Northern California: Elephant seals, up close
January is the month when northern elephant seals (named for males' big noses that look like an elephant's trunk) appear on California and Mexican beaches to mate. Año Nuevo State Park and Piedras Blancas in Northern California have seal colonies that return year after year. Here's what they look like during breeding season.
— Mary Forgione
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Año Nuevo State Park
The trek out to northern elephant seal viewing sites at Año Nuevo State Park is about a mile long. Año Nuevo Island, where seals congregate offshore, can be seen off the coastal spot between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.