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A Rocky Beach With A Body Of Water In The Background
Winter is for Wildlife

Winter in Cayucos

The Best Time for Wildlife

Cayucos California is more than just a beach destination in the winter. Winter is the perfect time to visit Cayucos and for wildlife viewing. Ask any local what they love most about winter in our coastal town and you'll find that there's plenty going on beyond decking out your Christmas lights every December (but if you want to know what kind of Christmas activities there are, check here)! Cayucos California has something to offer visitors year-round, and it’s more than just a sandy beach town. There's so much to explore and enjoy when it’s not crowded. The opportunities for adventure and exploration are endless. Wildlife peaks in the winter months allowing wildlife viewing of creatures in their element. Sea lions, sea stars, sea urchins, sea anemones, elephant seals birthing pups, birds, dolphins, and gray whales - the abundance of wildlife make it a special time to be alive!


The weather in Cayucos during winter is mild with average temperatures ranging from the high 50s to low 60s. December and January tend to be the coolest months while February is typically warmer. Even though it may not feel like winter, there's still plenty to do outdoors. Hiking, biking, and kayaking are all popular activities during winter in Cayucos. So don't let the weather deter you from visiting this beautiful California beach town!

Things to Do this Winter in Cayucos

Cayucos Pier

The recently rebuilt Cayucos Pier was originally built in 1872 by Captain James Cass, the Founder of Cayucos. The Cayucos Pier is a great place to take a stroll, go fishing, or just enjoy the view of the pacific ocean. The Cayucos Pier is also a popular spot for whale watching, so keep your eyes peeled for some majestic creatures.

Whale Watching

The Cayucos Pier is a whale trail viewpoint and one of the best places to watch whales on the Central Coast of California. Every year, gray whales migrate from Alaska to Baja California to give birth to their calves. The best time to see them is from December to April. Grab those binoculars so you can also see other marine life such as sea lions, elephant seals, and dolphins. There are many different whale watching tours available, so you can get up close and personal with these amazing creatures. If you don’t do well on boats and a whale watching tour isn’t something you want to do, pull up a chair on a turnout off of Highway 1 or take a stroll on the Cayucos Pier with a pair of binoculars. The oceanic animal kingdom may put on a special show just for you out in the deep blue Pacific ocean.

Elephant Seal Rookery

Just 35 minutes north of Cayucos CA on Highway 1, exactly 26.6 miles is where you can find the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery in San Simeon. When viewing elephant seals in San Simeon, you can expect to see a variety of different behaviors such as mating, fighting, and birthing. You may also see them sunbathing on the beach or swimming in the ocean. Elephant seals spend most of their time in the water, but come onto land to rest and give birth. Females give birth to a single pup every year and nurse them for about a month before they are weaned and left to fend for themselves. Male elephant seals are much larger than females and can weigh up to 8,000 pounds! When viewing elephant seals, it is important to maintain a safe distance and not disturb them as they are wild animals.

Piedras Blancas Rookery is a great day trip for people of all ages, families, and curious minds that love to observe ocean mammals. There is handicap accessible parking in the most Northern parking lot. The trails are about .5 miles walking distance and there are knowledgeable docents wearing blue windbreakers available to answer questions.

Tide Pools

Exploring tide pools is a great way to discover sea life that would normally be under the water. Twice a day at low tide, you can discover a variety of sea creatures in shallow pools of seawater. Look for sea urchins, sea anemones, sea stars, crabs and more. Best low tide pools near Cayucos can be found between the two state parks: Estero Bluffs State Park and Harmony Headlands State Park. If you're looking for a really unique 'tide pool,' look inside the beached boat called "Point Estero" at Estero Bluffs State Park. This abandoned ship grounded in 2017 and has become a great spot to explore during low tide.

There are plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities in Cayucos CA, so get out and explore! This is a great way to get some fresh air and see some amazing views. Take advantage of the beautiful weather and mild temperatures that we have year-around. Be sure to bring a camera so you can capture some memories. With so much to discover, you’ll need a good guide to find all the best wildlife viewing spots, so our friends over at Highway 1 Road Trip created a wildlife viewing map and various suggested itineraries to pack in the most on your trip. Get the scoop on where to see butterflies, whales, elephant seals, otters, and birds, plus hikes, walks, and other must-have moments along Highway 1 Road Trip. However you decide to discover the wildlife along Highway 1, you’ll never look at it the same way again.

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