The bad boys of the beach are back, and they’re looking for a little lovin’. Every year at this time, elephant seals converge on one of their favorite breeding grounds, 13 miles south of Pescadero on the San Mateo coast: Año Nuevo State Park.
Book a guided hike (through March) and you’ll be privy to one of nature’s most amazing shows: two-and-a-half-ton male seals vying for the alpha status among a harem of discerning female seals.
Be forewarned, things can get downright bullish. Regardless, the behemoth seals are indeed a sight to behold, beauty and beast all at once. You can’t get super close (a minimum distance of 25 feet is required), so a zoom lens is helpful.
To see it, join one of the reserve’s guided tours—daily outings to the rookery that get you as close as possible to the scene, without disrupting it. Wildlife first! Bring a camera to capture the, um, action.
Año Nuevo State Reserve is 55 miles south of San Francisco on Hwy. 1. Reservations are required for guided walks to the rookery.