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Montana De Oro State Park is situated toward the southern portion of California and has stunning coastal views of the Pacific Ocean. Spanning over 8,000 acres, this state park features an interesting mixture of forests and beaches for visitors to explore. During the spring and summer, the park explodes with golden wildflowers. The thousands of yellow flowers blooming here is what inspired its name, which means “gold mountain” in Spanish.
The grounds were first inhabited by Native Americans before it eventually was taken by Spanish explorers. When it became part of California, the area was used for farming and lumber. In 1965, the land became Montana De Oro State Park.
Visitors will discover quite a few outdoor activities to do while at Montana De Oro State Park. One popular thing to try is hiking. The state park is packed with numerous pathways that wind through grassy hills and along the park’s incredible coastline. A few options include the Hazard Canyon Reef Trail, Islay Creek Trail, Rattlesnake Flats Trail, and Coon Creek Trail. All of these pathways vary in their elevations and scenery providing everyone with something to explore no matter what their hiking skills are.
Photographers will find many unique landscapes to capture with their camera, including Valencia Peak, which is one of the highest peaks in the state park. You can also head down to the beach to capture seabirds flying around or the breathtaking coves hidden inside the cliffs.
Another activity to do is kayaking. Visitors can take their vessel out into the surrounding bay, where they’ll not only be able to get beautiful coastal views but of some places that most people are unable to access. This includes the many submerged reefs and tide pools. You might also catch a glimpse of otters, whales, and dolphins swimming by. There are a few kayak rental facilities located nearby you can rent from if you don’t have your own.
Book an RV in San Luis Obispo, and you will find plenty of local campgrounds to stay at. One option to consider is Islay Creek Campground. Just a short drive away from the Montana De Oro State Park, this RV campground has 55 motorhome sites that come with amenities like restrooms and picnic tables. This campground is pet-friendly but doesn’t have ADA-access.
Another RV campground to camp at is Morro Dunes RV Park. This travel trailer campground offers incredible views of Morro Bay and has amenities such as 30, 50 amp, fire rings, picnic tables, and WiFi. This pet-friendly spot also has restrooms, a laundry room, an RV storage facility, and a pool.
There are numerous destinations nearby that you can stop by at with your camper when you’d like to explore the surrounding area. Only a few minutes away in Morro Bay is Morro Rock. Created out of volcanic rock, this massive 581-foot natural wonder is a protected area, including the small causeway that connects to it during low tide. Besides its interesting geological history, Morro Rock features numerous types of flora and fauna. A large flock of endangered falcons can be found nesting on it, and seagrass and kelp forests grow around its base.
In Santa Maria, visitors can check out the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes. As one of the largest dunes in the state, it spans over 18 miles long and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. Visitors can tour the dunes or hike down to one of its numerous beaches where they can go surfing or swimming. The dunes are also home to the Guadalupe Native Plant Garden that showcases plants like California poppies and lilacs. There is a visitor center that guests can explore that teaches you more about how the dunes were formed and the people who once lived on them.
Two hours away in Santa Barbara is Stearns Wharf. First built in 1872, the wharf is one of the longest piers between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It was originally built as a way for ships to deliver cargo to the area before it was later converted into a tourist attraction filled with shops, restaurants, and museums. While here, visitors can shop for rare shells or try homemade ice cream and tacos. There is also a water taxi that will transport you to the Santa Barbara Harbor.
Head over to Ventura to explore the San Buenaventura Mission. This historic church was created in 1782 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Guests can stop by to gaze at its intricate architecture or step inside to take a tour to learn more about its interesting history.