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Ano Nuevo State Reserve, Pescadero

4.6
#1 of 7 in Parks in Pescadero
Must see · Wildlife Area · Nature / Park
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Año Nuevo State Park’s rich variety of natural and cultural resources draws visitors from around the world. The park’s Natural Preserve offers an extraordinary wilderness experience, where every year up to 10,000 elephant seals return to breed, give birth, and molt their skin amongst the scenic dunes and beaches.

The park features the Marine Education Center boasting a natural history exhibit, bookstore, and theater. This complex is housed in the historic nineteenth century dairy ranch of the Dickerman/Steele family. These restored buildings recall the early American settlers, while the midden sites throughout the Natural Preserve tell us the story of the Quiroste Indians that lived peacefully here for thousands of years prior to the 1600s. Cove Beach is a short walk from here for beachgoers and surfers.

The physical terrain of Año Nuevo is distinctive, with coastal terrace prairie, wetland marshes, dune fields and coastal scrub hosting a high diversity of plants and animals, including the rare and endangered San Francisco Garter Snake and California Red-legged Frog.

A hike out along ocean bluffs brings visitors to Año Nuevo Point, a major bird migratory route and fantastic birding location. Located just offshore sits Año Nuevo Island and the remains of a 19th century lighthouse and fog signal station. Built in 1872, the historic keeper’s house now provides a new home to Brandt’s and Pelagic Cormorants as well as California Sea Lions. Otters and harbor seals are often sighted in the waters and magnificent Steller Sea Lions take up residence on the outlaying rocks.
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Ano Nuevo State Reserve reviews

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282 reviews
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  • 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... 
    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...  more »
  • 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....  more
    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....  more »

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