Finding the Best Places to Retire Since 2006!
Morro Bay, California
Morro Bay is a Mellow Beachside Town with Fun Festivals, an Excellent Farmers' Market, a Seaside Golf Course and an Iconic Rock
About half way between San Diego and San Francisco, mellow Morro Bay became a summer vacation destination at the turn of the 20th century. After World War II, it also became a fishing village and still is one today.
The city has a scenic setting, nestled amid beaches, lagoons and saltwater marshes. Fishing boats moor in the harbor, and the Embarcadero, the town's wharf, is dotted with shops and eateries that serve up the day's catch of fresh oysters, crab and salmon. Sea lions catch sunrays on the wharf, and otters play by iconic Morro Rock just offshore.
Events include the Avocado and Margarita Festival, the Mermaid, Sea Creature and Pirate Parade and the Morro Bay Harbor Festival, a time to partake in fresh BBQ and lots of wine. The Harbor Walk is a boardwalk that extends from the Embarcadero to Morro Rock. The excellent farmers' market is open on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Neighborhoods are not really landscaped, with telephone poles, small yards, narrow roads and few sidewalks. Homes are mostly small, come in a variety of shapes and are packed closely together. A very expensive home, which is only expensive because it has an ocean view, might sit next to a tarmac lot.
Morro Bay State Park is on the south side of town, while popular Morro Strand State Beach is on the north end. Although the water is usually chilly, surfing, sailing, kayaking and stand-up boarding are all popular. The town's beautiful golf course sits next to the sea. The Piedras Blancas Light Station and the Hearst Castles are easy day trips.
Population: 11,000 (city proper)
Age 45 or Better: 54%
Cost of Living: 93% above the national average
Median Home Price: $930,000
Climate: Summers are cool, quite often foggy and have temperatures in the 50s and 60s Winter temperatures are in the 30s, 40s and 50s. On average, the area receives 16 inches of rain each year.
At Least One Hospital Accepts Medicare Patients? No, but French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, 12 miles away, accepts Medicare patients.
At Least One Hospital Accredited by Joint Commission? No, but French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, 12 miles away, is accredited.
Public Transit: Yes, a bus and a curb to curb service
Crime Rate: Below the national average
Public Library: Yes
Political Leanings: Liberal
College Educated: 38%
Is California Considered Tax Friendly for Retirement? No
Cons: The earthquake risk is 1,343% higher than the national average.
Notes: The Dynegy Power Plant has been here since the 1950s but ceased operations in early 2014 and merged with Vistra Energy in 2018. The plant is currently being decommissioned. Home prices have increased 23% since last year, and the population has grown 1% during the last decade. Morro Rock is actually a volcano peak known as the Gibraltar of the Pacific. It is 576 feet tall, one of nine such peaks in San Luis Obispo County and is a peregrine falcon reserve.
Recommended as a Retirement Spot? Yes
Thanks to the treaty that ended the Mexican-American War, the Golden State became a U.S. territory in 1847. Soon after, someone discovered gold at Sutter's Mill. Fortune seekers quickly flooded the area, and shortly thereafter, California entered the Union as its 31st state.
California has 900 miles of coastline and claims the highest and lowest point in the continental U.S. Its terrain varies dramatically - from sandy beaches to rugged mountains, from deserts to fertile farmland. Landmarks like Hollywood, Disneyland, and the Golden Gate Bridge play a large part in the nation's history and imagination.
Although Texas and New York have tried to close the gap, California's economy is still the nation's largest. Agriculture, manufacturing, biotechnology, and tourism are some of its leading industries.
Cities of the Golden State have put some odd laws on the books. It's illegal to molest a monarch in Pacific Grove. Want to throw a frisbee on an L.A. County beach? Better ask a lifeguard first. What about bowling on the sidewalks of Chico? Strictly forbidden!
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