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Family-friendly Southern California

Greet a new day at Morro Rock in San Luis Obispo County

Morro Rock in the early morning. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)
Morro Rock in the early morning. (Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Why : Morro Rock looms lovably over Morro Bay. Usually it's a dark landmark in a sunny landscape. But not at sunrise.

What : More than 570 feet tall and 23 million years old, the rock is one of nine sisters -- nine volcanic peaks in San Luis Obispo County. Some can be climbed for nice views (including Black Hill and Cerro Cabrillo in Morro Bay State Park ) -- but not this sister. You can't even walk all the way around her.

Admire this great, rounded rock, preferably at dawn, from the nearby Morro Bay embarcadero. Or the beach . Or the dunes. Or a kayak.

And don't be misled by Disney's "Finding Dory." One of that movie's key locations is the spectacular Morro Bay aquarium. But in real life, the great aquarium is in Monterey . The Morro Bay Aquarium and Gift Shop is far more modest and gets mixed reviews. The waterfront galleries and shops are nice for a few hours' browsing, though, and there are watercraft rentals .

Where : Morro Rock, Coleman Drive, Morro Bay, 203 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

How much : Free

Info : Morro Bay

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