The Coastal Discovery Celebration takes place every January and February on the Central Coast, and there is no better time to pack up the family and head to Cambria to visit some of the local animals. Kids will love seeing the creatures both up close and far away, and adults will love the delicious food and wine, stunning views, and affordable lodging. Bring your binoculars for the faraway fauna and prepare for the ultimate family getaway!
Visit the elephant seals at the Piedras Blancas Rookery
The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is just up the road from Cambria. It’s home to about 17,000 animals in total, and seeing the animals in person is truly magnificent. Peak population is from February through early spring, but there are elephant seals stopping by to lounge year-round, enjoying their coastal residence.
Watch for whales and other marine animals swimming off the coast
As part of the Whale Trail, Cambria is lauded for its whale watching opportunities. The California Grey Whale southern migration occurs from December through February, while their northern migration takes place in March and April. Keep an eye out for dolphins, seals, and otters, too!
Ride horses in the hills or on the coastline
See the grand coastline as well as the unique Monterey pines as you ride through Fiscalini Ranch on horseback with guided trail rides from Cambria Horseback. The Covell Clydesdale Ranch is the only place on earth where you can experience the majestic Clydesdale horses grazing on nearly 2,000 acres of rolling hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean. At any given time, the ranch is home to approximately 100 Clydesdale horses of all ages, sizes, and abilities for riding and driving.
Bird watch in Fiscalini Ranch
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve is the ultimate spotting ground in Cambria. The preserve’s biological diversity surpasses that of many larger properties. Forming the half-mile, northern boundary of the preserve, tidal effect zones, seasonal freshwater marshes, and wetlands are a playground for native species like the cedar waxwing and swamp sparrow. Take a docent-led walk through the preserve to identify species with the help of an expert.
Pet the goats at Stepladder Creamery
Situated along San Simeon Creek in Cambria is a small farmstead with an avocado farm and goat dairy called Stepladder Creamery. Interact with the herd of LaMancha goats, tour the property, and taste the delicious, artisan cheese as you fall in love with this special farm.
Search for zebras at Hearst Castle
Only six miles north of Cambria lies Hearst Castle, overlooking the Pacific Ocean from atop the Santa Lucia Mountains. Craftsmen labored for nearly 28 years to create this grand estate, named after media mogul William Randolph Hearst. Everything about Hearst Castle is impressive, but the zebras in the adjacent fields are true showstoppers—if they decide to make an appearance, that is. Have your binoculars (and cameras) ready!