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Año Nuevo State Park,CA

Just off of Hwy 1, 20-miles north of Santa Cruz, Año Nuevo State Park is a breeding ground for 10s of thousands of elephant seals.

Every year between December and March, the elephant seals come to this park to breed and give birth to baby seals…awww how cute !!

At this time of the year, the park offers guided walking tour of 4-mile-hike through the sand dunes to get a closer look at these seemingly lazy animals. 

But they are nothing but lazy when it comes to establishing their territory.

It’s truly fascinating to learn about them, especially the fact that moms leave the babies abruptly at this park and the babies learn to swim, fish and track down the routes on their. Isn’t it amazing that they can find their way with no guidance ?!

So, to tell our little guy to be independent in future, we took him on this hike on a chilly January morning. He did great on the hike.

Tip: Book as far ahead as possible for the guided tour. They get sold out. 

Learn more about Elephant seals:

Reservation :

Our nieces, 9 and 11 year-olds were thrilled to see the elephant-seals and enjoyed the hike too. 

After the breeding season is over in March, there is no reservation required to visit the park. And there are still seals around after March too. They just come for different reasons. 

Check the park website for more accurate time-line.