So much to do and see. Enjoy golf, surfing, biking, walking, hiking, running, tennis, scuba diving, kayaking, and whale watching.
Explore the many activities that Carmel Valley has to offer!
Carmel Beach is a spectacular white sand beach with views of Point Lobos State Reserve and the Pebble Golf Course. The slope is gentle so swimming is available and the surf is good too (wetsuit suggested). Dogs may run off-leash here and bonfires are allowed in specified areas which is a great family activity. Get a picnic and wine at a local market and enjoy the sunset over the Pacific. Carmel River State Beach is also close by.
Carmel, Ca. ph:(831) 620-2000
In Carmel-by-the-Sea itself, right at the foot of Ocean Avenue, is Carmel Beach (not to be confused with Carmel River Beach, just a mile south). It's locally renowned for good surf and excellent dog-walking conditions, as well as breathtaking sunsets. An annual sandcastle contest is testimony to the quality of the silvery sands, which are punctuated by outcroppings of rock.
Evening sunsets are a community event at Carmel Beach; join the locals and bring a picnic meal and a bottle of wine while you watch the greatest show in Nature's evening schedule. Once the sun sets, light a bonfire and make s'mores under the stars.
Weddings and beach parties are a common sight at Carmel Beach. Planning an event with more than 50 people, catering, or bringing a generator? Make sure to contact the City of Carmel for the appropriate permits, as detailed on their website. Take away only beautiful memories, and leave only footprints.
The beach is level with the modest parking lot on Ocean Avenue; steep staircases lead to the beach from the limited, free, on-street parking on Camino Real or Scenic Road. There are no public facilities at the beach, but restrooms, restaurants and shops are available up the (steep) hill in town.
Carmel River State Beach is popular with divers, kayakers, and birders. Only a mile long, Carmel River State Beach includes the Carmel River Lagoon and Wetlands Natural Reserve, a popular birding area, and Monastery Beach, a popular diving area directly north of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve . This beach was an important spot for the Rumsien tribe. A cross at the beach commemorates one placed there by Spanish explorers in the 17th century. Swimming is not recommended at Carmel River State Beach, as the water is known for its unpredictable riptides.
Carmel River State Beach is a popular kayak launch spot. It has easy access to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Take a good look at the deeper ocean before you launch; the unusual drop-off near shore at Carmel River State Beach can make the sea look deceptively calm if you are only eyeing the waves at the shore.
The most popular diving spot at Carmel River State Beach is Monastery Beach, named after the Monastery of Our Lady and St. Theresa just across Highway 1. The kelp forests in the area provide a home to a wide array of marine life. This beach has a significant drop-off, leading to steep rocky pinnacles that are a diver favorite.
Carmel River State Beach can have severe riptides, and due to its steep drop-off can look deceptively calm. Please be cautious if diving at Carmel River State Beach. Divers are advised to enter at the far north or far south end only, and to avoid the center.
Carmel River State Beach is a stop on the Central Coast Birding Trail. While fall and winter is considered the best season for birding in the area, birders are likely to spot many species no matter the season.
The Carmel River Lagoon and Wetlands Natural Preserve is located at the north end of Carmel River State Beach. It is a good area for spotting the Great Blue Heron, the Virginia Rail, the Brown Pelican, the Greater Yellowlegs, and many types of gulls, egrets and terns. Follow the river upstream from the lagoon to spot Downy Woodpeckers, several breeds of Vireos and Warblers, and many more birds,
From Highway 1, head west on Rio Road (one mile south of Ocean Avenue). Turn left on Carmelo Street to access the parking lot.
This beach is found 2 miles south on Highway 1. The view is spectacular but the beach is very steep with a strong undertow so it is not save to swim in or even turn your back on. Experienced scuba divers occasionally use this beach.
If you are looking for a rocky beach with tide pools, this beach in the state park is the best. See local marine animals including otters and sea lions in abundance here. Point Lobos is one of the top attractions in Monterey County. There is a small fee for cars and it is open from 8am to 6:30pm (must be out by 7pm). It is 2.5 miles south on Highway 1.
The Monterey Peninsula and Carmel are a destination for active visitors, whether golfing, scuba diving or whale-watching.
Here are a few bicycling destinations. Rent your bicycle in Carmel.
SCENIC ROAD, Carmel
Lovely scenic ride through Carmel's residential beach community.
CARMEL VALLEY ROAD
Rural country road stretching from Highway One to Highway 101.
17-MILE DRIVE, Pebble Beach
Pedal past world famous golf courses and spectacular ocean views.
LAGUNA SECA RECREATION AREA, Monterey-Salinas Highway
Home to the Sea Otter Classic MTB Festival, with a large range of trails for both beginners & expert riders.
ANDREW MOLERA STATE PARK
26 miles south of Carmel on Highway One.
CARMEL BEACH & WALKWAY
Scenic Road, Carmel.
GARLAND REGIONAL PARK
8 miles east of Carmel on Carmel Valley Road.
GARRAPATA STATE PARK
10 miles south of Carmel on Highway One.
JACK'S PEAK COUNTY PARK
2 miles north of Carmel on Highway 68 East.
JULIA PFEIFFER BURNS STATE PARK
28 miles south of Carmel on Highway One.
MISSION TRAILS PARK
Entrances located on Mountain View Avenue & Forest and on Rio Road across from the Carmel Mission.
POINT LOBOS STATE RESERVE
2 miles south of Carmel on Highway One.
PFEIFFER BIG SUR STATE PARK
26 miles south of Carmel.
17-MILE DRIVE, Pebble Beach
Enter on San Antonio in Carmel or from Highway One at Highway 68.
End of Ocean Avenue, Carmel.
Ribera Road, 2 miles south of Carmel on Highway One.
2.5 miles south of Carmel on Highway One.
POINT LOBOS STATE RESERVE
3 miles south of Carmel on Highway One (reservations required, 831/624-8413).
Carmel River State Beach, south of Carmel.
Pebble Beach (reservations required, 831/625-8507).
299 Cannery Row
Monterey , CA 93940
84 Old Fisherman's Wharf Monterey , CA 93940 (831) 375-4658
Year-round whale watching in Monterey Bay. Gray, humpback, blue whales, dolphins, sea birds. All trips led by marine biologist.
96 Fisherman's Wharf #1 Monterey , CA ph: 831-372-2203
California's #1 whale watching & wildlife tours. Available year-round. Board the Princess Monterey and the Greatland for an adventure of a lifetime.