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Point Lobos State Reserve, Point Lobos State Reserve

Highway 1 (just south of Carmel)
Point Lobos State Reserve , California
Tel: 831 624 4909's insider take:

This blustery jewel of a state park is famous for its wind-blown cypress trees clinging to the rocky cliffs, and for its hundreds of barking, braying, sunbathing sea lions. At low tide, tiny crabs and snails cling to the ink-black rocks and crawl in tide pools; you'll want to roll up your pant legs and explore. Harbor seals are born in the end of April and early May (bring binoculars if you want to see them from shore), and migrating gray whales pass by from December to May, making this a primo spot for whale-watching. There are several hiking trails; call ahead to ask about free guided walks. On weekends, though, be sure to show up early: Parking spaces are limited.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.