PescaderoOne day when I was driving to work, NPR was broadcasting a special program about elephant seals.  The host mentioned Ano Nuevo State Park in the central coast where thousands of elephant seals go to breed every year during that time of the year.  I was in need of a vacation and this sounded like a great weekend getaway.  So I put together a slow-pace itinerary that would give us plenty of flexibility and allowed us to relax.  (By the way, I LOVE listening to NPR, it always gives me weekend getaway ideas when the program talks about nearby state and national parks.)


Day 1 – Drive to Ano Nuevo State Park in the morning and purchase stand-by tickets for the guided tour.  Visit Santa Cruz Mission in the afternoon.

Day 2 – Spend some time walking on the beach.  Visit Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve.  Stop by Pigeon Point Lighthouse on our way home.

That weekend the weather turned out to be perfect.  It was in the 70s all weekend and there was no fog or rain.

Ano Nuevo State ParkSanta Cruz

Santa Cruz Mission

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

However, we ended up not going to the Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve because the monarch butterflies were gone early.  It was still a great weekend trip overall, and I got to enjoy the top down for a bit!

Pescadero in convertible

More information on the various locations:

Ano Nuevo State Park

There are elephant seals all year round but the hikes are different:

  • Breeding Season is 12/15 – 3/31.  Only guided walks are available and you must purchase tickets either in advance or at the door (first come/first serve).  We couldn’t reserve a ticket in advance so we arrived early and got the walk-in tickets.
  • Molting Season is 4/1 – 8/31.  Only self-guided walks are available.
  • Fall Haul-Out Season is 9/1 – 11/30.  Only self-guided walks are available.
  • The trail is closed between 12/1 – 12/14.

Visit the state park website for up-to-date info.

Monarch Butterfly Natural Preserve

Migrating season is between mid-October to mid-February, although it may end early if the butterflies leave early.  November is the best time to visit.

Visit the state park website for up-to-date info.

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

The Boardwalk is a beach + amusement park in one.  The beach is very wide and there are always a lot of people sunbathing or playing beach volleyball.  On one end of the Broadway is an amusement park with a variety of rides.

Visit the Boardwalk website for more info.

Santa Cruz Mission

The mission is open to public several days a week.  Visit the state park website for more info.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse

You may be able to spot gray whales from the back of the lighthouse from March to May.  The hostel is very popular and is booked up quickly so if you plan on staying there, be sure to reserve your room early.

Visit the state park website for more info.  Visit this site for hostel information.

Photos taken by Vean Chen and Steve Chou


One comment

  1. Pingback: How Do You Remember Your Trips? | muah * g

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: