The Point Lobos State Reserve, just 3 miles south of the city of Carmel in Northern California is a truly a jewel, and well worth the three or so hour drive south if you will be visiting the San Francisco Bay Area. We combined our overnighter with a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and wished we had planned to stay in the area for several days, and there is so much beautiful nature and California history to enjoy.
Deriving its name from the offshore rocks at Punta de los Lobos Marinos, which means "Point of the Sea Wolves", because the sound of the barking sea lion colonies on the rocks carries inland. The reserve has often been called "the crown jewel of the State Park System," and I can certainly vouch for that!
The view looking south down the rugged California coast is stunning and I regretted not having time to take a drive to explore those areas beyond, which are part of a well known region called Big Sur.
One of the reasons to visit Point Lobos is to see the sea lion colonies in the distance, though the flora is stunning as is the whole area which one can explore through various trails on the headlands and down to the water's edge.
The trails and rocky areas which one is allowed to explore are not difficult, but certainly not stroller friendly or for those with difficulty walking. The water worn rock formations are simply gorgeous, and my kids were so very excited to explore such an interesting place.
We arrived around 4pm, just in time to enjoy low tide, more access to rocky areas and some tide pools! The park closes at 7pm, and while we had enough time to explore the shore, we could have spent several more hours exploring the Cypress grove hike as well as a historic whaler's cabin within the reserve.
And more wow.
In one spot there is access to a gorgeous beach covered entirely in pebbles, and not far from the famous golfing area named Pebble Beach.
I'll admit, I couldn't stop thinking about pebble mosaics!
But don't forget to look up to witness gorgeous sites like these pelicans skimming the ocean surface.
From the headlands above, one can spot sea lions in small groups, like those here, or a large colony beyond, which was too distant for me to capture with my lens. Bring binoculars!
The headlands are packed with flora is many beautiful shades.
I was grateful that these European tourists has the good sense to wear such bright colors that truly looked fantastic in my foggy day photos!
Goodbye Point Lobos. We will be very happy and grateful indeed for an opportunity to visit again some time. And thanks so much to my mother for planning this little trip for us, as she wanted to share with her grandchildren a place that is very special to her! I hope I can be such a fantastic grandmother some day!
For more information about Point Lobos and camping in the area, visit the official Point Lobos website.