Hailed as the “crown jewel” of the California State Park system, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel is a beautiful area of natural beauty that is home to acres of magnificent landscapes and fascinating wildlife.

Drawing nature lovers from around the world, the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, California, commonly known as Point Lobos, is made up of three distinct areas – the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and two adjoining marine protected areas, namely Point Lobos State Marine Reserve and Point Lobos State Marine Conservation Area. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is managed by the Point Lobos Foundation and run by a model volunteer program that provides an array of services for visitors to the Reserve.

1.Things to See

Things to See
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Point Lobos State Natural Reserve features an array of habitats from rocky shorelines and crashing waves to scenic ocean hiking trails, magnificent ocean vistas, vast forests of Monterey pines, cypress trees, and wildflowers, and spectacular sunsets.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and its marine preserves feature several hiking trails, many of which run next to the ocean and beautiful beaches, as well as a museum on whaling and a historic building that was once used by fishermen from the area. The area is world-renowned for being an outstanding recreational scuba diving location, as well as swimming, kayaking, and whale-watching. The Point Lobos Marine protected areas are home to a wealth of marine animals, including whales, dolphins, sea lions, fish, birds and various invertebrates, as well as vast kelp forests that provide shelter.

The dramatically rocky coastline offers excellent tide-pooling, and the full perimeter hike is six miles, however, there are also shorter walks to enjoy. The wild scenery and attractions of the Reserve include shady cypress groves, Bird Island, the historical Whaler’s Cabin and the Devil’s Cauldron, a whirlpool that crashes against the shore during high tide.

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2.The Whalers Cabin – A Historical Museum

The Whalers Cabin – A Historical Museum
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The Whalers Cabin Museum and nearby Whaling Station can be found near Whalers Cove in the Reserve and showcases the dark history of the area during the whaling years. The Museum explores the rich and diverse cultural history of the Central California Coast and the Point Lobos area, which has not only been home to the original indigenous settlers of the area for centuries, but also to immigrants from Portugal, China, and Japan, who engaged in a variety of activities including abalone harvesting, fishing, whaling dairy farming, and coal mining.

The Whalers Cabin and nearby Whaling Station is open to the public every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and showcases an array of historical artifacts from the many diverse inhabitants of the area.

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Point Lobos offers a wealth of learning opportunities for visitors of all ages from exploring the surrounding nature and wildlife to personal development through docent-led tours, field trips and self-exploration of the incredible Reserve. Funded by the Point Lobos Foundation, a unique program offers specialized transportation grants for schools in economically disadvantaged areas and enables teachers to bring their classes to the Reserve to experience the beauty of nature.

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4.Visitor Information

Visitor Information
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Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is located at 62 California 1 in Carmel-By-The-Sea and is open every day from 08:00 am to 7:00 pm. Located on the central coast of California, the Reserve can be accessed from California Highway 1 just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea and is ideally located within driving distance of Monterey and San Francisco.

Visitors can enjoy volunteer docent-led walks around the Reserve to learn about the history of the reserve and the local fauna and flora that live within it. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve also offers school outreach programs, nature programs for young learners aged eight to 12, group tours and field trips.

There is an Information Station at the Sea Lion Point parking lot where visitors can find out all they need to about the Reserve, its hiking trails, and the wildlife that reside within the Reserve. There are also volunteer docents on hand to answer any questions about the Reserve and free maps of the Reserve and its hiking trails.

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62 California 1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, Phone: 831-624-4909

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Best Things to Do in Carmel, California: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve