The Miraculous Winter Sea Life of Pismo Beach

The winter months bring a variety of chances to engage with Pismo Beach sea life. From sea otters and seals to tide pool inhabitants, elephant seals and migrating whales, locals and tourists alike love to indulge in the nature of Pismo Beach and its surrounding areas.

whale watching

The Gray Whale Migration

The protected gray whales will be seen migrating through the Pismo Beach waters for the next few months. Thousands of gray whales make the journey from the Alaskan waters to the Mexican coast and back each year. As the gray whale population has steadily grown, whale sightings have dramatically increased as well, making your chances of spotting these amazing creatures during your stay in Pismo Beach very likely. Sight them from the Pismo Beach Pier or brave a whale watching expedition for an up close and personal experience.

Gray whale migration fun facts

  • Gray whales migrate over 10,000 miles round trip each year, which is believed to be the longest migration of any mammal
  • Gray whales travel an average of 75 miles a day at 5 miles per hour
  • Gray whales migrate south to Mexico to give birth and mate in the warm, shallow lagoons
  • Calves prepare for their first northbound migration by putting on 60 to 70 pounds of blubber a day and gaining strength by swimming against currents in the lagoons
  • Gray whales eat very little during migration and have known to go three to five months without eating

Elephant Seal Birthing and Breeding

Elephant seals spend eight to ten months a year in the open ocean and then migrate thousands of miles to their land based rookery for birthing, breeding, molting and rest. The Piedras Blancas rookery is seven miles north of San Simeon on Highway 1 and these spectacular animals can be seen birthing and breeding from now until March.

Elephant seal birthing and breeding fun facts

  • Adult males arrive at the rookery first to stake claim to specific portions of the beach through dramatic and sometimes bloody battles of dominance
  • The arrival of pregnant females peaks around mid-January and ends in early February
  • Birthing usually takes less than an hour
  • A mother vocalizes to her pup to bond
  • The peak of breeding is in mid-February and extends into early March
  • Elephant seals will lose almost a ton of weight during their time spent on land

Prime Time for Clamming

The Pismo Clam has been celebrated for years in the Pismo Beach community. It is one of the largest types of clams found along the California Coast and it is has been estimated that at one time approximately 150,000 people visited Pismo Beach in a single weekend to seek them out.

If you want to try your hands, your very cold hands, at clamming, now is the prime time for it in Pismo Beach. If you are going to dive into this adventure, make sure you adhere to all rules and regulations.

Pismo clam fun facts

  • Clams take approximately five years to reach the legal hunting size of 4 ½ inches in diameter
  • The largest living Pismo clam on record is 7 3/8 inches and estimated to be 26 years old
  • A 3 inch clam filters an average of 5,800 gallons of water per year to gather approximately 3.88 ounces of food
  • Clams are most commonly found on broad, sandy beaches with strong surf

Once you have ended your day full of Pismo Beach’s amazing sea life sights, you will want to rest your feet at the SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel. Book your winter stay with us today. You will not want to miss these unforgettable sea life adventures Pismo Beach has to offer.

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