to visit morro bay. However, November and December have the best weather to visit Morro bay.


Our debate on Pismo beach or morro bay has finally come to an end. So, which one is your destination? Whichever it is, we hope you enjoy a great time.

Don’t forget to bring warm clothes for your trip. Both of these places are colder than you think. Until next time!

See you soon!

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