Winter Migration

Winter Migration Northern Elephant Seals, Gray Whales, Buffleheads, Monarch Butterflies and more all make their way to California's Central Coast each winter. With our Winter Migration Package you'll experience the majesty of migratory wildlife along coastal California while enjoying spectacular ocean views from your Moonstone Beach accommodations. You might even catch a glimpse of dolphins as you enjoy a fresh breakfast before heading out to take in the sights. Select Winter Migration Deal from the reservation page for this offer. Our Winter Migration Package includes:
  • 20% discount on your reservation at any Cambria Inns Collection property
  • Binoculars available for checkout from the front desk
  • Complimentary Cambria activity map with wildlife viewing tips
  • Access to a variety of free Coastal Discovery events countywide
  • Available for any stay January through March, excluding February 14-16, 2020
* Select Winter Migration Deal from the reservation page. Subject to availability. Taxes are not included and no other discount programs can be used. 48-hour cancellation policy applies.

Explore the Sights

Winter Migration

Northern Elephant Seals

Northern Elephant Seals

The Northern Elephant Seals stop near Piedras Blancas two times throughout the year, including in January and February, when the females arrive to give birth and mate for the season. These mammals are the second largest seal in the northern hemisphere, with males weighing up to 5,000 pounds. Between mid-January and the end of February, the Friends of the Elephant Seal host a weekly presentation followed by a Q&A session and a tour of the rookery.

Gray Whales

Gray Whales, which have the longest migration of any mammal, will travel 10,000-12,000 miles round trip each year between Mexico and the Arctic. During their southward migration they're led by pregnant females focused on reaching the warm waters of the lagoons along the Baja Peninsula. They tend to travel within five to seven miles of the shoreline so keep an eye out for their distinct tails, which can be up to 12 feet across. Santa Rosa Creek Park at the end of Moonstone Beach is an excellent spot for whale watching.

Winter Birds
Winter Migration


Join the thousands of birds stopping in Cambria and surrounding communities during winter. More than 200 species will fly over the region during this peak season. The Morro Bay Winter Bird Festival has something for everyone during a four-day bonanza of birds with events throughout the area.

Monarch Butterflies

January and February are the perfect time to witness the glory of black and gold monarch butterflies. Most will have traveled over 1,000 miles, braving harsh weather conditions, to reach their roost for the winter. Eucalyptus groves throughout the county can be found harboring these delicate creatures who will camouflage themselves in the leaves and cluster together for protection from the wind and rain. California Western Monarch Day is celebrated on the first Saturday of February each year.

Winter Migration

Piedras Blancas Light Station

Get Active

Coastal Discovery Center

Children love the Coastal Discovery Center in San Simeon with its free interactive exhibits and education programs. The Center, a joint effort between California State Parks and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 5pm.

Piedras Blancas Light Station Tour

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday the Piedras Blancas Light Station is available to tour. Originally lit in 1875 this historic monument operated for over 100 years before being automated. Designated as an Outstanding Natural Area, visitors often spot elephant seals, otters, peregrine falcons, harbor seals and sea lions from the shore.

Stewardship Cleanup Kit

For those looking to connect deeper while on vacation, Cambria Inns Collection provides stewardship cleanup kits. Each contains a collection bag, gloves, a marine debris checklist and an appreciation tote for guests to keep.