Cayucos is located on California’s scenic Central Coast, halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Cayucos sits quietly between the Pacific Ocean and the rolling hillsides of open ranchland and is what some people call “the last of the California beach towns”.  

The recently rebuilt Cayucos Pier was originally constructed in 1872 by Captain James Cass, the Founder of Cayucos. The Pier helped to establish Cayucos as a commercial port for ships sailing from Los Angeles and San Francisco to bring in passengers and various goods.  It now serves as a community symbol and allows for fishing or peaceful strolls and wildlife viewing.

Cayucos offers the perfect remedy for those who suffer from the ills and frustrations of life in the fast lane in our crowded cities.  Peaceful, underdeveloped ranchlands with cattle grazing on undulating, oak-crested hills provide a respite for the city weary.

Where the Whales Are

Gray whales travel along the central California Coast during their annual migrations between their calving grounds in Baja California and feeding grounds in Alaska. The whales are generally southbound in December and January, and northbound in March and April.  The best time to see them from the Cayucos Pier is March and April, when mothers and calves travel closer to shore.

Humpback whale populations are rebounding, and are increasingly seen from shore along the Pacific Coast.  Dolphines are commonly seen from the pier, hunting baitfish like anchovies or playing in the surf.

Sea lions like to gather at nearby Mouse Rock.  Look for the buoy and listen for their raucous barks.

Explore the tidepools to the north and see more wildlife including starfish, sea anemones, crabs, or sea urchins.

“The California central coast is a spectacular place to watch marine mammals from shore. The Whale Trail makes it easier for visitors and residents alike to know where and when to look for gray whales, dolphins, otters, and seals,” says Donna Sandstrom, Founder of The Whale Trail. The six locations in Coastal San Luis Obispo County are the biggest cluster of Whale Trail sites on the Pacific Coast.”

The viewing sites in San Luis Obispo County are ADA accessible and provide identification guidelines to the most common marine mammals that can be viewed form shore. The current sites are:
*San Simeon – Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
*Cambria – Shamel Park on Moonstone Beach
*Cayucos – Cayucos Pier
*Los Osos – Bluff Trail in Montana de Oro State Park
*Avila Beach – Avila Pier
*Oceano – Ocean Dunes Overlook at Grand Avenue

Learn More

"The Whale Trail sites along California’s Highway 1 Discovery Route are representative of San Luis Obispo County’s ongoing commitment to Stewardship Travel” states Cheryl Cuming, CAO of unincorporated San Luis Obispo County’s Tourism Business Improvement District.  “We want to welcome visitors interested in learning about and preserving California’s natural areas and historic sites. We have also created Wildlife Viewing and Stewardship Tips so our visitors can enjoy our abundant wildlife both on land and sea”.  

The Visitor Alliance of Cayucos encourages visitors to connect, learn about, and preserve the natural beauty of our area through our many unique Stewardship Travel activities:
*Cayucos Beach Stewardship Cleanup Kit and Appreciation Tote Bag
*Estero Bluffs Cleanup
*Cayucos Land Conservancy Bluffs and Nature Walks
*Wildlife Kayaking and Cleanup Tours

For more information about the area and these unique visitor opportunities, please visit

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Post a Photo of this Site
The Whale Trail

Address / Contact

Street Address: 10 Cayucos Drive
City: Cayucos
State / Province: CA
Postal / Zip Code: 93430


  • restrooms
  • accessible
  • trails
  • picnic-area

Marine Mammals Commonly Seen Here

Marine Mammals Occasionally Seen Here

The Whale Trail is a nonprofit organization in partnership with
Partners NOAA Seattle Aquarium People for Puget Sound Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife The Whale Museum National Marine Sanctuaries