Plan Your Visit

The Elephant Seal Viewing Area provides boardwalks and viewing platforms that extend both north and south of the parking area. Rather than stopping at the first seals in sight, give yourself time to move around and take in the sights and sounds of the rookery. Take a look at the interpretive educational panels and pick up a free copy of the E-Seal News. 

Our knowledgeable Friends of the Elephant Seal docents (guides) in royal blue will welcome you, answer your questions and invite you to return soon!

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.
  • Drones are not permitted.
  • Please view the National Marine Sanctuaries Marine Wildlife Viewing Guidelines

Our Locations

Viewing Area

Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

The Piedras Blancas elephant seal rookery spreads out over 8 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 and 1.5 miles south of Point Piedras Blancas.

FES Visitor Center and Gift Shop

San Simeon

Our visitor center and gift shop is located 8 miles south of the viewing areas in the Plaza del Cavalier in San Simeon. Feel free to stop by the Visitor Center for more information.

Plaza del Cavalier | 250 San Simeon Avenue, Suite 3B | San Simeon, CA 93452 | (805) 924-1628 | Email: [email protected]

Visitor Etiquette

Visitor Guidelines

Keep Your Distance

Elephant seals are dangerous wild animals and are protected by law. Harassment and disturbance of elephant seals is prohibited by state and federal laws. The National Marine Fisheries Service, the Federal agency responsible for enforcing the Marine Mammal Protection Act, recommends a safe viewing distance of 50 to 100 feet. If seals are looking at you, you may be too close!

Look For Our Docents

Your Guide to the Elephant Seals

Friends of the Elephant Seal docents are volunteer guides who are happy to answer your questions and help you to better understand your observations at the Piedras Blancas rookery. Spend some time with the elephant seal experts in royal blue to make your visit even more memorable!

Drone Free Zone

Photographing the seals

Drone use is prohibited at the Piedras Blancas rookery. To photograph or record the elephant seals many people bring a large zoom lens to get the best close-up shots of these fascinating animals.

Local Business Sponsors

We are grateful for the support of our business community. Their generosity makes it possible for The Friends of the Elephant Seal to offer free public education about the Piedras Blancas northern elephant seal colony and the surrounding marine life.  Each of our sponsors offers a unique experience for the 1 million visitors per year to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. We hope you will take some time to explore the area during your visit.

Corporate Voyager

Marta Heflin Foundation

Corporate Beachmaster

Cavalier Oceanfront Resort


Corporate Sponsor

Cambria Pines Lodge
The Sea Chest


Community Circle

Get the Latest News & Updates


Friends of the Elephant Seal is a 501(c) (3) non- profit corporation, relying on grants, sponsorships, memberships and your donations. Your charitable contribution supports our programs.

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Friends of the Elephant Seal is a cooperating association with California State Parks.

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