At the Marin Headlands, you don't have to go far to see the kind of cuddly creatures Northern California is famous for. From seals and sea lions, to river otters and even grey whales, this ocean-side piece of National Parks land just north of San Francisco attracts all kinds of marine mammals and the visitors who love them.
Every winter and spring, approximately 18,000 Pacific gray whales embark on an annual migration from their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Bering and Chukchi Seas to warm birthing lagoons off the coast of Baja California. During the epic 10,000+ mile round-trip journey -- one of the longest in the animal kingdom -- gray whales hug the coastline, offering a rare opportunity for land-dwellers to catch a glimpse of these enigmatic creatures.
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to fly south with the birds for the winter to bask in sunshine? Well, if you can't join the birds, you can watch them soaring overhead as they travel to balmier climates.
There are giants in California. They jut out of soil dampened by fog rolling in from the Pacific and reach greater heights than any other living thing on the planet. They are the coast redwoods: the world’s tallest trees. Many of them grow to be over 200 feet tall and the tallest soar to over 350 feet -- higher than a 30 story skyscraper.
The picturesque Marin Headlands, located just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, is an ideal destination for wildlife watching. As part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA), the entirety of the Headlands, including the historic Marin Headlands Hostel, reside within federally protected lands, and enfold an astounding richness of biological diversity.
A national parkland and wildlife sanctuary, the Marin Headlands is home to a variety of important species, from the delicate Mission blue butterfly to the wily and adaptable coyote. Encountering these animals in their natural habitat is a highlight of any visit to the Headlands.