The Serengeti of the Sea

Stretching from San Francisco to San Simeon and Cambria, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the nation’s largest marine protected areas, encompassing more than 6,094 square miles of federally protected marine habitat established for the purposes of resource protection, research and education.

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to one of the nation’s largest kelp forests and underwater canyons and boasts one of the world’s most unique and diverse ecosystems, ranging from marine mammals to seabirds, fish, invertebrates and aquatic plants.

From watching San Simeon’s world-famous elephant seals sun themselves on the beach to kayaking out to view the spectacular coastline and exploring the thriving sea life living amid the tide pools, the best way to experience the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is to visit this vast attraction for yourself. And whether you choose to discover this pure, natural environment on land or want to explore it by venturing out to sea, the wonders of the breathtakingly beautiful Pacific Ocean and its coastline await.

Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay
A joint venture between California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay celebrates the connection between land and sea with interactive exhibits, educational programs and annual events.

Free to the public and open on weekends all year long, the Coastal Discovery Center is the perfect way to gain a more in-depth view of the area’s natural history and efforts to preserve the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you.

Getting There
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary stretches from San Francisco to Cambria—simply cruise along Highway 1 to see it for yourself.

To visit the Coastal Discover Center at San Simeon Bay, head to William R. Hearst Memorial Beach, located just across the entrance from Hearst Castle on California Highway 1.

SeaPhoto App from Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Before you visit, be sure to download the  the Sanctuary’s SeaPhoto app, available exclusively through the iTunes App Store. Loaded with more than 1,300 high-quality photos of over 550 species living in and around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the app will serve as your personal guide to the marvelous array of birds, mammals and sea creatures that inhabit the area.
Download SeaPhoto app 

Features and Amenities
  • Beaches
  • Fishing Pier
  • Free Things To Do
  • Hikes, Guided Walks & Boardwalks
  • Kid Friendly
  • Must-See Spot
  • Outdoor Activities & State Parks