Salinas River State Beach Picture  Monterey County California


salinas river beach

fisherman and horseback on the beach

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Salinas River State Beach, Potrero Road, Monterey County, CA  offers fishing, horseback riding and numerous beach activities.


Salinas River State Beach, a California state operated beach, is located one mile south of Moss Landing at the Potrero exit from Highway 1.Salinas River State Beach features fishing, bird watching, horseback riding and includes scenic beauty as one of Monterey Bay's most interesting sand dune areas. Providing a natural habitat for many birds, you'll often see hawks, jays, valley quail, finches, sparrows, shorebirds and Western meadowlarks in the bay. South of this beach is the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge, home to least terns, brown pelicans and endangered snowy plovers. While the sand dunes are beautiful to look at, visitors must stay on the trail that follows the Salinas river (approx. 2 miles distance).


Located between Monterey and Santa Cruz, the beach sits in a slightly protected cove or land curve between the mouth of the Salinas River and the community of Moss Landing. Sometimes the odors of the water that empties into the ocean from the swampy lands next to the Salinas River are a bit pungent. If you try to put your finger on what the smell may be, it's possible that its naturally  produced through organic processes. In fact, we visited a favorite website,, which posts a report card weekly for beach water quality throughout the State of California.  In our current check of the beaches monitored closest to Salinas River State Beach, Pajaro Dunes beach near the mouth of the Salinas River holds a grade A+ in both wet and dry conditions. You can't always check the water quality while traveling and the postings are typically a week or two behind but what you'll find through this great web resource are beach locations in which you should proceed with caution because the water quality doesn't add up to healthy conditions.


Monterey County enjoys 99 magic miles of coastline.  While only a few of those miles translate into sandy beaches suitable for swimming or paddling, they do provide some great nature watching, beach combing, fishing, photography and other great activities. Several sources, including the California State Parks, recommend you not swim at Salinas River State Beach.  The water is cold, waves are strong, there are no lifeguards and the surf is unpredictable.

If you love color, the springtime brings saturated hues of wildflowers in bloom.  Against the deep blue sky and sea or nestled in the subtle sand  an overcast day, the flowers are great to photograph or paint as plein air art subjects. 

Equestrian Facilities

Molera Horseback Tours
Andrew Molera State Park
Big Sur

Monterey Bay Equestrian Center
19805 Pesante Rd

Pebble Beach Trail Rides
Equestrian Center at Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach