PIEDRAS BLANCAS BEACH
Seals are back in a big way at Piedras Blancas. The seals
began colonizing this beach near San Simeon, California in 1990, and
thousands now breed here from December through February each year.
Seals once faced extinction: Seal oil was a valued commodity and
hunters pursued the seals even as their numbers plummeted.
Legal protection helped the seals recover, and they now have
established breeding sites from Baja California to Point
On land, elephant
seals often appear awkward and lethargic. But let them dive
into the ocean and they become gifted atheletes, holding the depth
diving record for air breathing mammals.
WHAT TO SEE:
aren't the only mammals to benefit from the coastal habitat at Piedras
Blancas. Bobcats, brush
rabbits, California ground squirrels, coyotes and black-tailed deer are
And the California coast from Cambria to Ragged Point is also a
birding hotspot. Watch for bald eagles,
pelicans, terns, snowy plovers, sandpipers, black oystercatchers,
woodpeckers, wintering hawks and songbirds.
In winter months, check the pines at San Simeon State Park
for overwintering Monarch butterflies.
TIMES TO VISIT
Northern Elephant Seals are present at
Piedras Blancas year round, but their numbers
are reduced during the fall haul-out.
WHERE TO STAY
You can chose from bed and breakfasts, motels and secluded
resorts in Cambria and San Simeon. Chamber of Commerce Accomodation
List. Or you can camp at San
Simeon State Park.
San Simeon Creek Campground has 115
sites, and campers have access to flush toilets and coin- operated
showers. Primitive campsites are available at Washburn Campground
overlooking the Santa Lucia mountains and the Pacific Ocean.
Chemical toilets and water spigots are provided.
PLACES OF INTEREST
Castle, once the estate of William Randolph Hearst, is now a
National Landmark and designated State Historical Monument open for
TO SEAL COLONY:
Using Hearst Castle as your landmark,
follow Highway 101 north for 4.4
miles to an oceanside parking lot.