The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery spreads out over 6 miles of beach from Point Piedras Blancas on the central coast of California. The best viewing areas are located 90 miles south of Monterey, 5 miles north of Hearst Castle State Historical Monument in San Simeon. They are 1.5 miles south of Point Piedras Blancas. The viewing areas are open every day of the year, are wheelchair accessible and free. No reservations required.
The elephant seal viewing areas are part of the Piedras Blancas Outstanding Natural Area, the offshore rocks, islets, and reefs are part of the California Coastal National Monument. The ocean and marine environment are protected by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and are part of California’s Marine Protected Area Network. Please click on Related Links to learn more.
GPS Coordinates to the viewing area: 35° 39' 48" N and 121° 15' 28" W.
FRIENDS OF THE ELEPHANT SEAL VISITOR CENTER & GIFT SHOP
Plaza del Cavalier - 250 San Simeon Ave. • San Simeon, CA 93452
From Southern California
To the viewing area, take US Highway 101 north to San Luis Obispo. Exit at Highway 1 and continue north 46 miles through the towns of Cambria and San Simeon, past Hearst Castle State Historical Monument. To the Visitor Center and Gift Shop, take the oceanside access road in San Simeon.
From Northern California and the Central Valley
To the viewing area, take Highway 101 to Highway 46 west and turn north on Highway 1. Proceed north 16 miles through the towns of Cambria and San Simeon, past Hearst Castle State Historical Monument. To the Visitor Center and Gift Shop, take the oceanside access road in San Simeon.
From Monterey On Highway 1
To the viewing area, take the Highway 1 South exit and proceed 90 miles. The viewing areas are located 1.5 miles south of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse. To get to the Visitor Center and Gift Shop continue south on Highway 1 to San Simeon and take the oceanside access road.
The viewing walkways at each end of the parking lot are part of the California Coastal Trail and are wheelchair accessible. The guidelines below are given for your comfort and safety and for the safety of the seals:
Park in the designated parking area.
Remain on the viewing walkways. The dunes and other bluff areas outside the fences or ropes are home to native plants and animals.
Elephant seals are protected by federal law. It is illegal to touch or throw things or cause a reaction from any marine mammal. If you witness someone harassing a marine mammal, call 1-805-927-2068.
Dogs and seals do not mix. Keep dogs on a leash and well away from the seals.
Do not feed the squirrels. Ground squirrels are wild animals, carriers of fleas and other vectors of disease, and occasionally they do bite.