- View hundreds of northern elephant seals at the peak of the breeding season
- Spend over three hours wandering the dunes at your own pace
- Consult the 18 volunteer naturalists, park staff and researchers stationed in the preserve who will direct you to the best viewing areas and answer your questions about the seals and the park.
What makes Seal Adventures
such a unique experience?
Thousands of visitors come to Año Nuevo at this time of the year to watch these incredible animals, as two-ton male elephant seals battle for access to females, and pregnant females give birth to their pups. Normally, time viewing the seals is more tightly limited to accommodate the large crowds of people.
Your four-mile roundtrip begins with a walk over bluff trails and rolling sand dunes to the elephant seal viewing area. (An equal-access van and boardwalk, to a primary viewing area, will accommodate people who require assistance.) On the way you will see views of the ocean and Año Nuevo Island, observe the birds and other wildlife, and hear the guttural sound of the bull elephant seals in the distance. Arriving at the viewing area, be prepared for a memorable experience as you survey the beach crowded with hundreds of elephant seals—the males sparring among themselves, females giving birth and nursing their newly born pups, and seals mating before the pups are weaned.
Volunteer naturalists and park staff will be there to answer questions about the seals and the park. They will also direct you to the best viewing areas. Before and after your time with the seals, you may want to explore historic ranch buildings dating back to the 19th century, visit the Año Nuevo Park Store and Marine Education Center, and enjoy free refreshments in the old Horse Barn that now serves as a classroom and meeting area.
Tickets for Seal Adventures are limited
and will certainly sell out!
Seal Adventures will take place rain or shine. Prepare for an outdoor hiking adventure that may include wind, rain, and cold. Recommended clothing includes hooded rain gear, layered clothing, and sturdy walking shoes. For safety reasons, umbrellas and baby strollers are not permitted.
State law does not allow us to waive the parking fees. Therefore, normal parking fees of $10 per car will be collected at the gate unless an annual pass or other parking permit is provided. The park will be open at 7:30 am and light refreshments will be provided throughout the day in the Horse Barn, where you should check-in at the welcome table.
Seal Adventures are fundraising events for Coastside State Parks Association, which is a non-profit 501(c)(3) Cooperating Association founded in 1990. Money from tickets sold to the public will be used to support interpretive and educational programs at Año Nuevo and 14 other California State Parks on the San Mateo County coast.