Enormous beasts, snorting and fighting and procreating right before your eyes! See the little (70 pound) babies. See the alpha males fight for dominance. Hear the constant honking. Smell the….well, never mind. No bars keeping them back. No glass barriers. No guards. Nature in its raw magnificence!
And all you have to do is pull over on your way up the California Coast on Highway 1. Four miles north of Hearst Castle, twelve miles north of Cambria, there awaits the best viewing area for the elephant seals—a pull off with parking and basic fencing to remind observers that going down on the beach and intermingling with these huge (up to 5000 pounds) animals could be hazardous to your health. The best time to see them is December through March and then late spring into summer, when they return to molt. The rest of their lives are spent out in the ocean where they swim for months at a time, or in the Aleutian Islands where they also gather.
It is truly an unbelievable sight to see all these huge bodies—often hundreds at a time—spread out on the beaches, sunning themselves or arguing endlessly. There are often docents available to help explain the life and times of these interesting animals.
In the meantime, if you can’t make the trip, take a look at the seal live cam http://www.elephantseal.org/Rookery/livecam.htm
Or check out the Friends of the elephant Seals web site