Hotspots Near You

  • 200. Pinnacles National Park, Soledad, California

    In January 2013, after more than a century as a national monument, Pinnacles became America’s 59th and newest national park. It’s known for its beautiful, towering, rocky pinnacles and dank talus caves, and it’s also a haven for birds.

  • 185. Hearst San Simeon State Park, Cambria, California

    A few miles down the road from the former estate of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst lies Hearst San Simeon State Park, one of my favorite birdwatching spots along California’s rocky central coastline.

  • 180. The Presidio, San Francisco, California

    Spanish, Mexican, and American flags have flown over the Presidio since 1776. Today the historic grounds, buildings, and artifacts are part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. New vista points, interpretive signs, and trails lead the way.

  • 175. Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, Murrieta, California

    Nestled at the southern end of the Santa Ana Mountains, this wild place is one of the last areas in southern California where you can see rare Engelmann oak woodlands, hillsides covered in chaparral, and vernal pools. The fleeting bodies of water, California specialty birds, and wintering Lewis’s Woodpeckers are the main draws for birders.

  • 172. Hawk Hill, Marin Headlands, California

    On this hilltop just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, you can see the San Francisco skyline, all of San Francisco Bay, the Marin County hills to the north, and Mount Diablo to the east. To the west, in the vast Pacific Ocean, the Farallon Islands are mere dots.

  • 167. Mendocino Headlands State Park, Mendocino, California

    This 347-acre state park consists of undeveloped seaside bluffs and rocky islets surrounding the town of Mendocino, two beaches, and the Big River, which empties into the Pacific here.

  • 160. Central Park, California City, California

    When our Central Park was developed in the 1960s, it was modeled after that much more famous green space in Manhattan. Ours isn’t as big as New York’s, but it serves a similar function: It’s an oasis for migrating and resident birds.

  • 154. Elkhorn Slough, Moss Landing, California

    Caspian Terns congregating on mudflats, plump pelicans plunging their beaks into the shallows for food, and southern sea otters cracking open clams — at Elkhorn Slough, one of the largest estuaries in California, I’ve paddled alongside them all. And the mudflats have always been a great place to beach your kayak near Long-billed Curlews, Whimbrels, godwits, and other shorebirds.