Our research is editorially independent but we
may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Cartoonishly clumsy, overwhelmingly cute, and majestically beautiful, the elephant seals are righteous dwellers of the Northern California coast and one of its most awe-inspiring natural attractions. Not only the beaches that these gorgeous mammals chose to inhabit are extra scenic, a vista of hundreds (and sometimes thousands) of wild animals in one place is a bucket list thing to witness. Naturally, such a spectacle brings many people so it’s extremely important to adhere to the rules that the authorities set for a viewing activity and not to interfere with the elephant seal business. In the 21st century, it’s all about sustainable eco-oriented tourism when a human is a respectful guest of the environment he observes.
The awesome news is that elephant seals love California. In recent decades several spots along the coast of the Golden State have become their breeding grounds to a huge cheer from marine enthusiasts and nature lovers. So here are the best places to see elephant seals in California.
Some safety tips for elephant seals observation
Although it feels tempting to come up close and pet the animal, it’s important to remember that the beaches of California are the wilderness for the seals. Any intrusion may lead to an attack, transmission of diseases, and, overall, an unpleasant experience.
That’s why the elephant seals are better observed from the distance. 100 yards is generally regarded as a safe distance for peaceful seal watching. The same stands for taking pictures. While a selfie with an elephant seal may sound like a harmless thing to do, in reality, it can be quite dangerous and state authorities specifically emphasize a prohibition of close-up photography.
So keep your appropriate distance and enjoy the fascinating wild spectacle of the lifecycle of these awesome animals.