In 1990, just under two dozen elephant seals were seen on the beach that sits just south of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse. The next spring, more than 400 seals were counted. After that, the population continued to grow every year, which now means about 17,000 elephant seals call this beach their home.
While seals can usually be seen at the beach all year long, the best times to visit are during late January, April and October. Viewing is open to the public free of charge, and the seals are always kept at a safe distance. The Elephant Seal boardwalk is an ideal location from which to view the seals, and docents are on site to interpret and answer questions.
To view the seals before you go, see them live on a webcam from Friends of the Elephant Seal—a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the elephant seals by educating the public about this amazing mammal and other sea life.
Visit Friends of the Elephant Seal »
Directions from Hearst Castle
In San Simeon CA, head north from Hearst Castle onto California Highway 1, for about four miles.
Located just off the west side of Highway 1, the parking lot is open to the public
and is just a short distance from the beach area and the elephant seals.