Elephant Seal Rookery - San Simeon
I had never seen an elephant seal before I pulled off of Hwy 1, lured by an intriguingly full parking lot and clusters of tourists gathered on the side of the road.
Elephant Seals are huge (up to 5,000 lbs) and move way quicker than seems natural given their immense size and how lazy they look scratching themselves on the sand. Peak season for elephant seals is December through March, and we were lucky enough to be able to see the bulls fight to get control of the premium pupping areas.
Since 1992, this 6-mile stretch of coastline has become home to a colony of more than 23,000 elephant seals. The rookery is run by Friends of the Elephant Seal which provides information and education, improves viewing areas, and assists federal and state wildlife agencies in the protection of elephant seals.
Hours of Operation: Viewing areas are open 24 hours a day.
Time Spent: 30 minutes.
Directions: GPS coordinates to the main viewing area - 35° 39' 48" N and 121° 15' 28" W.
Tips - There are no bathrooms, so plan accordingly. Bring your camera and dress warmly!
Gift Shop - Located 8 miles south of the viewing areas in the Plaza del Cavalier in San Simeon.