Overview of McAbee Beach

McAbee Beach

California North
USA West


McAbee Beach can be used by beginners and experts, alike. The easy entry leads to a large kelp bed just a minute off shore. Several old pipelines create an artificial reef, making this a complete site for marine viewers!

Directions: In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto Hoffman Ave. At the intersection of Cannery Row, you'll see the trail head.


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Diver Reviews:    Click here to write a Site Review, and share any new information about this site!

04/19/2011 Chris J (Avg: 3.27 Review) - Took a newly certified diver (13yr old son) for a nice, easy dive. Parked in meter area (2hrs max) and had plenty of time. Dove to 30 feet directly in front of El Toritos. Saw lots of ling cod and a sea lion on the way back in. Viz 20 max, light surge.

06/14/2009 David Stanwick (Avg: 3.95 Review) - After having a lousy experience at The Breakwater, I wasn't expecting much here. Boy, was I wrong! Conditions were great: shallow but plenty to see, good vis, no surge. Seals and otters have been known to gently harass divers here. You will want to bring a light, especially if cloudy or foggy, and good compass skills are essential. Go out on bearing 30 and return on bearing 210. The Mexican restaurant right next to this site lets you use their parking lot all day for $10.00. (This is actually a good deal compared to the other lots in the area, and most parking meters are limited to 4 hours.) A uniformed employee patrols the lot starting around 09:00 AM with a clipboard and will collect your money. You can park before he shows up and give him your money on a break between drives. I've heard from others that on some days no attendant is present and you can park for free. Public restrooms (no showers) are available one block SW, in front of parking structure on Wave St. & Hoffman Ave. NOTE: signs say NO scuba gear in restrooms, NO changing, dry wetsuits OK. So you can't 'go' between dives.

05/01/2009 Jerry Burawski (Avg: 3.63 Review) - Great beginner dive. Easy sand walk in and out. Today there was no current and no surf. It's usually better here when it's up than in other areas, although the vis was going from 20' to 30'. Often the harbor seals come and play with you at this site and because you're in the middle of town you're often the sight for passerby's. Shallow dive so watch you weight. Fun dive for the 2nd or 3rd.

10/28/2008 Sarah A. (Avg: 3.29 Review) - This was my shore dive venturing out of Breakwater. Visibility was horrible until about 20 feet down. Once you got down it was GORGEOUS! So many things to look at! We snorkeled out right down the middle, past the kelp, or a little past the cove, and then went down. Apparently, the parking booth at El Torito has been broken for awhile now, so there was no charge to park in their lot. It's a little bit of a walk with the gear but plenty of spots to tuck stuff away in while you dive. Had a great time. Bring a flashlight.

11/28/2005 Brian Xavier (Avg: 3.35 Review) - McAbee Beach is a good dive in the heart of Monterey. Park on the street, use the meters, and walk down the path to the beach. Kick out to the kelp (35 ft), and dive back to shore. Some pretty nice fish here, although I can't help but think there should be more fish in Monterey overall. Some of the old-timers have told me there used to be lots more. You can also view the beach through the web cam les jackson.com

03/01/2005 Jeff Bailey (Avg: 3.61 Review) - This is a Monterey "Must" Dive. Cheap parking ($5 at El Torito), good viz on our first dive (25 feet), a couple of Harbor Seals to play with and the remains of the SS Gypsy if you look hard enough. All of the animal and plant life that you dive Monterey for without all the dive classes

02/13/2005 Owen DeLong (Avg: 4.53 Review) - McAbee offers a variety of reef, Kelp Forest, and Sandy bottom types. Everything from Hermit Crabs to Kelp Bass to giant Jelly Fish. Rubber Lip Surf Perch, Black Eye Gobies and Sail Fin Sculpins are also common here. Lots of lush kelp and some old cannery pipes provide a rich habitat for a wide variety of fish and invertebrates. This is one of my favorite dive sites.

07/26/2004 Tony Linn (Avg: 3.84 Review) - It was pretty cool..... Got to swim with seals!!!

01/15/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 3.10 Review) - McAbee is an excellent training beach or a great place for a night dive. Lots of interesting rocks and plenty of fish and invertebrates. Kelp can be an issue in the summer, though. There is a buoy about 100 yards out that is great for divers not comfortable with free ascents and descents yet. McAbee is also a fun place to visit for non-divers. It's right in the heart of tourist Monterey so there's plenty to do without diving.

09/08/2002 A Warren (Avg: 2.76 Review) - VERY long walk with all your gear from the parking lot. Fun because it was my first open water dive.

03/02/2002 Chris Talley (Avg: 3.31 Review) - MacAbee is a hit or miss dive. The first time I went there was 5' of vis and plenty of surge. The second time was a great dive with 30'+ vis. There is a lot of debris from the old cannery days of Monterey and lots of perch and rock fish around. I found 3 huge Cabezon on the second dive there.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1501


Parking at McAbee Beach 

Parking is very limited at this site. Get there early or be prepared for a healthy hike. Pictured is a pay lot, but street parking can be found if you search around.

Trail Head

 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1502


Trail Head at McAbee Beach 

With the beach to the right, you can tell this is a popular area. If you are faced with a quarter mile hike from available parking, you may want to innocently ignore the No Unloading sign at the trail head.

Trail Head



Trail Head at McAbee Beach 

This is a view just to the right of the above picture. The hike isn't too bad.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1504


Entry at McAbee Beach 

The entry couldn't be easier. The more interesting diving is just beyond the kelp bed.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  McAbee Beach  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.36
Bottom Conditions:  3.45
Reef Conditions:  3.36
Animal Life:  3.55
Plant Life:  3.45
Facilities:  2.82
Solitude 2.91
Roads:  4.00
*Site Average:  3.51

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.36
Beginner Scuba:  4.64
Intermediate Scuba:  3.55
Advanced Scuba:  2.73
Night diving Scuba:  3.27

Number of reviews for this site: 11


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