San Simeon is a small town above Cambria and Morrow Bay that is known for two things, Hearst Castle and Elephant Seals. However, one of those two things is free to visits and the other is 25 dollars a person, so naturally I checked out the elephant seals along the San Simeon coast. These creatures are truly unique with their huge stature and overall playfulness. Wikipedia gives the following background on them.
Elephant seals derive their name from their great size and from the male’s large proboscis, which is used in making extraordinarily loud roaring noises, especially during the mating competition. The males can grow to 14 ft and 5,000 lb, while the females grow to 11 ft and 1,400 lb.
The seals viewing area is located right off of Highway 1 before you start the trek along the coast through Big Sur. The viewing area can sneak up on you, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled once you pass through the city of San Simeon. There are signs letting you know it is coming up though so if you are paying attention your should be able to find it. You will usually see a lot of people here and a lot of seals, like the below picture.
This is a popular attraction with many daily visitors and you can easily spend some time taking in the beautiful coast line that is adjacent to the seals. This is one of the most beautiful areas and you can see why the seals would want to come relax here.
You can only get about 25 feet from the seals at any given point. There is a long walk way that allows you to have many different views of them, but if you are going to take pictures make sure you bring a zoom lens so you can use it to capture fun shots.
The seals themselves are very playful, and they are always making noise and biting each other. You will notice that they are always throwing sand on their backs to protect themselves from the sun. It is funny to watch them do the worm up and down the beach as well.
The pictures may not show it, but these creatures are huge. I like the fact that I am on a viewing area because they appear to move pretty fast and outweigh the average human by 1100 pounds. Make sure you walk the whole length of the viewing area as there are more spots in the back where less people usually go. Plus the scenery is beautiful so you will want to take it all in.
If you find yourself in the area, don’t just visit Hearst Castle, spend some time with the elephant seals as well.
Check out the rest of the pictures and leave me a comment if you feel so inclined.