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 Carpinteria > Points of Interest > The Harbor Seal Preserve
One of the most interesting secrets of Carpinteria is the Seal Preserve.  The Harbor Seal Preserve is home to almost 100 adult seals who give birth to their cubs on the Carpinteria shoreline.  The beach is closed 750 feet on either side of the rookery (as their nesting area is called) from December through May.  The seals are there all year long, but in the spring the pubs don't have the thick layer of fat that they need to protect themselves from the cold ocean waters. 

There is a long standing debate about whether to publicize them and risk having the privacy and quality of life for these amazing animals be deteriorated or to keep mum about them and risk humans and dogs wandering into their home and possibly doing a great deal of damage.



We think visitors will respect the seals - especially if they know that they know that there is a perfectly safe and wonderful way to watch the seals in their natural habitat.

You can visit the Preserve via the bluffs above the rookery rather than via the beach.  The seals are fascinating to watch as they move in and out of the water, bask in the sun, argue amongst themselves and dive for fish.  There will usually be a member of Seal Watch, a volunteer organization whose members monitor both seal and human activity.

Directions: The easiest thing to do is take the 101 to the Bailard Avenue exit. Turn towards the ocean and go into the Bluffs parking lot. From here you can follow the footpath that leads to down to the bluff, over the railroad tracks then along the bluff top to the seal rookery overlook. It is about a half a mile walk.

If you are around Linden Avenue and the City beach, there is a bike trail (the Coastal Vista Trail) that leads through Tar Pits State Park, then along the railroad tracks out to the seal rookery. From Linden it is more than a mile.

Click here to see a picture of the whole colony! (127 K)