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Best Beaches Around Monterey

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The Monterey area is chockablock with lovely beaches. Whether you are looking for a romantic sunset picnic and bonfire, a wild and remote experience, or a place for a classic beach BBQ, you can find it here!

Good for
  • Nature Lover
  • Peace and Quiet Seeker
  • Beach Goer
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Like a Local

10 Places

4 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Monterey Bay

Bodies of Water

Asilomar State Beach

Beaches, State Parks

Lovers Point

Beaches, Points of Interest & Landmarks

McAbee Beach

Beaches

Breakwater

Nature & Wildlife Areas, Beaches

Del Monte Beach

Nature & Wildlife Areas, Beaches

Garrapata State Park

State Parks

Carmel River State Beach

Beaches

China Cove and Gibson Beach

Beaches

Moss Landing State Beach

Beaches

cara f's City Tips

  • Beach bonfires are acceptable at many Monterey beaches. Just look for the signs for details, and please be extra conscious of fire safety given California's susceptibility to wild fires.
  • Most of these beaches do not provide lifeguards, so keep an eye on your group and consider using personal flotation devices if you are going in the water.
  • Many beaches in this area do not have formal parking. Parking on the edge of the beach or along the road is common, but be sure to watch for traffic as you cross the highway.
  • The weather can change on a dime in this area, so be sure to come prepared for both sunny weather (hat, glasses, sunscreen) and chilly periods (sweaters and even pants). Even if it stays warm all day, you'll be happy to have those extra layers when the sun goes down!
  • Monterey Bay
    Bodies of Water
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    The Monterey Bay and, more specifically, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, is one of our nation's treasures. The Sanctuary was established in 1992 and covers 276 miles of coastland. Stretching from the Golden Gate in San Francisco to San Luis Obispo in central California, this is the largest marine sanctuary in the U.S. Protected wildlife flourishes here, every year migrating Humpback, Blue, and Gray whales pass through the area, and the resident wildlife — including bottlenose dolphins, otters, harbor seals, and California sea lions — is incredible too. To enjoy the splendour of Monterey Bay you need only gaze out on its craggy cliffs or relax on one of the many beaches in the area.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Take pictures, but keep your distance from the animals. Those sea lions are not as cuddly as they look (and they have terrible breath!).
    • Fun fact: The Monterey Canyon, in the middle of the bay, is one of the deepest places on Earth — roughly as deep as the Grand Canyon. Of course you can't see it from land, but it's fun to contemplate those depths as you look out at the water.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 76 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • My kind of town 24/11/2018
    • Stunning drive 19/11/2018
    • Monterey Bay
    Phone:
    +1 831-899-2441
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 am - 2:30 pm
    Other:
  • Asilomar State Beach
    Beaches, State Parks
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    Asilomar is a classic Northern California beach: craggy coastline, often wild surf, and a small stretch of sand. Although swimming is not recommended here, you will often see adventurous surfers seeking a perfect wave. The beach is home to a nice walkway for strolling, beautiful sand dunes, and, as one might expect, some fantastic tide pools (best enjoyed at low tide).

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • The Monterey Bay often has two low tides a day — check the timings online.
    • This beach is great for sunsets, but remember to bring a sweatshirt!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #2 of 32 things to do in Pacific Grove
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • The end of Monterey peninsula, good for hikers & walkers 05/12/2018
    • Nature is free 18/11/2018
    • Asilomar State Beach
    Address:
    800 Asilomar Blvd
    South of Lighthouse Avenue
    Pacific Grove, CA 93950-3704
    Phone:
    +1 831-646-6440
    Other:
  • Lovers Point
    Beaches, Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    Lovers Point has everything; a grassy area with picnic tables, grills for barbecuing, and a protected little cove with a sandy beach. This place is popular with both scuba divers and kids who want to make a splash, and during certain seasons you can see migrating whales. It's also common to see its local 'residents,' California sea lions, basking here.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is a good amount of parking at the park and along the shoreline.
    • The water is cold! Consider renting a wetsuit if you want to enjoy it.
    • Be careful — there are no lifeguards at this beach!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 32 things to do in Pacific Grove
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovers Point beach, park, and views 05/12/2018
    • So beautiful 21/11/2018
    • Lovers Point
    Address:
    Ocean View Blvd. at 17th Street
    Pacific Grove, CA 93950
    Other:
  • McAbee Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    Petite McAbee Beach is tucked right behind the Spindrift Hotel, smack in the middle of Cannery Row; and while Cannery Row may be bustling on a busy weekend, chances are that you will have this beach nearly to yourself! This is a great hideaway for a picnic, and kayakers putting out into the water are a common sight.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Many of the restaurants nearby offer takeout; consider ordering a gourmet picnic to go!
    • McAbee Beach is a great spot to take the kids if they have a bit of energy to work off while you're exploring town.
    • If you want to join the kayakers, there is a rental shop nearby.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #38 of 76 things to do in Monterey
    • Toes in the Water 14/10/2018
    • Not much there 08/04/2018
    • McAbee Beach
    Address:
    1 Hoffman Ave
    Monterey, CA 93940
    Phone:
    +1 831-646-3860
  • Breakwater
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, Beaches
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    San Carlos Beach and Breakwater Cove are favorite hangouts for local scuba divers (and the family and friends that often accompany them). The protected cove gives them a welcome break from the big surf that is common in the area, and a big patch of grassy lawn lends itself to lounging and picnicking. There is also a good stretch of sandy beach that is just right for tanning.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Thrill Seeker
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There are shops nearby where you can rent kayaks, snorkel gear, and wetsuits if you feel like getting in (or on) the water.
    • This beach is a short walk from Cannery Row, where you'll find restaurants, shopping, and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
    • There is plenty of parking, even for oversized vehicles like RVs.
    • The Coast Guard Wharf is teeming with sea lions!
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #22 of 76 things to do in Monterey
    • Great Dive Site! 30/10/2018
    • Great diving 05/09/2018
  • Del Monte Beach
    Nature & Wildlife Areas, Beaches
    cara f Says:

