Home TravelDomestic Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, San Simeon

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, San Simeon

by TerriAnn

One reason for visiting the Central California coast is to see the elephant seals. Though living most of their lives in the ocean, these massive mammals come to the Piedras Blancas Rookery to mate and breed. A bit north of San Simeon there is a huge viewing area with almost as many people watching as there are elephant seals, of which hundreds were ashore.

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery near San Simeon, CaliforniaPiedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery near San Simeon, California

We happened to visit at a time when males, females, and pups were present and very numerous (mid-February). It was the first time any of my family had seen elephant seals and, well, they’re pretty odd. The male elephant seals (bulls) have this flubby trunk-like nose and look like slugs when moving around. As for the babies, to say they were chubby, plump, or a bit heavy would be complete understatement – they were so fat!

Aside from basking and napping in the sun, the elephant seals were quite vocal. The females (cows) and babies seemed to be the most noisy though. At first, most of the elephant seals were just lying around. Later on they got more active and I was able to record some of the action:

There was another kind of action going on as well since it was mating season. At one point my daughter felt compelled to exclaim, “Eiuw, are they mating?!” as only an 11-year-old child can. So while we enjoyed being able to watch these fascinating animals, we had our fill of elephant seal nature for this trip.

For more information on the elephant seals at Piedras Blancas, check out ElSeals4me.

See 2/22 Wordless Wednesday Featured Image.

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Allie February 23, 2012 - 11:35 am

We went a few years ago to San Simeon (Hurst Castle and all) and visited the area where the elephant seals hang out. They are not called “elephant” seals for nothing! These creatures are massive!

We stayed up on top of the beach but there were some that ventured down by the seals. People underestimate the creatures. Don’t let their size fool you, they can be fast and very fierce on land. I saw people get so close I had to walk away for fear they would be attacked. Do you go up to a bear? No. How about a strange dog? No. Why would you approached an elephant seal. OH!

The area around there is so beautiful, I look forward to visiting again some day.


Cookies & Clogs February 25, 2012 - 10:56 pm

Uhm, hmm, some people just aren’t too bright. Period. When we went there, there was an actual ‘viewing area’ that had a fence preventing people from going down. Maybe they built that to prevent those lacking upstairs 😛 Oh, we loved the area and more post of our trip will be coming the next couple of weeks!

Danielle @Royalegacy February 23, 2012 - 11:58 am

Absolutely fascinating! Thanks so much for sharing. I love going to visit the elephant seals when I can.

Cookies & Clogs February 25, 2012 - 10:53 pm

You’re welcome. It was such a fluke for us to catch that footage during the short time we watched them. Keep an eye out as we found much more to do in the area 🙂 Oh, and thanks again for that link so readers learn more about them!

Sonia February 27, 2012 - 5:35 pm

Now that was cool. I haven’t even been down Hwy 1 unless I was going up past Half Moon Bay. This sounds like a place I have to check out or put on the list for places to see on my next vacation. The only sea lions I see are at Pier 39 and they are so cute. Gosh I have take a drive up there, I love Bubba Gumps Restaurant.

Cookies & Clogs March 2, 2012 - 12:29 pm

Don’t worry, I only went one time for half a day to Hearst Castle almost 20 years ago! I can’t believe I didn’t check this place out sooner! Speaking of Pier 39 – it’s been ages since I’ve been there too!

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