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Where To See Seals In California – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to see seals in California then you’re in the right place.

There’s plenty of places to see seals in their natural habitat all over California, from Los Angeles to San Diego. 

This post will tell you all of the best places to see seals in California and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out.

Did you know you can also see sea lions in California?

Best Places To See Seals In California

This post covers all of the best places to see seals in California.

I’ve split the post into the following sections. Click on the link below to jump to a certain section.

Where To See Seals In San Diego

La Jolla Cove

La Jolla Cove is an excellent seal beach located within the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. 

They have a resident population of Pacific harbor seals that you’ll find either lounging on the beach or on the rocks surrounding the cove.

You can either view the seals from above at Point La Jolla or join them down on the beach.

Most people get out onto the sea and go kayaking! This allows you to get closer to the seals and ride alongside them. 

If you’re not into kayaking, there’s plenty of other options including riding a segway

Address: La Jolla Cove, 1100 Coast Blvd. (at Girard Ave), La Jolla, CA 92037

Check out the seals at La Jolla Cove in the video below:

Children’s Pool Beach

Children’s Pool Beach is one of the best places to see seals in San Diego.

It’s also located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego. 

The seals can be often seen lounging on the beach all year round. 

This is also the location where lots of seals give birth during pupping season, so if you’re lucky, you might even spot a baby seal.

Pupping season usually brings hundreds of baby seals to the beach (January – March).

During pupping season, the beach is closed to visitors but you can still get a great view from the boardwalk.

Address: Children’s Pool La Jolla, 834 Coast Blvd S, La Jolla, CA 92037

Check out the seals at the Children’s Pool Beach in the video below:

If you need a little help, you can join a self-guided walking tour of La Jolla.

These are super helpful and make sure you don’t miss anything! You’ll also learn lots of great facts about the marine life in La Jolla.

Boomer Beach, La Jolla

Boomer Beach, located in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego is a hotspot for seals!

Here you can often find seals relaxing or playing on the beach. 

They tend to hang around on the sandy area of the beach right next to the water. The seals you’ll find here are Pacific harbor seals.

Address: Boomer Beach, San Diego, CA 92037

If you want to have some fun in La Jolla you can join a guided snorkeling tour where you’ll see tons of animals including seals, sharks, dolphins and turtles.

This spot is often rated as one of the best places in the world to go snorkeling.

If you enjoy seeing seals, you may also be interested to know where you can see alligators & crocodiles in California.

Shell Beach, La Jolla

Shell Beach, also located in La Jolla, San Diego is a great spot to see seals in California. You’ll often find the seals here lying on the rocks or the sand. 

One of their favorite spots is on Seal Rock which is located about 100ft from the shore.

Address: Shell Beach, San Diego, CA 92037

Check out the seals at Shell Beach in the video below:

SeaWorld San Diego

You can see harbor seals at SeaWorld San Diego, as well as lots more interesting marine animals. 

At Sea Lion Point, you’ll usually find the seals happily sleeping on the rocks enjoying the sunshine. 

Address: 500 Sea World Dr., San Diego, CA 92109

Check out the seals at SeaWorld San Diego in the video below:

Where To See Seals In Los Angeles

Aquarium Of The Pacific

Aquarium Of The Pacific is an aquarium located in Long Beach where you can see seals swimming around.

There’s plenty of other animals to see here too.

They also offer a package where the animal care staff will take you into the seal enclosure to meet them.

You can even help to feed them!

Address: 100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802

Santa Catalina Island

Santa Catalina Island has been home to seals for a very long time. 

There’s plenty of places to see seals on Santa Catalina Island.

You can often see them in Avalon Harbor, but the best place to see them is at Seal Rocks, at the east end of the island.

At Seal Rocks, seals gather in their hundreds all over the beaches and the rocks.

Check out the seals of Santa Catalina Island in the video below:

As well as seals, Santa Catalina Island is one of the best places in Los Angeles to see dolphins.

King Harbor in Redondo Beach

King Harbor in Redondo Beach has its own colony of seals that love to gather in the marina.

The Portofino Hotel offers their guests a front-row viewing of the seals basking in their natural habitat and also has a gift shop with stuffed seal dolls (complete with a donation to the Marine Mammal Care Center).

