Something about the weather, the sea and the sand? We say yes! Here are the best beaches of the Monterey Peninsula, from the oldest beach to the newest, from the most famous to the most remote.

If you’ve ever driven south on Highway 1, you’ll know that the landscape changes drastically the further you get away from the Pacific Ocean. Pretty soon, you’re surrounded by rolling hills, grazing cattle, and endless farm land.A little farther south on Highway 1, on the way to Carmel, you’ll find the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. This 18-hole course played host to the inaugural US Open in 1937, capping the golfing career of none other than Bobby Jones.

Monterey is one of those places that everyone thinks about taking a trip to, but never gets around to doing. It has a lot to offer and if you decide take a trip to the town and stop at its many beaches, you’re certain to have a great time.. Read more about are monterey beaches open and let us know what you think.

The finest Monterey beaches allow you to unwind in a setting that will entice you to come again and again. Yes, Monterey’s beaches are really stunning!

Monterey County, in Central California, is home to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches. It’s not only beautiful, but it’s also home to a diverse range of marine life and birds.

From Moss Landing in the north to Big Sur in the south, the Monterey coastline is dotted with beautiful beaches. Whether you’re visiting the city of Monterey or the Monterey Peninsula, there are plenty of beaches to pick from.

15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapPfeiffer Beach is a beach in Pfeiffer, California.’s rock formation

We’ve compiled a list of the finest beaches in Monterey, along with recommendations for things to do and things to know before you go.

Monterey’s Best Beaches

Beaches may be found right in the center of Monterey: McAbee Beach and San Carlos Beach are just off Cannery Row, the city’s tourist hotspot.

However, venturing a little farther out will lead you to a plethora of other beautiful Monterey beaches, many of which are located far from the tourist traps.

Excited? Let’s get started exploring Monterey County’s must-see beaches!

Beach at Lovers Point

Lovers Point Beach is a wonderful place to go if you want to do some leisure activities. Lovers Point Beach, located in the lovely and quiet Pacific Grove, provides fine sand on two tiny beaches as well as a variety of fun activities.

1630117988_529_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapLovers Point Park has a variety of things to do!

Rent a kayak (or bring your own!) and take a trip around the waterways in search of marine life and birds. Scuba diving or surfing are two fun activities. Play beach volleyball, soak in the sun, or set up a picnic blanket on the sand.

Lovers Point Beach is one of the few beaches in Monterey where you may swim safely, but be aware that the water is chilly all year.

Lovers Point Park’s location, with its magnificent cypresses, crystal blue seas, and protected beach, will appeal to those seeking beauty. Photographing or painting in the open air are two of your favorite pastimes. Take a stroll along the cliffs that rise above the shore.

Do you like going to the beach early in the morning? Because it faces east, Lovers Point Park is one of the few places on the west coast where you can see the sun rise over the sea!

Along Ocean View Boulevard, look for street parking. Lovers Point Park does not accept dogs.

Beaches in Carmel

Carmel Beach is a lovely long crescent of white sand, surrounded by ancient cypress trees, and is considered one of California’s most beautiful beaches.

One of the finest things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea is to visit Carmel Beach: simply walk all the way down Ocean Avenue and you’ll arrive at the beach!

1630117988_799_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapSunset on Carmel Beach

At Carmel Beach, walking the beach is by far the most popular pastime. Many people jog down the beach in the mornings for fitness, but it’s also a lovely place to take a leisurely stroll. And the sunsets on Carmel Beach may be breathtaking.

At Carmel Beach, dogs are permitted off-leash as long as they are under the vocal control of their owners. Many four-legged guests may be seen playing in the waves at the water’s edge or romping on the sand.

You may also take a stroll over Carmel Beach along the lengthy beautiful bluff trail. It has several stairwells that go to the seashore. While walking, keep an eye out for sea and beach birds. Other popular activities include surfing, sunbathing, and beach volleyball.

While wading and playing along the water’s edge are allowed, keep in mind that the region is vulnerable to rogue waves and hazardous rip currents. At Carmel Beach, there are no lifeguards.

Beach at Spanish Bay

At Spanish Bay Beach, the sand is a brilliant white. On a bright sunny day, the contrast between the white beach and the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean is stunning.

Spanish Bay Beach, perhaps the most renowned beach along Pebble Beach’s 17-Mile Drive, is bordered by beautiful dunes and a golf course. It’s a long beach, which is great since it’s very popular!

1630117989_164_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapSpanish Bay’s beach is wide and sandy.

At Spanish Bay Beach, visitors enjoy walking the beach, sunbathing, sand play, surfing, picnics, and admiring the magnificent vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Due to rip currents, swimming in Spanish Bay is not recommended. Furthermore, the water is icy!

Walking the beach path is one of our favorite things to do at Spanish Bay Beach. The boardwalk path, which stretches from Moss Beach in the south to State Beach of Asilomar in the north, offers magnificent vistas and wildflowers throughout the summer months.

The sunsets in Spanish Bay are spectacular. Also, if you come here around sunset, don’t forget to listen to the bagpiper! The Bagpiper’s performance at Spanish Bay begins on the first tee and finishes 45 minutes later on the second green at The Links at Spanish Bay.

At Spanish Bay Beach, dogs are not permitted. The 17-Mile Drive and associated parking are both fee-based, although you may park for free along Sunset Boulevard and stroll to Spanish Bay Beach.

Pfeiffer Beach

Pfeiffer Beach is one of the most stunning beaches in the world. It mesmerizes you with its beautiful background of towering cliffs, purple-specked sand, and breathtaking Keyhole Rock, particularly if you come on a bright, sunny day.

Pfeiffer Beach is not part of either Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park or Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and is located in Big Sur. It is a stand-alone attraction that is part of the Los Padres National Forest and is maintained by the USDA Forest Service.

1630117989_18_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapPfeiffer Beach is a stunning beach in Monterey County!

Due to hazardous currents and rogue waves, Pfeiffer Beach, like many other beaches in the area, is not a swimming beach. However, it is a wonderful beach for walking since you can take in the beauty of the beach with each step.

Each winter, photographers go to Pfeiffer Shore to capture the rays of the setting sun pouring through the hole in Keyhole Rock, which lies in the sea right off the beach. The occurrence only lasts a few weeks, usually between late November and early February.

Other activities at Pfeiffer Beach include sand play, picnics, and searching for purple sand. Pfeiffer Beach allows dogs, but they must be on a leash no longer than 6 feet. There is a parking charge.

Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Beach, one of our favorite beaches in Monterey County, is ideal for a variety of activities. The beach is a lengthy stretch of sand bordered by rocks that is part of the Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds State Park.

Asilomar State Beach, near Pacific Grove, is a fantastic location to see the sunrise or sunset, particularly on days when the sky are painted pink and orange. We’ve also had a full moon here.

1630117990_963_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapSunset on Asilomar Beach

Swimming at the beach is hazardous due to rip currents and severe surf. Furthermore, the water is very chilly. Play on the sand, fly kites, walk the beach (including the Asilomar Coastal Trail, which runs through the dunes immediately north of the beach), picnic, and explore the tidal pools in the rocky parts.

The Brandt’s cormorants and sanderlings that frequent Asilomar Beach will delight birdwatchers. Gulls swoop about, their shrill cries filling the air. The waves at Asilomar State Beach are popular among surfers, and it’s pleasant to watch them from a comfy beach location.

On Sunset Drive, street parking is available, but on good weather weekend days, come early to get a space near to the beach. At Asilomar State Beach, dogs must be on a leash.

Carmel River State Beach is located in Carmel, California.

At Carmel River State Beach, the Carmel River flows into the Pacific Ocean, creating a lagoon that is a refuge for a variety of birds. Many terrestrial birds call the riparian corridor home. The Central Coast Birding Trail passes at Carmel River State Beach.

1630117991_1_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapA beautiful day at Carmel River State Beach.

