COVID-19 Update-March 10, 2023
Check here for current status and recommendations in San Luis Obispo County.
A summary of our current status in our two locations:
Elephant Seal Viewing Area is OPEN: The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Viewing Area is open daily sunrise to sunset. Be aware that the Elephant Seal Viewing Area can be very crowded and you may not be able to physically distance from others. The best time to visit is early morning and on weekdays. Directions are available HERE.
Visitor Center (San Simeon) IS OPEN: The Elephant Seal Visitor Center is OPEN to the public daily from 10 AM- 4 PM. Your safety is our first priority. We follow recommended public health and safety practices for our indoor public settings.
The Visitor Center is located in the Cavalier Plaza, 250 San Simeon Ave, Suite 5A in San Simeon, 7.8 miles south of the Elephant Seal Viewing Area. Directions are available HERE.
Online Shopping: The Friends of the Elephant Seal provides free local order pick-up from our Visitor Center and phone response from 10 AM-4 PM daily with some holiday exceptions. You are welcome to shop online and arrange for local pick-up or convenient shipping. Give us a call if you have a special request at (805) 924-1628.
Live Beach Cam and Social Media: You can rely on the Friends of the Elephant Seal and our live beachcams to keep you updated on the latest news from the rookery. We post frequently on our Facebook page as well.
Can I visit the Elephant Seal Viewing Area?
Guidance for Visitors: Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is in Hearst San Simeon State Park. Please follow guidance offered by California State Parks.
State park day-use outdoor and parking areas are open, including the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Viewing area, 7.8 miles to the north of the Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center in San Simeon. Our volunteer guides/docents (look for the blue jackets and vests) are looking forward to welcoming you and answering all of your questions.
**It is very difficult to physically distance in many parts of the Elephant Seal Viewing Area. Weekdays and early morning hours are typically less crowded. Please plan ahead to stay safe. Our staff and volunteers look forward to making your visit exceptional!
We appreciate your help with the following:
1. All existing Elephant seal viewing guidelines continue to apply – including no drones or wildlife disturbances. If you witness any disturbances to elephant seals, drone use or other incidents that cause concern, please call the State Park Rangers at 805-927-2068.
2. It you encounter seals or any marine wildlife on a public beach, please do not disturb, stay far away and be sure to keep dogs on leash.
3. As always… pack in and pack out all trash.
4. Stay on the boardwalks and viewing platforms at the viewing areas. Keep your voice down and be a good example for others.
5. There are no restrooms at the viewing area, so plan accordingly.
COVID-19 specific Visitor Guidelines from California State Parks
Protect yourself, family, friends and your community by following these prevention measures:
- Know Before You Go – Prior to leaving home, check the status of the park unit you want to visit to find out what restrictions and guidelines are in place. Have a back-up plan in case your destination is crowded. Stay home if you are sick.
- Plan Ahead – Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keepup with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer.
- Play It Safe – Find out what precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors, especially if this is your first time visiting the State Park System. Learn more at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- Be COVID-19 Safe – State Parks continues to meet guidance from local and state public officials as COVID-19 is still present and still deadly. Effective March 1, 2022, state guidance recommends that all individuals, regardless of vaccine status, continue masking in indoor settings, such as museums and visitor centers. Universal masking remains required in specified high-risk settings. Please plan ahead as local county guidelines may differ from state guidance and visitors are urged to follow county guidelines when required. Read the latest COVID-19 guidance at COVID19.ca.gov.
- Leave No Trace – Leave areas better than how you found them by staying on designated trails and packing out all trash. Do not disturb wildlife or plants.