Harbor Seals

Harbor Seals

Animals and Wildlife

Scenic Monterey County is one of the richest ecological regions along California's central coast, as proven by the diverse species that call it home. Whether you take your joy in spotting the creatures of land, air or sea, there's plenty to see here.

Whales, Sea Otters, Seals & Sea Lions

As spring progresses and the days grow longer, the great migration of gray whales heading south from the Bering Sea to the calving lagoons off Mexico's Baja Peninsula draws to a close. During the season's peak (roughly December through March), as many as 7,000 gray whales pass south through the offshore waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Their place in the binoculars and spotting scopes of whale watchers is later taken by a multitude of other marine mammals. This abundance of marine life attracts year-round whale watching cruises that depart from Monterey and Moss Landing in Monterey County. They're led by experienced captains and naturalists who are delighted to introduce visitors to the fascinating and beautiful creatures who call our California waters home.

Sea otters delight all with their playful antics and can be seen at Municipal and Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, the Breakwater, Lovers Point, Otter Point, Point Piños, Point Joe, Bird and Seal Rocks, Cypress Point, Pescadero Point, Carmel Point, and Point Lobos. Listen for the distinctive tap-tap of rock on shell-it's likely to be an otter cracking open a lunch of abalone or clams.

Harbor seals, sea lions and elephant seals are fascinating residents of the Central Coast. They often bask-and bark!-on local beaches and rocks. These lackadaisical sea creatures inhabit the same areas as otters, and can often be seen piled on mile markers, dinghies, floating docks, and any other available spaces around the harbor. Especially during the birthing season, these mammals' privacy must be respected, and screens may block your view on 17-Mile Drive. They are protected by law, so remember to keep your distance.

Lay of the Land

click to enlarge map

Lay of the Land

LayoftheLand

VIEW MONTEREY COUNTY MAP

County Map

VIEW DETAILED MAPS

Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.

WANT TO GET HERE FAST?

Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

x
Sign up for our eNewsletter!
Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more.

more

Free Travel Guide
Get your digital guide now!
Find out everything there is to see and do with the 2015 Official Travel Guide. more

 

Monterey Spotlight
 
 

Featured Events

Feb
28
2015

Steinbeck's Birthday Celebration

Feb. 28
On Saturday, February 28th, 2015, from 11am to 4pm the National Steinbeck Center…more
Mar
5
2015

GourmetFest

Mar. 5-Mar. 8
A four day foodie extravaganza featuring an exclusive roster of Relais &…more
Mar
6
2015

Jazz Bash by the Bay

Mar. 6-Mar. 8
Three days of top Dixieland and Swing at the Monterey Conference Center and the…more
All

Activities

Nov 18, 2014
- Apr 1, 2015

Surf and Turf Package

Tradewinds Carmel
Enjoy a relaxing night in a luxurious King or Queen/Queen room. Spend the Day…

FREE APPETIZER or 1 HR of POOL

Blue Fin Cafe & Billiards
Choose a FREE APP or 1Hr of Pool with any $20 purchase on selected items *Mention…
Feb 25, 2015
- Mar 31, 2015

Free Sailing Tour of the Monterey Bay

Martine Inn
Book a two night stay at the Martine Inn and receive two free tickets for a one-hour…

Equestrian Encounter

Stonepine Estate
Equestrian Encounter 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…

Estate Experience

Stonepine Estate
Estate Experience 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations …

Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

Stonepine Estate
Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…

Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card

Fisherman's Wharf Association
The “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card and Special Offers Campaign includes a…
All