Hundreds of pelicans, as well as a large number of gulls, could be seen in the lagoon when we went. Egrets, terns, and great blue herons may all be seen here. Fall and winter are excellent birdwatching seasons.

Carmel River State Beach is a great place to stroll. The mile-long crescent-shaped sandy beach, which is bordered by rocks and cypresses, is beautiful. You may spot the endangered western snowy plover as you stroll down the beach if you’re fortunate.

Due to rip tides and rogue waves, swimming is not recommended at Carmel River State Beach. The beach is a popular launch point for experienced kayakers and divers. Picnicking and sand play are also popular.

On good weather days, a tiny parking lot near the beach fills up quickly. Carmel River State Beach allows dogs, but they must be leashed.

Garrapata State Beach is located in the state of Florida.

The beaches of Big Sur are known for their beauty, and Garrapata State Beach is no exception. The two miles of coastline at the park’s southern end are part of Garrapata State Park.

1630117991_122_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapGarrapata Beach is very stunning!

Although the surf is hazardous, you may wade (or dip your toes) in the two streams that run parallel to the beach on their way to the Pacific Ocean. Garrapata Creek runs along to the beach’s southern end, while Doud Creek runs parallel to the beach’s middle.

Bring a picnic to the beach, sunbathe, or take a stroll along the long length of sand. The Doud Creek valley, which leads to the beach, has an incredible display of calla lilies in the spring that you will want to capture. The beach is very beautiful, and there are hiking paths on the cliffs above the beach.

At Garrapata State Park, mile markers 18 and 19 provide access to Garrapata State Beach. We typically hike the route from mile marker 19 to the sand steps.

On good weather days, parking along the shoulder of California Highway 1 may fill up quickly. On the path that goes to the beach at mile marker 19, as well as on the beach, dogs must be on a leash.

Meadows Beach in Carmel

Carmel Meadows Beach is located between Carmel River State Beach and Beach of the Monastery, and derives its name from the Carmel Meadows neighborhood that overlooks it. It’s a beautiful beach, and if you go early in the day, you’ll be able to enjoy it in relative peace.

1630117992_681_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapCarmel Meadows’ shoreline is both sandy and rocky.

The tides are hazardous here, as they are at many other beaches around the Monterey coast. The shore is rocky with sandy sections, making it ideal for adventurous beachcombing and strolling. At this west-facing beach, sunset is a fantastic time to visit.

Look for small marine life in tidal pools amid the rocks during low tide. Look for birds and marine life in the water while sunbathing or picnicking. Plein air painters and even artists who make lovely designs in the sand have been seen here.

The bluff path above the beach is a wonderful place to stroll, particularly in the spring when the trail is lined with a variety of wildflowers. The walkway provides panoramic ocean views as well as opportunities to see whales and other marine creatures.

You may get to Carmel Meadows Beach by parking along Ribera Road and then walking down the stairs. You may also walk the path from Monastery Beach’s north end, where there is a small parking space and street parking along Highway 1. Carmel Meadows Beach allows dogs on a leash.

Monastery Beach

Monastery Beach is located off California Highway 1 in a handy location. The Carmelite Monastery across the street gave it its name. Stop through the monastery’s gardens before heading to the beach, and take some beach pictures while you’re there.

The sand-covered crescent-shaped beach is ideal for walking. Birds are likely to be seen on the beach and along the water’s edge. During their journey south in the winter and north in the spring, look for gray whales spouting in the ocean.

1630117992_228_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapThe waves at Monastery Beach are fantastic!

Monastery Beach is a great spot for scuba diving. Experienced divers may search for abalone in the underwater Monterey Canyon, which is renowned for its diverse marine life and spectacular kelp forests. Experienced kayakers start from Monastery Beach’s south end to reach diving sites farther out.

It should be noted that Monastery Beach is not recommended for swimming, wading, or diving. Unwary visitors to the region have been washed out to sea at this beach, earning it the nickname Mortuary Beach. We’ve seen a lifeguard on duty here on occasion, and there are many of warning signs.

