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