From whale watching tours and sunset cruises, to fishing charters, to kayak and paddle board rentals, there are numerous ways to get on the water in Morro Bay.  November 28 – December 19 were adding one more to the list: The West Coast’s Tall Ships. 

Grays Historical Seaport, based in Washington, is bringing recreated historical “tall ships” identical to those that sailed more than 200 years ago. 

Lady Washington and Hawaiian Chieftain tour through several West Coast cities year-round to introduce the public to maritime history. This November and December, the two tall ships will dock in Morro Bay for public tours, adventure and battle sails, and to get festive in the annual Lighted Boat Parade event as part of this year’s Winterfest

The Lady Washington will be arriving in Morro Bay on November 28, and the Hawaiian Chieftain will be arriving on December 1. Both ships will be departing on December 19. There will be free weekday tours open to the public from 4-5pm, closed on Mondays. On weekends, the ships will be hosting “adventure sails” and “battle sails” at sea. 

“Some people imagine a modern ship, or a Navy cutter,” says Execute Director Brandi Bednarik. “‘Pirate Ship’ comes pretty close, but it leaves out the truth of why ships like these sailed mostly for trade, exploration, and in military action. Our mission is to share this history with the American public.” 

Both ships have a unique history dating back to the 1700’s. The Lady Washington was the first American vessel to make landfall on the west coast of North America in 1788, as well as the first to visit Honolulu, Hong Kong and Japan. The Hawaiian Chieftain is inspired by early colonial passenger and coastal packets that traded amongst Atlantic coastal cities and towns.

In 1993, both replicas engaged in their first “mock sea battle” in San Francisco, blossoming a relationship that would perform for years to come. Dockside visitors can expect to tour the vessel and talk with the crew, while sailing passengers will experience the crew in-action and the ship under wind power. 

When they are not sailing, you can find the ships at the T-pier (near the Great American Fish Company). And there is even more maritime history to discover by walking across the street to the new Morro Bay Maritime MuseumThe permanent outdoor instillation is accessible seven days a week, and the museum itself is open every Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm.

For a schedule of events and to purchase tickets for the Hawaiian Chieftain and Lady Washington’s visit in Morro Bay, click HERE.