From coast to inland, SLO CAL showcases an incredible variety of wildlife. Along the shore, spot California gray whales, blue whales and humpback whales breaching and blowing at different times throughout the year. Dolphins are also a common sight, as are sea otters and sea lions. Scan the skies for pelicans, herons, egrets, peregrine falcons and other birds.
For a truly amazing animal sight, head north of San Simeon to the rugged coastline known as Piedras Blancas, and be mesmerized by the massive elephant seals. Once nearly extinct, approximately 17,000 of these giant marine mammals—males can reach 5,000 pounds (2.3 metric tons)— come ashore twice a year. Year-round, these seals can be seen on the beach, but the peak times to visit this extraordinary species are late January, April and October. Docents are usually on hand to answer questions.
Head inland for more animal sightings. Tucked into the eastern part of the county, the Carrizo Plain is home to California condors, San Joaquin kit foxes, coyotes, tule elk and many other species. Catch a glimpse of these wondrous creatures from your car, or stop at an overlook to take in grassland beauty.