The grasslands you see driving to the lighthouse and up to the Tule Elk Preserve are made up of remnant patches of coastal prairie and agricultural ranchlands. Cattle have grazed these areas since the 1830’s. Rolling pasturelands are made up of non-native annual grasses and clovers. Today, remnant coastal prairie patches are made up of perennial bunchgrasses like purple needle grass, California fescue and California oatgrass. Elk and antelope used to roam these grasslands, grazing as they wandered. Summers fogs maintain perennial coastal prairie species year-round. Learn more about how the park plans to restore the native coast prairie.
Springtime in the Seashore’s grasslands brings an abundance of common and rare wildflowers. Early in the spring Douglas iris and another much smaller iris, blue-eyed grass, start blooming. Yellow California poppies are everywhere.