Along California Highway 1, parking is provided. Monastery Beach is near by if you are staying at Carmel Highlands. While the beach may become busy throughout the day, particularly if the weather is good, it is peaceful in the mornings and nights. Dogs must be kept on a leash.

Del Monte Beach is a beach resort in Del Monte, California

Del Monte Beach is a long and beautiful sandy beach in Monterey that is situated away from the city’s touristy areas. It is a popular hangout place for residents.

Del Monte Beach is sandwiched between two sections of Monterey State Beach: Windows on the Bay and Houghton M. Roberts, and you may walk from one end to the other, as far as Sand City Beach and beyond.

1630117992_880_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapAt Del Monte Beach, a fiery sunset PC: Laurie

Enjoy the local flora and wildlife while walking the boardwalk path that runs across the coastal dunes. Picnic tables and fire rings are available along the path and on the beach if you wish to enjoy a meal by the sea. You may also stroll on the beach. Keep your eyes peeled for marine glass!

Catch some sun and watch the surfers (or go surfing!) on the waves. Kite flying is also quite popular in this area. Because of the dangers of rip currents, swimming is not recommended. In the bay’s waterways, look for sea and beach birds, as well as marine life.

The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail follows the rear of the beach and is a nice stroll with wide ocean and beach vistas, as well as wildflowers in season.

The beach’s parking lot are located in the residential neighborhood immediately behind the beach, and street parking is also available. At Del Monte Beach, dogs must be on a leash.

Marina State Beach is located in Marina, California.

Marina State Beach is the place to go if you’re searching for a fantastic parasailing and hang-gliding location along the Monterey coast! Hang-gliding over the magnificent dunes, as well as surfing and kite-flying, are popular activities here.

Marina State Beach is a large, pristine stretch of sand located between Santa Cruz and Monterey. Swimming and other water activities are hazardous due to the currents. Admire the waves from a safe distance! Set out some seats to read on while catching some rays.

1630117993_708_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapMarina State Beach at Sunset! Chris (PC)

Walking on Marina State Beach is wonderful, but pack a windcheater or light jacket. At Marina State Beach, sunset is a fantastic time for photography. Dolphins may be seen playing in the waves, while whales can be seen spouting in the water. Binoculars are recommended for seeing a variety of species, including gulls and vultures.

The Marina Dunes Preserve, which is next to the beach, is also a wonderful area to stroll and look for birds and animals. The 170 acres of beach dunes on this property are the tallest on the Central Coast. Even if you are short on time, you may stroll among the dunes on a short informative nature path.

Take the Reservation Road exit off California Highway 1 and travel west all the way to the end of the road to reach the parking lot for Marina State Beach and Marina Dunes Preserve. There are a few parking spaces available, and the walk down to the beach is a sandy one. Marina State Beach does not allow dogs.

Rock Creek Beach Seals

Seal Rock Creek Beach is a lovely sandy beach located along Pebble Beach’s 17-Mile Drive. Seal Rock Creek runs into the ocean here, and if it’s running when you go, you may see water pool on the beach, which makes for a lovely picture.

1630117993_183_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapAt the beach, seals are swimming in Rock Creek.

Although the beach is tiny, walking on the smooth sand, exploring the stream, and looking for marine life in tidal pools are all enjoyable activities. Seal Rock, which is in the ocean off the coast, is home to seals as well as birds. The form of Seal Rock is intended to mimic that of a seal.

To the north, Bird Rock is home to a plethora of birds. If you have a strong set of binoculars or a zoom lens, you can hear barking sea lions and see them on Bird Rock. The ocean views from the beach are spectacular, particularly on a clear, sunny day.

Picnic tables may be found just south of the beach. If you want to sit on the sand at the beach and view the water or read a book, bring beach chairs.

You may park at the beach’s tiny parking lot. The 17-Mile Drive has a charge attached to it. Dogs are not permitted.

