View of Monterey Bay from above the dunes, onto the turbulent ocean
Anne M Vallone/

Monterey State Beach

Updated by Pat Dorri on February 19 2024

If you are searching for a beach with golden sands and stunning views, then Monterey State Beach is a must-visit, and perfect for a spot of relaxation. A peaceful setting, you are also close to Monterey's popular attractions, such as the aquarium and Cannery Row, with a visit here packed with great swimming, sunbathing and seafood.

A quick overview of Monterey State Beach, California
Street AddressπŸ“Del Monte Avenue Monterey, CA 93940
Facilities at this beach

πŸ•’ Opening hours (8am – Β½ Hour After Sunset)

πŸš— Parking (Free or $1.50 per hour, maximum $10)*

🚻 Public restrooms

🌊 Lifeguard station

🧺 Picnic tables

*Parking fees can differ by day and season, ranging from free street parking to whole day charges.

Where can I find Monterey State Beach along the Pacific Coast Highway?

Monterey's largest beach. Monterey State Beach, is just a short 3 miles, or 7 minute drive, from the center of Monterey, following Del Monte Avenue pretty much the whole way.

Near the intersection of Del Monte Avenue and Camino El Estero you will then be led directly to the sandy shores of Monterey State Beach. Choose from two parking lots, either The Roberts Lot at the southern end of the beach and The Seaside Lot at the northern end.

Monterey State Beach is in fact made up of three separate beaches, Seaside Beach, Houghton M. Roberts Beach and Window on the Bay Beach, starting at Fisherman's Wharf and all the way to Seaside, so plenty of shoreline to explore and enjoy.

Monterey is a great stopover option as you travel Pacific Coast Highway. Take a look at our dedicated guide to see where to stay and what else to see during your Monterey visit.

Why we love visiting Monterey State Beach

Monterey State Beach is a popular beach stop when you visit Monterey Bay, best known for its golden sands and scenic beauty. There is plenty to discover along the beach, as well as top local attractions and great places to find fresh seafood and souvenirs.

[th]Feature[/th][th]Our rating[/th]
How we rate the different aspects of Monterey State Beach
Natural beauty and scenery⭐⭐⭐⭐
Cleanliness and water quality⭐⭐⭐⭐
Peace and quiet⭐⭐⭐
Activities on offer⭐⭐⭐

Nestled along California's central coast, the beach has stunning views of Monterey Bay. It's incredibly scenic and very popular with photographers.

Monterey State Beach enjoys calm waters and ideal for families. It has ideal swimming spots perfect for younger swimmers as well as those looking for other water sports.

Super close to Monterey, this means you can easily access other attractions nearby. Take leisurely walks to explore the surrounding areas, and tempting local seafood.

Monterey Bay itself is home to an abundance of marine life. Set up binoculars and you are likely to spot sea otters, seals, and seabirds from the shore.

Monterey beach, California, USA with purple wild flowers in the foreground and overlooking the beach beach against a blue sky.
Marvel at the beautiful views across Monterey Bay.
Gang Liu/

What else is there to do near Monterey State Beach?

Make a stop off at Monterey State Beach and there is plenty of beach fun and activities to enjoy. If you fancy venturing a little further then why not check out some of these popular sites just on the doorstep. We think they are defintely worth a visit!

  1. Monterey Bay Aquarium - Known for its marine conservation efforts, this aquarium shows marine life of Monterey Bay and beyond.
  2. Cannery Row - Once the center for sardine-packing industries, Cannery Row is now a bustling waterfront street lined with restaurants.
  3. Fisherman's Wharf - Originally a hub for the city's fishing industry, this colorful pier now boasts seafood restaurants, souvenirs, and tour operators for whale watching and cruises.
  4. Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail - Stretching for 18 miles, this scenic trail offers views of the Pacific coastline, and it's a favorite for joggers, cyclists, and those looking for a gentle stroll.
  5. Dennis the Menace Playground - Inspired by the famous comic strip character, this popular park provides plenty to amuse young families.

Common questions about visiting Monterey State Beach

Monterey State Beach is an easily reachable beach, and great for those looking for fun in the sun and ideal for water sports fans. Before you visit make sure to check out what else is available during a visit to Monterey State Beach.

Is Monterey State Beach accessible and open year-round?

β­• Yes, Monterey State Beach has several access points, and you can visit year-round.

Can I enjoy water sports at Monterey State Beach?

β­• Yes, you can enjoy water sports at Monterey State Beach. In fact, this is one of the few beaches in Monterey where it is seen as safe to swim.

β­• Monterey State Beach is popular for kayaking, paddleboarding, and scuba diving.

Is Monterey State Beach easily accessible for those using wheelchairs or strollers?

β­• Yes, Monterey State Beach is easily accessible for those with wheelchairs. Beach wheelchairs are located at the Monterey Sector Lifeguard Headquarters.

Is there anywhere to buy refreshments at Monterey State Beach?

❌ No, you can not buy refreshments at Monterey State Beach, however you can stock up on suppliers in nearby Monterey.

Are dogs allowed on Monterey State Beach?

β­• Yes, dogs are allowed south of the Monterey Tides Hotel only.

Are there any changing facilities at Monterey State Beach?

❌ No, there are no changing facilities at Monterey State Beach.

Are there any beach chairs or umbrellas to hire at Monterey State Beach?

❌ No, you can not hire beach chairs and umbrellas at Monterey State Beach.

Is there anything else to watch out for when I visit Monterey State Beach?

Jellyfish can occasionally be found on or near Monterey State Beach, so always be cautious and avoid touching them as you enter the water.

Depending on the time of year and day of the week, parking can be a challenge. Arriving early or later in the day can help avoid peak crowds, or make a spring visit when there are fewer crowds and pleasant weather.

View of historic 700 Cannery Row Mall along boardwalk at Monterey Bay, with blue skies and ocean in the background
Make sure to visit some of the popular local attractions such as Cannery Row Mall along Monterey Bay.