Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, San Simeon

#1 of 63 in Parks in San Luis Obispo County
Must see · Gift & Specialty Shop · Visitor Center
Driving along Highway 1 in California, close to San Simeon and four miles north of the Hearst Castle, you can see Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop. With over 5000 births per year, the estimated total colony size of 25,000 seals makes this site the largest mainland rookery (birthing place) for the Northern  Elephant Seal species. Protected from storms and predators, with wide sandy beaches and shallow rocky areas, this location is ideal for the seals. Depending on the time of year, you can witness the birth of baby seals, hear the iconic roar of male seals during the breeding season, or watch young seals spar with each other on the beach and in the surf. Using our international travel planner, San Simeon attractions like Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop can form part of a personalized travel itinerary.
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Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 5.0
3,097 reviews
  • We have traveled the 1 for many years and really had no idea the Rookery was there. Loved every minute. So amazing to see!  more »
  • After our visit to the rookery, we stopped in here and had a wonderful chat with a docent. She answered all our questions with a friendly happy attitude. We picked up a few souvenirs to help support....  more »
  • i'm always a fan of the elephant seals gathered here. watching them live their lives is just plain entertaining. births, deaths, sex, fights. this is reality, not reality TV!  more »
  • Had a great visit
  • Thousands of lazy seals. Babies in the spring! A fun but loud and a bit smelly stop.
  • This was a great place to see the elephant seals in their natural habitat and to see them pretty close. The seals seems to know that they are stars here and tourist attraction, so they didn’t even pay much attention to the tourists. They were just doing their daily routine, like in this pictures the seal mums were just sleeping ;) This place brought a lot of nice emotions to our California trip!
  • Totally awesome! The beach was covered with seals and their pups! It was great to stop and see them just hanging out in a safe place. We lucked out and saw many pups with their mothers on the beach. Had a great time just hanging out and watching them. Was nice to take a break and enjoy some wild life!
  • When I came here I didn’t see any deals, not to worry travel 8 miles up the road to the elephant seal vista point and you should see tons of them.

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