The Salinas River State Beach is located near Salinas, California.

Salinas River State Beach is a lengthy stretch of sand near Moss Landing, on the Monterey coast’s northern tip. While most of the beach is small, there is a large section at the Potrero Road entrance in the middle. The beach is framed by picturesque dunes. A few miles south of the shore lies the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge.

1630117994_454_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapAt the water’s edge, there are birds! Cindy (PC)

Salinas River State Beach is a must-see for birdwatchers. Pelicans, gulls, western snowy plovers, and other marine and coast birds, as well as numerous land birds including red-tailed hawks and California towhees, may be seen here.

This beach is particularly famous for fishing and horseback riding. Walking down the long beach or along the path behind the beach is a wonderful way to take in the scenery. Enjoy beachcombing while strolling and attempt to see animals and birds. Due to hazardous currents, swimming and other water activities are not recommended.

The Salinas River State Beach has three entrances. Sandholdt Road serves as the northern entrance, Potrero Road serves as the center gate, and Monterey Dunes Way serves as the southern entrance. There is no charge for parking.

All three parking spaces are connected by a path that goes behind the beach. On the beach and on the hikes, dogs are not permitted.

Gibson Beach is a beach located in the state of

On a beautiful day, Gibson Beach, a tiny gem of a beach near the southern end of Point Lobos State Reserve, provides for the ideal picture postcard. When seen from Bird Island Trail, the ink blue of the ocean contrasts well with the immaculate white sand of the beach.

1630117994_667_15-Must-Visit-Monterey-Beaches-MapGibson Beach’s ink blue water!

Gibson Creek, which cuts a gash through the sand on its way to the ocean, is occasionally visible from the beach, which is situated at the foot of towering cliffs. While swimming and wading are allowed at Gibson Beach, the water is usually very cold for the majority of the year. At Gibson Beach, we’ve seen a lot of people wearing wetsuits; you’d need one if you were going to be in the water for any amount of time.

Other popular activities at Gibson Beach include sand play, sunbathing, picnics, and animal watching. Complete Bird Island Trail before or after your beach visit: it’s a lovely walk where you’ll observe a lot of birds in the spring and early summer.

The Bird Island Trail leads to Gibson Beach. In Point Lobos State Reserve, park at the Bird Island parking lot and walk the route to the beach. To get to the sandy beach, you must descend a steep set of steps.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve charges a parking fee. You may park for free along California Highway 1 and stroll into the park, although the trek from the entrance to Gibson Beach is rather lengthy. In the park, dogs are not allowed.

Zmudowski State Beach is located in the state of Michigan.

Zmudowski State Beach is one of the most isolated beaches in our round-up, but it’s worth visiting if you want to see the natural grandeur of the Monterey County coastline without too many other people.

Zmudowski State Beach, located just north of Moss Landing in northern Monterey County, is a long and sandy beach ideal for strolling or beachcombing while taking in the scenery. On one side, the Pacific Ocean, and on the other, towering dunes.

Other popular activities at this beach include fishing and birding. Remember to bring your binoculars when you come since the marshes beyond the dunes (the Pajaro River estuary) are home to a large diversity of birds. Avocets, pelicans, and terns are all common. In the spring, there will be plenty of wildflowers to view.

The water line at Zmudowski State Beach allows horseback riding. Swimming and other water sports are hazardous due to strong rip currents and chilly water temperatures.

The beach and dunes of Zmudowski State Beach are breeding sites for the endangered western snowy plover, so keep an eye out for signage indicating nesting locations.

Zmudowski State Beach is located off California Highway 1 and offers free parking. This beach and the dunes are both dog-free zones.

Beaches of Monterey on a Map

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Monterey Bay has so many scenic beaches, it leaves you wanting more—so, here are 15 of the ones you should visit during your trip to the Monterey Peninsula. Some are known for their water sports, while others are known for their hikes, while others are known for their sheer beauty—all are worth the visit!. Read more about things to do in monterey and let us know what you think.

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  • monterey california
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