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Where Seals Go To Get Down

Rookery, the word exudes so much more wonder and intrigue than ‘breeding ground’ or ‘seal brothel’. Whatever term you prefer, midway up the California Coast, along Route 1, the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is the perfect place to see a bunch of laid out, relaxed seals.  These seals aren’t barking for food or chasing off visitors, as they do at many easily accessible tourist sights, they’re hanging around, getting laid and starting families.  Visiting here is a great way to get within a few yards of large packs of seals, while enjoying a nearly pristine, natural environment.

The seals began to naturally congregate on these beaches in 1990 and have since become a permanent fixture.  Now-a-days, a boardwalk and a few informational signs are all that designate this park as anything other than a roadside vista point, maintaining the undisturbed setting that originally attracted the seals.  The care taken to protect the seals is obvious from the ample barking that can be heard even before getting out of the car.  These seals are worry free, but their safety doesn’t mean visitors are kept hundreds of feet away from their beaches.  With the low cliff coastline, many days visitors can find themselves only a few yards away from an elephant seal, while still giving the seals enough space to not feel threatened.  Typically any one seal will only stay at the beach for a month, however, seals can be found here year round, with the highest concentration generally occurring around February 14, Valentines Day.

Honestly, it’s pleasant here.  The natural setting isn’t just given to the elephant seals, it’s also extended to visitors.  Even a dozen yards from Route 1, the only sound I noticed was the continual barking of the seals.  Walking along the cliff overlooking the seals, the boardwalk gave way to a dirt path, the wooden fence disappeared and we were alone in Central California’s grassy coast.  While the viewing platform definitely gave the view of the most seals, we found several seals ourselves dotted along the rocky shore we were wandering along.

This rookery has played home to thousands of seals since they first started arriving, and visitors are treated not only to close-up views of adult seals but also baby seals and seal pups getting used to the water for the first time.  Ultimately though, the best part of the visit might be the undisturbed setting.  No matter what your preferred synonym for ‘rookery’ is, the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery = sexy nature.

If you have any questions, make sure to check out the Elephant Seal Rookery’s FAQ’s, there are answers there to nearly every conceivable seal issue.

Travel Tip: If you are looking to get upclose and personal, while staying a bit closer to the world.  Try taking a trip to Melbourne.  This metropolitan city is only a few hours from some amazing animal and nature attractions, meaning a day trip can still end in a great night out.  If you’ve never been to the city, consider getting a deal on a hotel with a concierge, so they can help you make the most of your time.