If you plan on heading for sand, surf, and sun along the Central California Coast then make Monterey State Beach a top priority. This picturesque beach, also known as Del Monte Beach due to its proximity to Del Monte Avenue, is a favorite place for tide pool watchers, surfers, and fishermen. It has a flat beach excellent for beachcombing enthusiasts and the underwater park area attracts both new and experienced divers.
Monterey State Beach has public restrooms, concessions, picnic areas, and showers, making this a great place to spend the afternoon or the day. There is no entrance fee and the parking is also free. If you plan on parking on the pier, however, you'll have to pay. The parking spaces are ADA accessible and a beach wheelchair is available through Monterey Bay Kayaks. Call 831-373-5357 or 800-649-5357 for reservations. ADA designed chemical toilets are also located in each of the beach's two parking lots. Due to Monterey State Beach's popularity, the parking lots fill up quickly so visitors will want to arrive early on the weekends or visit the beach on a weekday. The park is open from sun up to sunset.
Diving and snorkeling are quite popular at Monterey State Beach as the underwater area of the park has lots of pleasant surprises. Divers can explore yacht wrecks and see extensive vegetation and sea life, such as sand dollar beds, octopi, sting rays, small crabs, large spider crabs, sea stars, snails, and schools of fish. The beach has a very easy dive entry with little boat traffic although the area is a favorite for kayakers practicing their wet entry and exit maneuvers. The swim out to the wrecks is easy for beginners, about 300 to 400 yards, and the wrecks are not difficult to find.
Other popular activities at the beach include volleyball, paragliding, and kite flying. Camping is not allowed but privately owned RV parks are located only a few miles away. Beachcombers enjoy finding sea glass and other treasures among the seaweed and it is common to see artists building sand castles or other beautiful formations along the beach.
Dining and Lodging
There are several luxurious accommodations located near Monterey State Beach. The closest are those in Monterey's Cannery Row area. The Monterey Bay Inn with its modern and spacious guest rooms is a contemporary oceanfront hotel that features feather beds, 300 thread count sheets, freshly baked cookies, complimentary breakfast served in the room, and deluxe bathroom amenities. For a delicious meal, visitors to Monterey State Beach will want to stop at Sapporo Japanese Steakhouse, a steak and sushi restaurant with a great view of the beach, entertaining chefs, and mouth-watering menu selections.
The mile long Monterey State Beach is shared by the cities of Monterey and Seaside. The beach stretches from Wharf #2 in Monterey near Fishermen's Wharf to Seaside with the most popular section near the Monterey Beach Resort and this section is easily visible to visitors from Highway 1.
Take the Seaside exit off Highway 218, west of Highway 1 or the North Camino Aguajito exit off Highway 1. The beach is located at the Del Monte Avenue intersection.