    Del Monte Beach, also known as Monterey State Beach, is very close to the Old Fisherman's Wharf. It offers a gentler surf than many local beaches, and the consistent breeze also makes Del Monte ideal for kite flying and paragliders.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • This is an ideal spot for a sunset soiree! There is plenty of room to spread out or set up for a party, and you'll find several places nearby where you can pick up picnic supplies.
    • The Monterey Recreational Trail runs right by the beach; consider renting bikes or taking a walk.
    • There is ample parking at the wharf.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #20 of 76 things to do in Monterey
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • A Runner's Perspective 18/11/2018
    • Gorgeous beach! 02/10/2018
    • Del Monte Beach
    Address:
    653 Del Monte Ave
    Monterey, CA 93940
  • Garrapata State Park
    State Parks
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    With nearly 3000 acres of parkland and a spectacular two miles of remote beachfront, Garrapata Beach and Garrapata State Park are hidden gems. If you wish, you could combine a day at the beach with a hike in the Coastal Redwoods (common to this area).

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Garrapata is remote and a bit wild — there are no facilities, and no shade on the beach. Consider bringing an umbrella if the forecast promises a sunny day.
    • Not all Monterey beaches face west; this one does, so it's great for a sunset view.
    • It is not recommended to swim, surf, or scuba dive off this beach, and there are no lifeguards.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #4 of 120 things to do in Carmel
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Lovely viewpoints 11/11/2018
    • Beautiful 27/10/2018
    • Garrapata State Park
    Address:
    Highway 1, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road
    Highway 1, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel
    Carmel, CA 93923
    Phone:
    +1 831-624-4909
    Other:
  • Carmel River State Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    Known locally as 'Monastery' beach (you can see a monastery from the beach if you look back over the highway), this cove can be calm and beautiful or raging and wild, depending on the surf. Like many beaches in this area, Carmel River State Beach is popular with scuba divers and has the added benefit of bathrooms and drinking water. It's big enough to never feel crowded, even on a busy summer weekend.

    Good for
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • There is no formal parking for this beach; park along the highway and take care when crossing the street.
    • Since there are no lifeguards and unpredictable surf, take extra care if you plan on getting in the water.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #3 of 120 things to do in Carmel
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Unexpected Beauty 03/12/2018
    • Beautiful Smaller Quiet Beach 23/11/2018
    • Carmel River State Beach
    Address:
    Carmelo St
    Carmel, CA 93923
    Phone:
    (831) 649-2836
    Other:
  • China Cove and Gibson Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    Gibson Beach and China Cove are just two of the many small beaches located within Point Lobos, one of the most popular coastal state parks in Northern California. You could easily spend a day exploring the park's many awe-inspiring coves and spectacular scenery.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Beach Goer
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • History Buff
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Point Lobos offers guided "Easy Access Adventures," for visitors in wheelchairs or with limited mobility, twice a month. Check out the website for a calendar.
    • The parking lot inside the park is small and often fills up early. Parking along the highway is common.
    • Scuba diving is allowed in the park on a limited basis. If you are interested in diving, contact the park well in advance of your visit.
    • Picnic areas are available, as are bathroom facilities, a small museum, guided walks, and more.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 120 things to do in Carmel
    • Best lookout for the sealion resting place 28/08/2018
    • One more way to see great coastline, especially is you scuba dive! 23/08/2018
    • China Cove and Gibson Beach
    Address:
    Point Lobos State Reserve
    Carmel, CA
    Phone:
    +1 831-624-4909
  • Moss Landing State Beach
    Beaches
    See more photos
    cara f Says:

    Abundant marine animals (otter sightings are almost guaranteed here!) and sea birds are hallmarks of Moss Landing State Beach, a wonderful place to spend some time walking the dunes and enjoying the views. This is also a great place to spot migrating whales in the right seasons.

    Good for
    • Beach Goer
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    • Nature Lover
    Tips
    • Bring your camera, but leave your swim suit at home — there are too many rip tides here.
    • The beach does not allow dogs or vehicles longer than 21 feet (no turn around for them).
    • The dunes are great for a picnic, as they offer protection from common afternoon winds.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #7 of 18 things to do in Moss Landing
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great place for everyone! 17/11/2018
    • Otters! 08/09/2018
    • Moss Landing State Beach
    Address:
    Jetty Road
    Moss Landing, CA 95039
    Phone:
    +1 831-649-2836
    Other:
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