Things to do in Morro Bay this Fall: Butterfly Migrations, Festivals, Breezy Hikes, and More

Morro Bay is an adventurer’s hidden paradise on the shores of San Luis Obispo County. Located on the central coast of California, you will be surprised at the endless magic and things to do in Morro Bay in fall. With humble beginnings as a fishing town, you’ll find a rich history mixed with a protected sealife ecosystem. Come and experience Morro Bay’s rich sea life and ecosystem, including dolphins, seals, and otters. 

Don’t be fooled by its size – this small fishing town packs a mighty punch of must-dos for all ages. Whale-watching tours, sunset cruises, and fishing charters will have water lovers enthralled year-round. Fall in Morro Bay is something extra special. Morro Bay in November means corn mazes, pumpkin patches, and the Annual Witches/Warlock Paddle. If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, you can enjoy cycling, kite flying, kayaking, sailing, standup paddle boarding, and even surfing! All year round, Morro Bay activities are available and fun for everyone. 


Don’t miss these activities, events, and other things to do in Morro Bay this Fall:

Experience the phenomenal butterfly migration

If you’re in Morro Bay in November, you will not want to miss out on the amazing migration of wintering Monarch Butterflies this fall – it is one of the absolute best things to do in Morro Bay. The California coast is the only place in the continental United States where you can find these magnificent creatures. During their journey, Monarchs can be found resting in the sweet-scented Eucalyptus trees. You can find them from October to March, but they are most active from November through February.

Visit the Museum of Natural History and Morro Bay Estuary Nature Center to learn more about this state’s most beautiful butterfly. These establishments provide shows, presentations, and activities for children and adults.

Go Hiking

Hiking is one of the must-do things to do in Morro Bay. You simply can’t leave without traversing a few of the many hiking trails in town. There are several Morro Bay hiking trails to explore with a diversity of levels. Bike, hike, run, and explore trails like Black Hill Trail, the Cerro Alto Trail Loop, and the Morro Bay Harbor Estuary. If you’re looking to elevate your experience, hop on the Cerro Alto Trail Loop. At approximately 4.5 miles long, this 6-hour hike is the longest trail in Morro Bay.

If you’ve got furry friends on your trip, be sure to check ahead that they are welcome on your trail of choice! Proper equipment and clothing in fall and winter will ensure you have the best time. Snacks and water are always a good idea, too!

Morro Bay rotary duck derby

Cheer on the ducks at Morro Bay Rotary Ducky Derby

The annual Morro Bay Rotary Ducky Derby is fast approaching on October 14th, 2023, at 8:00 am at the Embarcadero. This fun community event is a fundraiser for local youth programs. Participants can adopt one of 1,000 rubber ducks for $10 each. 

On the day of the race, all the ducks will be released into Morro Bay from the Galley/Hof Brau parking inlet. The first three ducks to reach the finish line at Tidelands Park will win prizes for their owners. Prizes include $1000 for first place, $750 for second, and $500 for third. Even if your duck doesn’t win, you’ll still enjoy the festive family atmosphere and feel great knowing your donation is helping local kids. 

It’s not too late to adopt your duck – click here to sponsor one. See you at the races! 

Have fun at the Maritime Museum Family Fun Day

After the Derby, head to the Morro Bay Maritime Museum on October 14th, 2023 from 10 am to 2 pm for Maritime Family Fun Day, an annual event celebrating Morro Bay’s local maritime heritage and culture. It’s a great way to interact and immerse with the city’s fun and laid-back locals with plenty of entertainment throughout the day.

Families can tour historic vessels, meet the captains and crew, learn nautical knots from retired sailors, and hear stories of adventure on the open seas. Kids can try their hand at fishing, build sandcastles or mini boats to race, or get their faces painted like pirates. There will also be an exhibit by the Coast Guard Auxillary and hotdogs for sale by the Lion’s Club. Check out their website for more information.

Join the Annual Witches/Warlock Paddle

Participate in the annual Witches/Warlock Paddle and help raise awareness and donations for the local food bank on on October 29, 2023, at Coleman Park from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM. About 200 people participate in it each year. It starts on the waterfront of Coleman Park and continues along the Embarcadero.

For over a decade, Morro Bay’s local community has been coming together for this special event. The Annual Witches/Warlock Paddle is not just a chance to enjoy some paddling fun; it’s also an opportunity to raise crucial awareness and donations for the city’s local food bank, helping those who are struggling with hunger.

You’ll need to bring your own equipment and costume, but there are options to rent a board at the venue. Keep in mind that there will not be any lifeguards or supervision present.

If paddling isn’t your cup of tea, grab a chair and a warm cup of coffee, and watch the festivities of the event!

Watch Morro Bay High School Drama Program’s Alice in Wonderland Production


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What could be more heartwarming amidst the crisp autumn air than a high school drama production featuring talented students acting their hearts out on stage? Sure, it’s not Broadway or the West End, but it’s joyful! 

All that said, catch the Morro Bay High School’s Drama Program’s rendition of the classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Through magical costumes, inventive sets, original music, and strong performances, the drama students bring the whimsical world of Wonderland to life on stage. 

The show will take place on October 13, 14, 20, and 21 at 7:00pm and October 14, 21 at 2:00pm in the Morro Bay High School Theater. Come support these hardworking students as they transport audiences down the rabbit hole for an enchanted evening of imagination and adventure. 

Halloween Karaoke Cruise

Dress in your best costume and get ready for a frightfully fun evening singing your heart out on the open water at the Halloween Karaoke Cruise presented by sloKaraoke and Chablis Cruises. Whether you’re a fantastic singer or just love to laugh, the Halloween karaoke cruise is the perfect way to celebrate with friends while taking in Morro Bay’s gorgeous coastal scenery by moonlight. Come aboard, eat some tacos, and enjoy the night! Get your tickets here. 

Celebrate Halloween in Morro Bay

Dress up, dance, and play games at the numerous parties and events hosted by the town, including the annual Molly Ringwald Project 80’s Halloween Party. It is a party at The Siren that brings the memories of the 80’s to the forefront with a six-person cover band. The event will start on October 28 at 8:35 pm PDT.

Come Trick-or-Treat with other families on October 31 from 3 PM to 5:30 PM. There will be a fun street party with music, a bounce castle, a haunted trolley, face painting, and games for everyone.


Staying in Morro Bay is easy and comfortable with Ascot Suites. A smoke-free hotel with 32 rooms, enjoy the view of Morro Bay and Morro Rock with our rooftop sundeck. The Embarcadero and downtown are just a short walk away, too. Whether you want to eat and relax at a restaurant or want to test your physique on the longest trail in Morro Bay – you’re in the best location for either at Ascot Suites. Click the link below to book your room.