Año Nuevo State Reserve
Año Nuevo State Reserve
4.5
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Monday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Tuesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Wednesday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Thursday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Friday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Saturday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Sunday
8:00 AM - 6:00 PM
About
Home to the largest mainland seal colony in the world.
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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Tours & experiences
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Top ways to experience Año Nuevo State Reserve and nearby attractions

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  • Kate T
    12 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Elephant seals, 3 mile walk (round trip)
    3 mile round trip on gravel paths (with some sand near the beach) to see elephant seals. We were there in molting season and saw 40+ seals either on the beach or sparring in the water. Quite a sight. They were about 100 yards away but there are spotting scopes at the viewpoint and very knowledgeable and friendly staff. Ano Nuevo island (viewable through the scopes or binoculars) is covered with seals, sea lions and birds. Paid $10 to enter the park and stopped by the store to pick up our permit (free). If you love marine life and are up for the walk, definitely recommend. Would love to see them with pups. Total time 2+ hours.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 11 August 2023
  • TheV's
    Texas57 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very pretty and educational!
    We learned a lot about the elephant seals in this very pretty location! Do know if you head out it is a bit of walking. The seals were at the very north point the day we visited. It was a 4 mile round trip which starts off on easy path walking. Once you reach the sand dune part it is steep and slow. On the other side is more sand walking for awhile. Be prepared and bring water! There are docents at 3 locations that were very good about answering all our questions! We also saw many rabbits, quail, sea otters, pelicans, and lizards! Expect to spend a few hours there.
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 24 September 2023
  • Artay
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands56 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Not to be missed!
    We heard about this place and decided at the last minute to go on January 27, 2024 Briefly out, someplace not to be missed. Be prepared to walk, about 2 miles and about 2 1/2 hours. Our docent, Patty, was beyond great. Knowledgeable, passionate, and an expert speaker provided for time well spent. We will most likely go back at some point.
    Visited January 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 28 January 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles285 reviews
Excellent
202
Very good
63
Average
16
Poor
4
Terrible
0

Artay
Amsterdam, The Netherlands56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
We heard about this place and decided at the last minute to go on January 27, 2024

Briefly out, someplace not to be missed. Be prepared to walk, about 2 miles and about 2 1/2 hours.

Our docent, Patty, was beyond great. Knowledgeable, passionate, and an expert speaker provided for time well spent.

We will most likely go back at some point.
Written 28 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TheV's
Texas57 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
We learned a lot about the elephant seals in this very pretty location!
Do know if you head out it is a bit of walking. The seals were at the very north point the day we visited. It was a 4 mile round trip which starts off on easy path walking. Once you reach the sand dune part it is steep and slow. On the other side is more sand walking for awhile. Be prepared and bring water!
There are docents at 3 locations that were very good about answering all our questions!
We also saw many rabbits, quail, sea otters, pelicans, and lizards! Expect to spend a few hours there.
Written 24 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Kate T
12 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2023 • Family
3 mile round trip on gravel paths (with some sand near the beach) to see elephant seals. We were there in molting season and saw 40+ seals either on the beach or sparring in the water. Quite a sight. They were about 100 yards away but there are spotting scopes at the viewpoint and very knowledgeable and friendly staff. Ano Nuevo island (viewable through the scopes or binoculars) is covered with seals, sea lions and birds. Paid $10 to enter the park and stopped by the store to pick up our permit (free). If you love marine life and are up for the walk, definitely recommend. Would love to see them with pups. Total time 2+ hours.
Written 11 August 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danielle N
42 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
Honestly, we did not go there to see the elephant seals. We have seen them at San Simeon and enjoyed them. But didnt really feel as though we needed to see them during molting time....would love to see them at pupping time though!
This place is AMAZINGLY beautiful! Well maintained paths made it easy to walk. The views of the beaches and ocean - the plants - the birds - even a snake! AMAZING!
And the people who work there love it - and it is so apparent in their eagerness to share information and stories! So informative!
Very interesting movie to watch too. Nice interpretative area - nice gift store.
Definitely a place to visit time and time again!
Written 6 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

stefdoj
Columbia, MD254 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2022
Long walk through attractive vegetation, ponds, dunes and coast line. Saw about 150 elephant seals on the beach at the end of the 1.3 mile trail. Overall, enjoyed the stroll but saw many more seals without the walk further south, maybe at Piedras Blancas or thereabouts. The docents did a nice job, however, of explaining the seals' life cycle.
Written 14 May 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Theresa A
28 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
Have been to this twice now and learn something new every time. In November when I went, the seals were just starting the mating season. In March when I came back, the pups and "weaners" were still there and the adults were starting to head back to sea. The hike to the seals is lovely and the views are gorgeous. The last bit through the sand is a bit of a slog and could be difficult for some visitors. But it was definitely worth it to see the seals. We really appreciated the docents' information about the seals and having an opportunity to see them in a very natural environment.
Written 13 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

TraceM49
Hollis, NH245 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Couples
The setting is extraordinary! But what was more extraordinary was our luck! in getting to join a tour to see the seals since someone didn’t use their tickets!!! A once in a lifetime experience!!! Gorgeous and memorable!
Written 10 March 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Thaila S
San Mateo, CA61 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2021
Stunningly beautiful! I could have looked at these magnificent views all day. What a blessing to live within driving distance!
Written 7 September 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

NYCIrish1944
Granby, CT724 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2019
We were headed north on PCH # 1 ( Cabrillo Highway) after finishing our tour of Hearst Castle. There was nothing but the beautiful Pacific our our left. Then, we saw a sign for Sea Lions State Park.

Sea Lions State Park was just a parking lot and a short path to the beach area. Then we saw the marvelous scene. The beach was covered with Sea Lions, some very large (Elephant type). Our first thought was that they were dead !! Then , we realized that they were sleeping. Attached are the photos to prove it !!!
Great Memory !!!!
Written 20 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BetsyR19130
Philadelphia, PA107 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
Not since our time in the Galápagos Islands have we experienced viewing such pure natural phenomena. Our tour guide, Sharon, was wonderful, instructing about the Elephant seals and the natural landscape. Watching those huge creatures move, fight and nurse their pups was truly amazing. This should be a priority experience for all!
Written 14 February 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Año Nuevo State Reserve - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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