Parking: Free in the adjacent restaurant lot, which parallels the shore and holds several hundred spaces.
Directions: From Highway 1, take the Main Street exit south, follow it to Morro Bay Boulevard, turn left toward the bay, to Embarcadero and turn right. Embarcadero leads to the long parking lot that fronts several seafood restaurants as well as the piers.
Overview: A narrow, 8-foot-wide, weatherbeaten span that doesn't look particularly well kempt. There is a pronounced sway at the pier's end — it is about 950 feet long — as swells roll past. No shops or services, but Duckie's Chowder, at the foot of the pier, serves seafood, burgers, sandwiches and salads.
Views: Morro Rock to the south dominates the landside view.
Parking: Free on nearby Ocean Avenue; other free spaces, with a 30-minute limit, are on Cayucos Drive.
Directions: From Highway 1 turn at Cayucos Drive. The pier is less than a quarter of a mile at the end of the street.
San Simeon Pier
Overview: This rough plank pier, constructed in 1957 and rebuilt several times after storms, stretches about 800 feet over comparatively shallow waters. It's a gorgeous and accessible setting, with eucalyptus trees near the base of the pier and a small, arcing beach on the pier's north side.
Views: Although the water views are pleasant, the visual payoff comes when you turn inland and see Hearst Castle in the distance.
Parking: Parking lot at the foot of the pier.
Directions: From Highway 1, turn left at Hearst San Simeon State Park and into the lot.
-- Christopher Smith