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A GLIMPSE OF NATURE & HISTORY

PIEDRAS BLANCAS

PIEDRAS BLANCAS IS NOW PART OF THE CALIFORNIA COASTAL NATIONAL MONUMENT

On January 12, 2016, President Obama expanded the California Coastal National Monument to include the public lands at Piedras Blancas. The California Coastal National Monument stretches the length of the 1,100-mile coastline and includes thousands of rocks, islands, geological formations, and public lands. The fragile habitat is also home to millions of birds, land mammals, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and marine mammals like the elephant seals that feed, birth, breed, molt, and rest in the lands and waters surrounding the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse.

We are sure that national monument designation will help us here,” said Michael Hanchett, owner of the Sands by the Sea and President of the San Simeon Chamber of Commerce. “These benefits are not only tangible economic indicators, but they are also those things that are harder to measure: community pride, a celebration of our coastal heritage, and honoring native tribes.
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LESS THAN 10 MILES AWAY

PIEDRAS BLANCAS LIGHT STATION

A unique Central Coast landmark, the Piedras Blancas Light Station offers visitors a glimpses back to an era when lighthouses played a crucial role in maritime navigation. A historic park and wildlife sanctuary, Piedras Blancas Light Station is located less than 10 miles away from Sands by the Sea. Even before the construction of the lighthouse, early mariners used the distinct large white offshore rocks as navigational beacons. In fact, “Piedras Blancas” translates to “white rocks.” The area's jagged and rocky coastline made navigating through the area dangerous for ships, making the lighthouse a necessity. Construction of the light station began in 1874, and the original structure was 100-feet tall. In 1905, a fog signal building was added. Over the years earthquakes have caused damage to the light station rendering the upper part of the building structurally unsound. In 1949, the upper three levels were removed reducing the height of the tower to 70 feet. Currently, efforts are underway to restore the Piedras Blancas Light Station to its original 100-foot glory.

Piedras Blancas Light Station Information

15950 Cabrillo Highway
San Simeon, CA 93452
Access is only available by guided tours. Tours: Tue, Thur, & Sat morning.
piedrasblancas.org

Elephant Seal Rookery Information

250 San Simeon Save #3B
San Simeon, CA 93452
elephantseal.org

WILDLIFE VIEWING STATION

PIEDRAS BLANCAS ELEPHANT SEAL ROOKERY

Located just 10-minutes away from the Sands by the Sea, the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery offers visitors a unique opportunity to view these majestic creatures up close in their natural habitat. The elephant seals spend about eight to ten months a year living in the ocean. Twice a year the elephant seals migrate to this land-based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting, and resting. The cycle starts in November when mature males begin arriving; females typically arrive in December, and this is when birthing and breeding occurs. The three peak times of the year to view the seals is in late January (when most births have occurred), early May (the peak of the juvenile/adult female molt), and in late October (juvenile haul-out). The Elephant Seal Rookery sprawls across six miles of shoreline around Point Piedras Blancas and features a dedicated viewing area that is open 365 days a year and is wheelchair accessible. There is also an Elephant Seal Rookery Visitor Center and Gift Shop, which is located at the Plaza Del Cavalier in San Simeon, just a short walk from the Sands by the Sea.


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