You can see the seals from the harbor or you could go kayaking and get even closer!

Address: King Harbor, 208 Yacht Club Way, Redondo Beach, CA. 90277

Check out the seals at King Harbor in the video below:

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary, located off the Santa Barbara coast on the Channel Islands, is home to 3 different species of seals! 

Here you’ll find northern fur seals, harbor seals and northern elephant seals.

You can access the islands by boat. 

They offer lots of different activities including kayaking, diving and boat trips where you can see lots of wildlife including seals!

Los Angeles Zoo

You can see harbor seals at the Los Angeles Zoo. This is a fun day out and a great place to see lots of different animals including seals. 

Address: ​​5333 Zoo Dr, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Check out the seals at Los Angeles Zoo in the video below:

Where To See Seals In San Francisco

Año Nuevo State Park

The Año Nuevo State Park has one of the largest breeding colonies in the world for the northern elephant seal.

During the breeding season which starts in December, you’ll find up to 10,000 seals on the beaches here.

You can see the seals basking on the sand all year round here.

Address: 1 New Years Creek Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060

Check out the seals at Año Nuevo State Park in the video below:

The Marine Mammal Center

The Marine Mammal Center rescues injured animals including seals.

You can visit their animal hospital to hear about what they do and to see the animals they’re currently looking after.

Baby elephant seals are common patients from February to May each year.

Address: 2000 Bunker Rd., Fort Cronkite, Sausalito, CA

Point Reyes

Northern elephant seals can be found on the sandy beaches of Point Reyes.

One of the best viewing spots here is Drakes Beach which is right next to the Kenneth C. Patrick Visitor Center.

The best time to visit is from December through till March as this is mating season, but the seals can be seen here year round.

You can get excellent views of the seals from Elephant Seal Overlook and South Beach Overlook.

Address: 1 Drakes Beach Road, Inverness, CA 94937

Check out the seals at Point Reyes in the video below:

Did you know you can also see seals in Hawaii?

Where Else Can I See Seals In California

San Simeon

San Simeon

San Simeon has an impressive colony of elephant seals, the largest seals in the world.

In peak times, there can be up to 17,000 elephant seals on San Simeon shores!

The best times to visit are in January, April and October but you’ll see seals here all year long.

If you need help spotting the seals and want to learn about them too, get a self-drive audio tour.

You can drive along the Pacific Coast Highway at your own speed and enjoy the audio tour as you go.

The Piedras Blancas Rookery

Located in Cambria near Sam Simeon, the Piedras Blancas Rookery is easy to access and is open for free all year round.

It’s a great place to spot elephant seals.

The best time to see the seals here is from December to March but you’ll find them there all year long.

This is one of the best places in California to see elephant seals as you can get quite close to the seals.

Alternatively, you can also see them from above by walking along the boardwalk. At peak times up to 10,000 seals can be found here. 

Address: Plaza del Cavalier, 250 San Simeon Ave Suite 3B, San Simeon, CA 93452

Check out the seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery in the video below:

Monterey Bay

Seals can be spotted all year round on the beaches of Monterey Bay.

Some of the best spots at Monterey Bay include Coast Guard Pier, just next to the Reeside Access Beach Park where you’ll see lots of seals. 

Another good place is all around the docks and boats at Fisherman’s Wharf right next to Del Monte Beach.

You can go kayaking around the bay for the best view of the seals up close!

Alternatively, you can go on an electric scooter tour.

Address: 1 Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940

Monterey Bay is easily accessible from San Francisco.

The easiest way to get there is by joining a tour that will take you there and back from San Francisco. This makes the day super easy (you don’t have to worry about parking) and you can just sit back and enjoy your day.

Point Lobos State Park

This national reserve is home to lots of wildlife including seals.

The state park features lots of different walking trails which allows you to explore the park and discover the animals.

You’ll be able to see harbor seals at Point Lobos State Park as well as other animals including otters and whales.

Address: Point Lobos Parking Lot, 2 Point Lobos, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923 

Please note: this address is for the parking lot where you can start your hike.

Check out the seals at Point Lobos State Park in the video below:

Thanks for reading this post on where to see seals in California. 

Wherever you are in California, there’s plenty of options here to see seals in their natural habitat in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco and more. 

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