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Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary National Marine Sanctuaries Home Page National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Home Page

Wildlife Viewing

Often called the “Serengeti of the Sea," the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is one of the best places in the world to see marine wildlife. You can see seals, sea lions, sea otters, whales, dolphins and seabirds any time of year!

Interns workingWildlife Viewing Tips

Here are some tips to help you enjoy watching wildlife in a responsible way, so you don't disturb the animals you see.

For more information, visit National Marine Sanctuaries Ocean Etiquette

elephant sealSeals, Sea Lions and Sea Otters

Learn about the four species commonly seen from shore, how to tell them apart and where to see them.

urban watch volunteers taking water samplesElkhorn Slough

The slough's waterways, marsh and mudflats are important resting, feeding and breeding areas for a huge variety of species. More than 340 species of birds feast here on crabs, clams and worms. Bat rays and leopard sharks cruise its channels. Harbor seals lounge on its muddy banks, and sea otters dive for food in the slough's calm waters.

Seasons in the Sea

A month-to-month guide to Central California's sea life


breaching humpback whaleWhale Watching

With 27 species inhabiting its waters, the sanctuary offers incredible year-round whale watching. See giants like gray, humpback and blue whales as well as a wide variety of dolphins and porpoises.

bat star in tidepoolTide Pooling

Looking for an exciting ocean adventure? Go no further than the sanctuary's rocky shores. During low tide, it's a great place to discover sea life without getting wet!

seabirdSeabirds and Shorebirds

Learn about the more than 180 different marine birds that visit or live in the sanctuary.

Wildlife Viewing Calendar

A calendar that shows what time of year you can expect to see certain animals around the sanctuary. (121KK PDF file)

Discover Amazing Wildlife

The sanctuary offers spectacular wildlife watching with its wealth and diversity of animals, many of which can be seen easily from shore. (382K PDF file)

Wildlife Locations

Find out where to see animals by looking at this map. (881K PDF file)

Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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