Año Nuevo Island is a small island off Año Nuevo Point on the coast of Northern California, between San Francisco and Santa Cruz. It is an important breeding site for Northern Elephant Seals and the endangered Steller's Sea Lion, as well as several species of seabirds, including Rhinoceros Auklets, Brandt's Cormorants and Western Gulls. Due to the number of seals and sea lions, great white sharks are frequently spotted patrolling the waters around the island. It is protected as part of the Año Nuevo State Reserve.
As recently as the 18th century, what is today Año Nuevo Island was a peninsula. It has since become separated from the mainland by a channel that continues to widen.
The island is restricted to members of approved research teams, and is closed to the public. It has a few abandoned buildings built in the late 1800s. A residential home and foghorn station, all abandoned. The original light tower was deliberately toppled in the early 2000s as it began to deteriorate and became a hazard to the resident wildlife. Some of the remaining buildings are used as research facilities.There's just something inherently awesome about old ruins on an island patrolled by great white sharks.