Ano Nuevo State Park

This place is unbelievable! Located 1 hour and 15 minutes south of San Francisco, Año Nuevo State Park is the site of the largest mainland breeding colony in the world for the northern elephant seal.



In the early 19th century, northern elephant seals were in danger of extinction, and the governments of Mexico and California rescued them, declaring them “protected species”. Since then, they have managed to change the number of elephant seals in California from a few hundreds to tens of thousands. The colony in Ano Nuevo settled in the 1950-60s, and has gradually expanded since.


The best time to see the seals is during the winter breeding season. The reserve offers naturalist-guided three-mile walks which feature the seals in their natural habitat.  The males battle for mates on the beaches and the females give birth to their pups on the dunes! This is probably one of the most incredible and amazing attractions on the coast, for both adults and children.



Tips & advice from LostinSF:

January is the best time to see the pups. If you are lucky you can even sea a female give birth.

It can get really cold down there so dress very warmly (thick sweaters, warm hiking shoes, hats, gloves, coats…).



Año Nuevo State Park, Pescadero, CA 94060

(650) 879-2025

8:30 am – 4:30 pm

Guided tours between December 15 and  March 31, $7 per person + $10 for parking

Book your tickets in advance > here

Guided tours are about 2 hours.