Overview of Monterey State Beach

Monterey State Beach

California North
USA West


Monterey State Beach (also called Del Monte, named after the adjacent road) is a perfect place for new divers. Restrooms, showers, and picnic areas make this a great place to spend the day. You may want to dive this site on a weekday, or arrive very early on a weekend. The parking can be almost impossible otherwise. Be prepared to spot octopus and flounder!

Directions: From Highway 1 in Monterey, take the Camino Aguajito exit North. You'll see the Park at the intersection of Del Monte Ave.


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

12/07/2014 Thaddeus Pappazisis (Avg: 2.88 Review) - Go to this site for the boat wreck as there is not much swimming life. The wreck is neat & has a variety of perch but not much else as there aren't many rocks or kelp for fish to hide in. The site does however have an interesting array of other life at the sea floor. Thousands of sand dollars, a hundred or so sea slugs, a big star fish here, a big sea anemone there. Overall it was an enjoyable dive as it was very different from the other popular sites in Monterey. Visibility was great (about 20' or so) and surf was very tame to non-existent.

07/24/2011 Jeff Christensen (Avg: 3.48 Review) - Chose this site for its easy entry and to look for some halibut. Did a long surface swim to the yellow buoy and descended into 25' with 5'-8' visibility. Made our way out to 45'. Saw a small sunken row boat at 42' about 150 yds east of the end of Wharf #2. Never saw any halibut of legal size.

07/14/2009 Matt 5873 (Avg: 3.47 Review) - My friend and I checked out the half-track and yacht wrecks and were pleasantly surprised by both the sea life and vegetation around the wrecks. The dive back to shore was also enjoyable as we saw sand dollars, an octopus, and a ray. I would recommend this dive. The shore entry is easy, the swim out to the wrecks isn't bad [300 yards], and the yacht is easy to find by the buoy attached to it.

01/03/2009 Tom Eloph (Avg: 3.20 Review) - Easy, sandy bottom dive. Stays shallow for quite a while, but in 25' of water you can dive the sunken sailboat.

04/12/2008 Brian Xavier (Avg: 2.88 Review) - Monterey State Beach has good parking and facilities. Bring quarters for parking at pier. Sand bottom- low vis dive. Saw some very big sea stars and some nice snails. Also found a nice Scubapro jet fin- size large. Nice slow beginning dive.

02/13/2005 Owen DeLong (Avg: 2.67 Review) - Commonly known as "Del Monte Beach" by locals, this is a decent beginner site and a good place for Rescue classes. If you want any real depth, you need to swim out to the concrete anchorages or beyond (a healthy surface swim). The anchorages are in about 25 feet. Conditions are about the same year round.

07/26/2004 Jesse Rorabaugh (Avg: 2.76 Review) - I went here because I heard it was one of the best places to hunt halibut. After spending two hours free diving here, I am really not sure if that is true or not. Either I don't have the experience to be able to see one when I swim over it, or they are not here any more. The site did have a charm of its own. I had never seen as extensive of a sand dollar bed, and there were dozens of small crabs, and a single large spider crab. As for fish, there is almost nothing. Near park street, at some debris that is marked by kelp in the summer I found some small fish, and at one point a huge school of thousands of baitfish swam around me.

06/24/2004 Anonymous (Avg: 3.34 Review) - The dive here is not so much the in-shore part but the two "wrecks" (a yacht and half-track) about 400yds out, the kelp gives them away in the spring/summer months. A long surface swim is needed but they are only in about 30 ft of water. The wildlife is very good, probably since the site has rarely been visited by divers. The current can be strong but the underwater trip back to the beach is pretty good with beds of Sand Dollars and Starfish scattered everywhere. Need to get in early for a parking spot.

08/04/2003 Anonymous (Avg: 2.61 Review) - We dove here with a class. This beach is much less dove than the nearby Breakwater. I was surprised at the life we saw in the sea grass and below the large floats out from the beach. I wouldn't write this off as not worth a look. Very easy beach entry, depth of 15-35 feet, very little boat traffic, although it is a big kayak entry and exit. Great for beginners.

08/18/2002 Ben Burnsed, Jr. (Avg: 3.25 Review) - This was my first time snorkeling (I did not scuba), great place to get used to the equipment and the extremely cold water! However there was little sea life around, possibly due to the number of people up and down the beach. I found a few sand dollars and crabs (at least I think they were crabs!) but the only plant life was stuff that had broken off at sea and was being dragged by the current. Also saw a scuba class of about 3-4 people out there as well. Good place to swim though...see my review of Breakwater Cove for a nearby and more fulfilling snorkel dive.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1201


Entrance at Monterey State Beach 

This is a good place to drop off your gear if you need to find parking elsewhere.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1202


Parking at Monterey State Beach 

This is a 'full service' beach, so there are plenty of activities for the non-divers in your group.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1203


Entry at Monterey State Beach 

The entry is sandy and without rocks. It's perfect for beginners or checking out new gear. There are a few sunken boats and the remains of an old pier at the site.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


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

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.70
Bottom Conditions:  3.60
Reef Conditions:  2.30
Animal Life:  2.70
Plant Life:  2.20
Facilities:  2.90
Solitude 3.20
Roads:  3.80
*Site Average:  3.06

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.90
Beginner Scuba:  4.00
Intermediate Scuba:  3.20
Advanced Scuba:  2.60
Night diving Scuba:  2.80

Number of reviews for this site: 10


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