Point Lobos State Nature Reserve – California, USA

This week’s journey takes us back to one of our favorite spots along the California coast: Point Lobos State Nature Reserve. Long considered the “crown jewel” of the Golden State’s 280 state parks, Point Lobos is a gorgeous place to stop and stretch your legs while traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Located just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea on SR 1, Point Lobos – its name derived from the offshore rocks at Punta de los Lobos Marinos, Point of the Sea Wolves – offers a truly unique combination of natural beauty, ecological significance and historical value. The nature reserve itself contains a varied landscape of wooded headlands, sheltered coves and rolling meadows. The spectacular beauty here extends off the coast to include the underwater world of the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve (which may only be explored by certified divers), one of the richest marine habitats in California. Wildlife in the reserve includes thousands of seabirds and a variety of seals, sea lions, sea otters and – from December to May – migrating gray whales. Hiking trails throughout Point Lobos offer human visitors access to breathtaking vistas, white sand beaches and brilliant displays of seasonal wildflowers. A bit of history can be explored here, too – a cabin built by fisherman during the time these waters were used for whaling and abalone harvest is now a cultural history museum.

We’ve made it a point to visit this beautiful reserve on multiple road trips between our home in San Diego and our families’ homes in Washington State. The photographs below were captured during two separate visits years apart (both sometime in the early summer), but any time of year is the right time to explore this incredible conservation area.

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As noted by the Point Lobos Foundation, Point Lobos is a natural reserve, not a park, and afforded the highest level of statewide protection. The purpose of a reserve is to forever protect an area of unique natural beauty and ecological significance. You can do your part by staying on marked trails, leaving natural objects where you find them, and respecting wildlife in their natural habitat.”

Thank you for joining us on the adventure along California’s beautiful coastline! – T. & B. June

Next week’s journey: Rovinj – Croatia

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