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8th Annual Get Into Your Sanctuary Celebration:
Your Adventure Starts Here!
August 2nd – 8th, 2021

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the most biodiverse areas in our world’s ocean. Birds, whales, sea otters, and harbor seals call the sanctuary home. Some of the best ways to experience the sanctuary are through the many on-the-water recreational activities like kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, sailing, and fishing. Always practice responsible wildlife viewing and be sure to take the wildlife pledge!

image of a surfer contemplating the swell at Lighthouse Point in MBNMSPhoto credits left to right: Jon Anderson, Meg McWhinney, Nathan Coy

Join us for these special events!

Let's Go Fishing in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary


Lean back in your chair or on your couch and join us virtually aboard a kayak or charter boat to experience fishing in the sanctuary. Fish for halibut, lingcod, and rockfish nearshore. A licensed fishing captain and fishing guides will share their favorite tips, techniques, and strategies for getting the most from your fishing adventure! Free registration here.

When: Wednesday, August 4th, 2021, 3pm – 4pm
Registration: It's Free! Sign Up Here.

image collage of various people fishing in the sanctuaryPhoto credits left to right: NOAA, Jose Montes, Adam Helm

Get Into Your Sanctuary Scavenger Hunt!


You and your family can have a fun Get Into Your Sanctuary experience that doesn’t require getting wet! We have two scavenger hunt locations to choose from: along the Santa Cruz Wharf or at San Simeon Cove.

For approximately one hour, you and your family can participate in a walking, land-based virtual scavenger hunt to find clues that will guide you to each of the seven destinations, and using your smartphone to scan QR codes, each clue will be revealed. Complete your “Get Into Your Sanctuary Scavenger Hunt” anytime between ‪Monday, August 2nd 9:00 a.m. and Sunday, August 8th at 4:00 p.m. Each team that completes all the scavenger hunt destinations and submits responses to each clue will have the chance to win a Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary gift basket filled with over $100 worth of ocean-themed merchandise!

  • Sanctuary Exploration Center Sweatshirt
  • Stainless Steel Leatherback Sea Turtle Water Bottle
  • Santa Cruz Tote Bag
  • Two Leatherback Sea Turtle Stemless Wine Glasses
  • One pack of (4) California Coasters
  • Two “Get Into Your Sanctuary” Trucker Hats
image of gift basket merchandise

How it works in each location:

image of the exterior of the sanctuary exploration center in santa cruz, ca

Santa Cruz: Starting at the Sanctuary Exploration Center, use your smartphone camera to scan a posted QR code at the entrance to open your first clue to your next destination along the Santa Cruz Wharf. Repeat until you have found all seven destinations (using associated QR codes) and submitted your responses to the clue instructions to complete your scavenger hunt challenge! This activity takes approximately about 60 minutes to complete a one mile loop.

image of the exterior of the coastal discovery center in san simeon, ca

San Simeon: Starting at the Coastal Discovery Center, use your smartphone camera to scan a posted QR code at the entrance to open your first clue to your next destination within San Simeon Cove. Repeat until you have found all seven destinations (using associated QR codes) and submitted your responses to the clue instructions to complete your scavenger hunt challenge! This activity takes approximately about 60 minutes to complete a one mile loop.

graphic of national park trust's passport logoBe sure to take photos of your fun along the way and post to your Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account and tag @MBNMS using the hashtags #ILoveMySanctuary, #RecreateResponsibly, and #WildSanctuaries

Check out the scheduled line up of other Get Into Your Sanctuary virtual events from across the National Marine Sanctuary System from August 2nd – 8th, 2021 here, and be sure to download the National Park Trust’s ParkPassport to collect your badge from each virtual sanctuary event you join!


get in your sanctuary photo contest header image

Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest

Show the world what the ocean and Great Lakes mean to you.

In celebration of national Get Into Your Sanctuary events, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries is hosting a photo contest. From Memorial Day weekend (May 29th) through Labor Day weekend (September 6th), send us your best photos of the National Marine Sanctuary System and help us celebrate the beauty and importance of these special places.

Winning photos will be featured in next year's Earth Is Blue Magazine and on the Earth Is Blue social media campaign. Please click on the year to view the winners of the 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 contests.

Remember to practice good ocean etiquette when taking your photos!

Photo Categories

Photos will be accepted from May 27th to September 6th in the following categories:

  • Sanctuary Views: Share your photos of beautiful sunsets or scenic shots of your favorite national marine sanctuary.
  • Sanctuary Life:Send us your best photos of sanctuary inhabitants like fish, birds, marine mammals, and other amazing ocean creatures.
  • Sanctuary Recreation: Enter your best images of people responsibly enjoying national marine sanctuaries, whether they’re boating, kayaking, diving, swimming, conducting research, or just hanging out on the beach. Photos should be taken following CDC and local guidance.
  • Sanctuaries at Home: Show us how you’re connecting to your National Marine Sanctuary System from home! Submissions to this category can include photos of stewardship activities from your home or neighborhood, or sanctuary-related artwork (paintings, drawings, etc.).

How to Enter

Submit your images (minimum of 1200 pixels wide, no more than 10) to us through this form. All images MUST include the following information: photographer's name, short description of when and where the photo was taken, and what is shown in the photo. If you would like us to tag you on Instagram if we share your photo there, please include your Instagram handle as well.

Remember to practice responsible recreation when taking your photos. When photographing marine mammals and other protected species, always follow wildlife viewing guidelines to ensure that you are not disturbing these animals. Help us highlight wildlife photography best practices by indicating what kind of camera/lens you used and the approximate distance from which you took the photo. Animals need plenty of space to stay healthy and safe, so let's share our collective knowledge of responsible photography!

Additional Contest Rules

  1. By submitting a photo, you agree to all rules of the Get Into Your Sanctuary Photo Contest.
  2. Photographers must be at least 13 years of age or older as of the first day of the contest (May 29th, 2021).
  3. We will assume that, in submitting a photo, you are the owner of the photo and have the right to publish it (including permission/model release for anyone identifiably pictured).
  4. By submitting a photo, you are giving us permission to use the photo for other purposes, such as on our website, on social media, and in other NOAA and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation publications. We will, of course, provide credit to photographers whenever we use any of the photos. Organizations other than NOAA and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation may use photographs submitted in this contest to promote sustainable and responsible recreation in the National Marine Sanctuary System. These photos are not for sale and are not for commercial use unless prior permission is arranged
  5. Only photos taken while in compliance with wildlife viewing regulations and government approach regulations will be considered. Do not harass animals just to get the "perfect" shot!
  6. Follow all social distancing guidelines laid out by the CDC and your state and local guidance
  7. Photos that are submitted without information on the photographer and a brief caption will not be considered.
  8. No watermarks on submitted photos.
  9. Photos should be a minimum of 1200 pixels wide (but the bigger, the better!).
  10. Please limit the total number of your photo submissions to 10 entries.
  11. Only one form per person needs to be submitted for all entries. If you cannot submit via the form, send all information and photos to

Help Us Spread the Word!

Tell your friends about the contest on social media, and download the printable factsheet. Please use #ILoveMySanctuary and #RecreateResponsibly


Send them to!