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Año Nuevo State Park

1 New Years Creek Road

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.


Ray Alan

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
Año Nuevo is every Elephant Seals dream to spend their time ashore. We visited the 1st week in May when the weather was in the high 50's. This is one of California's awesome state parks that makes it worth while for living here. For just $10 at the gate we were able to find parking easily and walked over to the visitor center where they validated our license to go see the seals. It is about a one mile walk to the bathrooms and this is half way and then another half a mile to the 1st viewing area where we were just a few feet away from baby seals and their mothers. At this time a year all the males are gone swimming around the Pacific Ocean. What appears to be a mansion out on the island is one of the old remnants of a lighthouse living quarters. Each viewing station has a highly informed docent who will be able to go into detail about the history and preservation efforts. Make sure to bring your hiking shoes that you can get dirty as there is a lot of sand to walk through. Make sure to bring a jacket as the weather can turn in the afternoon when the fog starts rolling in. If this state park isn't on your bucket list it should be. However the best time to come is from December to February when it is mating season and the male elephant seals return home.

Kent Gilbert

Friday, April 20, 2018
What a wonderful park! Knowledgeable and really friendly staff helped us get the most out of an incredibly rich natural landscape. The Stars of course are the elephant seals. To see them you need to be ready to hike about 3 miles r/t. It's a wide and smooth path, but it can be windy and cold, so be prepared. This is a great park. Enjoy!

Luis T

Thursday, July 5, 2018
Nice place to visit and do an easy seaside walk. Part of the trails were closed off due to safety reasons, but we were still able to make the most of what the park had to offer. Went on a holiday and it wasn't too busy, the parking lot had ample amount of parking. Part of the area didn't have cell service, so be prepared for that. Tip: If you don't like sand in your shoes, bring a pair of flip flops, part of the trail is walking through sand. Also, bring cash for the park fee, didn't seem like credit cards were accepted.

Christina W

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018
Such a lovely place! I visited this park for the first time to go on an Elephant seal tour. The tour was very interesting and educational, and the pictures I got of elephant seals turned out to be great. I appreciated the fact that the park officials only allow guided tours during this time of the year to protect the wildlife. The park offers beautiful views of the ocean, peaceful areas along the main path to sit down and relax, hidden benches and access to the beach. The entry is $10, the guided tour is limited and should be purchased in advance as it sells out most of the time, although if someone cancels, there is a chance you can get a ticket. By the way, the ticket is $11 (you get a hand bracelet with the date and time of your tour). Tours are not held every month, only during the mating season. Parking in plentiful and the access to the museum and along the main paths is wheelchair accessible.

Randall Cook

Wednesday, May 23, 2018
Beautiful, well maintained coastal park. Easy, wide, gravel hiking paths, plenty of restrooms, though only the ones at the parking lot have flush toilets. Lots of informative plaques along the trail. Beautiful flowers, lots of wildlife, a compelling beach, and great views of the coast. And that's all before you get to the elephant seals.

Año Nuevo State Park is not affiliated with AmericanTowns Media