Point Lobos - Crown Jewel of the California State Parks

Just south of Monterey, California lies one of the most beautiful coastal parks in the United States - Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. I...

Just south of Monterey, California lies one of the most beautiful coastal parks in the United States - Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. It's been an inspiration place for thousands of artists from all over the world. And it's especially frequented by nature and wedding photographers thanks for its rugged coastal beauty and close proximity to San Francisco.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is rather small, yet offers a lot of opportunities to see marine mammals up close. These include whales, sea lions, sea otters and others.
Looking for marine plants and animals in tide pools is one of my favourite activities in coastal parks like Point Lobos. Sea lettuce looks yummy!
A colony of purple sea urchins. You don'y want to accidentally step on one of these.
Sea urchins hide in sandstone holes.
Point Lobos has many beautiful coves. If you look closer, you may encounter a sea lion or even a whale.
'Burnt hot dog' sea cucumber looks like a kidney or a tongue!
Striped shore crabs hide from people under rocks.
Amazing pallet of different colours for coastal rocks.
Wild flowers are abundant in the spring at Point Lobos.
Alexander Allan purchased a land which is now Point Lobos State Natural Reserve to protect it from development. He sold it to the state in 1933 when he was sure that it would become a park.
More waves!
Parts of the park are closed to ensure that breeding animals are not disturbed by visitors.
Volunteers help educate people and show what would be hard to spot otherwise (like sea otters).
There are plenty of hiking trails to keep you busy for at least a half day.
Lace lichen is the official California's state lichen. 
Lichen is the great indicator of air pollution. 
Beware of poison oak that can cause serious skin allergy for 75% of people.
If you have only about two hours, I highly recommend you take the Bird Island trail. 
Not only can you see a colony of nesting cormorants and sea gulls, but also you can spot quite a few seals. The iconic China Cove with its emerald blue water is now closed for visitors indefinitely as seals picked it as their rookery.
Seals cannot be wrong - this beach is probably the best one I've seen in California.
Carmel Highlands overlooks the bay from the opposite side of Point Lobos. 
Gibson beach which is quite nice is open to people.
Bird Island.
More wildlife.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is definitely the 'must-see' stop if you drive the California Highway 1. 

My other posts from the Trip to California:

Log Angeles from the Sky
Pacific Coast Highway - California's Dream Drive
Google vs. Facebook - Which One Is Better?
Point Bonita - The Best Place to Photograph San Francisco Bay
Coast Redwoods - The Tallest Trees In The World
Overwhelming Beauty of Yosemite National Park
Hiking to Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite
Giant Trees in Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon - One of the Deepest Canyons in North America
The Hottest Place on Earth. But Is It Really Dead?

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