Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery

Wildlife Viewing Station - Elephant Seals in San Simeon


Located just 10 minutes from The Cavalier Oceanfront Resort, the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery offers visitors a unique opportunity to view these majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat. The elephant seals spend about 8 to 10 months a year living in the ocean. Twice a year, the elephant seals migrate to this land-based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting, and resting. The cycle starts in November when mature males begin arriving. Females typically arrive in December, when birthing and breeding occurs. The three peak times of the year to view the seals is in late January (when most births have occurred), early May (the peak of the juvenile/adult female molt), and in late October (juvenile haul-out). The Elephant Seal Rookery sprawls across six miles of shoreline around Point Piedras Blancas and features a dedicated viewing area that is open 365 days a year and is wheelchair accessible. There is also an Elephant Seal Rookery Visitor Center and Gift Shop located at The Plaza Del Cavalier in San Simeon, just a short walk from The Cavalier Oceanfront Resort.

Viewing Seasons

December - January

Mating Season 

Starting in November, adult male elephant seals start to arrive on the shore. Adult males will stake claim to female pupping areas on the beach. When another adult male challenges a pupping location, a fight for dominance ensues. 

December - March

Birthing & Breeding Season

Pregnant females begin to arrive in December with the majority of expecting mothers arriving in January. Births will typically occur a few days after arrival.  Most pups are ready to depart for the sea in March and April.

April - August

Molting Season

Starting in April, females and juvenile elephant seals return to the shore to molt. The molting season lasts four to six weeks. In June, subadult and adult males arrive to begin their molt.

September - October

Haul Out Preparation

From September through October, females and sub-adults arrive on the shore to prepare for the fall haul-out. This period is another peak of elephant seals on the beach.