Point Lobos

Point Lobos, California

Point Lobos, California

Point Lobos State Reserve is a nature reserve with stunning ocean vistas, craggy rocks, marine mammals, trails, beaches, and tidepools.



Harbor seal, Pt. Lobos

Harbor seal, Pt. Lobos

In addition to over 500 acres of protected land, it is a large marine reserve.  With 750 protected underwater acres, it was designated America’s first underwater reserve in 1973.


Located at the north end of the Big Sur coast, it is a 20-30 minute drive south of Monterey on Highway 1.


Kelp forest, Point Lobos

Kelp forest, Point Lobos

It’s another story of a hero behind the scenes.


By the late 1800s, Point Lobos had already been a livestock pasture, whaling station, abalone cannery, granite quarry, and a shipping point for mined coal.


Then it had been subdivided into 1,000 residential lots, when a man with a vision took action.


Alexander Allan bought the parcel and began to buy back the lots. The Save the Redwoods League also engaged in the effort, and by 1933 Point Lobos became part of the state park program; later expanding more acreage.


Black-crowned Night-Heron, Point Lobos

Black-crowned Night-Heron, Point Lobos tide pool. Notice the kelp?

Here you can see sea lions, harbor seals, and sea otters frolicking among the splashing waves and barnacled rocks.


In winter, migrating gray whales can be seen, blue and humpback whales also pass by.  Birds abound.


Extensive kelp forests sway in the ocean waves, adding nutrients and wildlife protection to these deep blue waters. Star fish, sea urchins, and colorful algae are easily observed when the tide ebbs.


Monterey cypress trees can also be found here, one of only two places in the world where this wind-sculpted tree exists.


Point Lobos Foundation website and more information.


Sea Lions, Point Lobos

Sea Lions, Point Lobos

I go to Monterey every few years.  Sometimes I don’t have time for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, but I never skip Point Lobos.


Every visit is glorious at this nature-filled wonderland by the sea.


Cupressus macrocarpa range map 3.png

Courtesy Wikipedia

Photo credit:  Athena Alexander



62 thoughts on “Point Lobos

  1. Hi Jet, this looks like a cool place! You mentioned forests of kelp – do you know if the locals eat this? Is it a local delicacy? Here in Wales we eat what is called laver bread which is simply a form of seaweed well cooked – it’s good!

    • I liked hearing about laver bread in Wales, Alastair. And yes, seaweed and microalgae are enjoyed by many in a variety of different forms, even salty chip-like snacks. Thanks so much~~

  2. I have had the great joy to drive that part of the Pacific Coast Highway and it truly is fabulous. It’s a place I would love to return to time and time again – and all I can say is thank goodness for people like Alexander Allen with their vision, and for the ‘Save the Redwoods League’. We have so much to thank these people for. Thank you, Jet for another superb post. I learn so much from you. Hope you have a lovely weekend…janet:)

    • How wonderful that you, Janet, a current Londonite, and the previous commenting blogger Alok, from India, have both visited this marvelous area of the world. And you are so right, my friend, we give great appreciation to these people for protecting this wilderness and making it available for all the world to enjoy. Thanks so much for your kind words today, Janet. (On a different note, I received the zazzle order from your website, and your lovely hummingbird pillow now brightens up my sun room.) 🙂

  3. Looks Wonderful 🙂
    (*^‿^*) ✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•.✫ღ˚ •。* ˚ ˚✰˚ ˛ Have a Wonderful Weekend my Friend~ ★* 。 ღ˛° 。✫¸.•°*”˜˜”*°•✫ (*^‿^*)

  4. Beautiful photos! I hope to travel along the coast on Highway 1 in the future and it’s funny how things change, since at one time golfing Pebble Beach was at the top of the list and now a visit to Point Lobos would be right at the top with it. Thanks for sharing this wonderful place!

    • Although the vistas are similar to those at Pebble Beach, I think you will enjoy Pt. Lobos, too, ACI. There is more serenity at Pt. Lobos. I know what you mean about things changing. It’s always a good thing….

    • Yes, it is wonderful to see, Sue. And of all the times I have gone to Pt. Lobos, I never knew the background until I researched for this post. These heartwarming events go on all the time, and what a joy to find and share them. I really liked your comment, made me smile.

  5. All of the trips up and down the coast over the years and we have some how managed to miss this (I blame it on raising kids and the draw of the aquarium that side tracked us)….not on my list of must do…great post!

  6. Well done Alexander Allen and others, what a beautiful spot. And thank you, Jet, for your words and Athena’s photographs (the harbour seal is a particular stand out!)
    Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks so much, pc, for your visit today, fun to be able to share Pt. Lobos with you. I really like the harbour seal, too. Sometimes they look at you with those big sad eyes and it is a piercing connection. Hoping your weekend is a delight~~

  7. I can see why you never miss visiting Point Lobos if in the area, Jet! We’re not sure if next year or the following, but we do want to RV up the California coast. I’m making notes from your posts, Jet, on tentative destinations! 🙂

    • Yes, what a beautiful place for all of us to enjoy. I am glad you enjoyed Point Lobos, Jan. If you are ever in the Monterey area, it’s a great place to enjoy a picnic or a half-day of hiking.

  8. One of my favourite places Jet. We used to drive down to Monterey in the Winters so I could wander through the ambience of Cannery Row and revisit John Steinbeck’s famous haunts. We took our canoe to Point Lobos which offered a very different view of the park (and Monterey). A little nerve wracking at times with the surf but beautiful. When I first started photography in the late 60’s Point Lobos was the place to go for landscape/naturalist photographers and your post today shows why.

    • Oh do I ever love getting this comment, testifying to the fact that this is such a beautiful place, and enjoyed widely and historically. It’s one of my favorite places too, Kenneth. I can see why it would be nerve-wracking in the water, because the water is choppy and spirited. Great to get your experience on it, thanks so much.

    • The early Spanish thought the Point sounded like sea wolves, which they think in later years is actually the barking of the seals. This makes sense when you are there because there is a lot of barking in the water. I think that’s so cool. Great question Nan!

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