Los Osos is big enough to keep a golfer and a kayaker happy
It’s a challenge: He likes to golf; I like to kayak. We’ll occasionally meet in the middle for a moderate hike. What to do? Well, friends suggested Los Osos. (Los Where? How have we missed this exit off Highway 1 on the Central Coast?) The Sea Pines Golf Resort, perched at the farthest corner of the Morro Bay harbor and estuary, promises greens at your doorstep and easy paddling nearby. The tab: We spent $335 (including taxes and fees) for two nights in May for a king-view room on the golf course, $133 for meals and $30 for golf and kayaking extras.
Sea Pines Golf Resort (1945 Solano St., Los Osos;  528-5252) is quiet, comfortable and friendly. One of us greatly appreciated the second-floor balcony for its view of those deep purple sunsets over the sand dunes that separate the bay from the ocean; the other found the same balcony memorable for its proximity to the practice green and to Skunk’s Path (a.k.a. hole No. 2).
A wise local sent us for “special Manhattan clam chowder” (yes, yummy) and fish and chips at Dorn’s Original Breakers Café (801 Market Ave., Morro Bay;  772-4415), served with plentiful sourdough bread and butter. The hilltop location offers bay views plus a glimpse of my kayaking route. For a sweet treat, we headed down the street for peach turnovers and espresso ice cream at Sun-n-Buns Bakery & Espresso Bar (830 Embarcadero, Morro Bay;  772-4117).
Our front-desk clerk was brimming with ideas for hikes in Los Osos Oaks State Natural Reserve or the nearby Elfin Forest Preserve, but urged us to check out Montaña de Oro State Park down the road. Bingo! We shared our brisk morning stroll on the bluffs with an occasional jogger and a devoted spouse who steered his companion’s wheelchair to a vista point on the accessible trail. Birdwatchers, beachcombers and wildflower spotters also are welcome. After marveling at a handful of fearless surfers, I was ready for some calm kayaking inside sand dune-protected Morro Bay and marina. Within minutes of pushing off from Kayak Horizons (551 Embarcadero, Morro Bay;  772-6444), I came across a mother sea otter and her pup. I watched from a distance as she groomed, coddled and scolded her awkward offspring, scooping up the squealing pup when it got too far from her side. On the way out of town, we stopped at the friend-recommended Garden Gallery (680 Embarcadero, Morro Bay;  772-4044), where I scored superb flowering succulents and decorative pots.