The true bad boys of the beach are back, and they’re lookin’ for a little lovin’. Every year at this time, elephant seals converge on their favored breeding ground: Año Nuevo State Reserve, 13 miles south of Pescadero on the San Mateo coast. Visit through March and you’ll be privy to one of nature’s most amazing peep shows: two and a half tons of testosterone-fueled seal vying to be the alpha male among a harem of discerning females. Be forewarned, things can get ugly as the bulls fight for their chosen seal-queen. To see all the commotion, join one of the reserve’s guided tours; these daily outings to the rookery get you as close as 25 feet to these behemoths. Bring a camera to capture the, um, action.
TIP: Want to overnight it? Grab a coastal cabin nearby.