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Most visitors come to Morro Bay to ogle Morro Rock, the much-photographed Central Coast icon that anchors the mouth of the waterway. This ancient landmark, whose name comes from the Spanish word for a Moorish turban, is a volcanic remnant inhabited by the peregrine falcon and other migratory birds.

In Town -- The Embarcadero is also home to the Giant Chessboard, whose 3-foot-tall, 18- to 20-pound redwood pieces were inspired by open-air boards in Germany. If you're up for a game, contact the recreation and parks department for reservations at tel. 805/772-6278. Nearby is the Morro Bay Aquarium, 595 Embarcadero (tel. 805/772-7647), a modest operation notable for the injured or abandoned sea otters, seals, and sea lions it rescues and rehabilitates. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children 5 to 11.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.