About Central Coast Outdoors
Our mission is "to enrich our guests' lives through an incredible experience in the outdoor world of the Central Coast."
What We Do
We guide kayak tours on Morro Bay. We are very proud of the fact that our tours are #1 top rated on TripAdvisor.
Commitment to the Environment
At Central Coast Outdoors we have become concerned about the rapid escalation of environmental crises across the globe and have decided to do our part to help address these problems. Although taking an outdoors tour with us can certainly help raise one's awareness of the importance of nature, we also analyzed our entire business operation to see where we were impacting the environment and came up with a series of changes and programs to make our business as green as possible. Our goal was to lower our company emissions and impacts as much as we could and do carbon offsets and other mitigation measures to address the impacts that remained. We also wanted to make sure we were sharing our beautiful area respectfully with the wnderful wildlife that leaves here. This is what we have done:
To lower energy use and carbon emissions:
- Purchased a Kia Niro EV for running smaller trips that need vehicle support and transportation. We estimate this will reduce our annual fuel consumption and carbon emissions by over 50%.
- Purchased an Energy Star refrigerator for storing food in our warehouse. This new refrigerator uses about 75% less electricity than the old refrigerator. You’d be surprised at how much energy an old refrigerator can consume!
- Installed solar electric panels on our home/office. Combined with the more energy efficient refrigerator, we currently offset about 95-100% of our electrical use.
To mitigate what remains of our impact:
- We are active supporters of a wide variety of other local environmental groups, including Bike SLO County, Morro Bay National Estuary Program (co-owner John Flaherty is on the advisory council), and Pacific Wildlife Care (co-owner Virginia Flaherty is a long time wildlife rehabilitation technician) among others.
Morro Bay is teeming with wildlife, inlcuding many endangered species. On all our kayak tours we endeavor to move through the bay without causing undue disturbance to the other animals that live there. Specifically we seek to remain a respectful distance away from sea otters, harbor seals and other marine life in the bay so they can rest and rejuvenate without constant disruption. But don't worry, on our tours you'll still get to see a lot of wonderful wildlife!
Central Coast Outdoors was started in 2003 by John and Virginia Flaherty, the current owners. Both John and Virginia have extensive backgrounds in guiding outdoors trips all over the world for other outdoor touring companies and decided it was high time to hang out their own shingle, stick closer to home and show people the wonders of California's Central Coast.
Our very first trip was an eight day custom bike tour in June 2003 for a wonderful group of six people from the East Coast. After that not much happened that first year. We ran a grand total of seven trips in 2003 (mostly day trips for one or two people) in the SLO area.
Since then, however, things really took off. In 2004 we added kayak only trips on Morro Bay and they have been our most popular trips. In 2005 we hired a small part time staff of guides to help with our increasing volume. We also started launching our kayak tours from Morro Bay State Park Marina instead of a kayak shop on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay. In 2006 we added all kinds of kayaking tours on Morro Bay and added half day bike trips.
In 2010 we added self guided bike tours to our trip mix and these have been very popular, especially long distance self guided bike tours down the California coast between San Francisco and Los Angeles. In 2013 we celebrated our 10th anniversary and were lucky to have introduced over 10,000 people to the outdoor world of the Central Coast since we opened our doors.
In early 2020 COVID hit and we had to close for a months. In mid 2020 we were allowed to re-open our doors and almost immediately our business boomed. We also made the difficult decision the discontinue our hiking tours due to a variety of factors inlcuding permit issues, trails closed due to fires and persistent landslides closing Highway One on the Big Sur coast and restricting our access to quality hiking.
Effective Novemebr 15, 2022 we also discontinued our bicycle tour program - both guided and self guided. In a nutshell, we want to continue to simplify our business model and focus our efforts on the guided kayak tours.
Due to our focus on making sure each person on our trips has the best time possible, our tours have been #1 top rated on TripAdvisor for years.
We remain a small company and the owners do much of the guiding themselves.