Overview of Stillwater Cove

Stillwater Cove

California North
USA West


Stillwater cove is recognized for its relatively undisturbed marine environment. Due to the sensitivity of this habitat, only 10 divers a day are allowed access. Sorry, there is no night diving. The Beach and Tennis Club provides the coastal access from sunrise to sunset, and there is a $10 gate fee to gain access into Pebble Beach.

Directions: Located in the heart of Pebble Beach, the drive here is worth the effort, even if you are not going to dive! Drive South of Carmel on Highway 1 to Ocean Ave. Take Ocean Ave West and turn right on San Antonio Ave. Wind your way North until you find yourself on Carmel Way. You will soon intersect with the famous 17 Mile Drive. A gate guard will welcome you and relieve you of some money for the privilege of hobnobbing with the Rich and Famous. Travel North West for about 1 mile, and turn left on Palmero Way. Travel approximately 1/2 mile and then make a left on to Cypress Drive for about 1/8 of a mile which ends at Stillwater Cove.


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

01/27/2011 Pettyfogger (Avg: 4.17 Review) - Easy-peasy to get to and a great beginner/intermediate shore dive. Since this beach is usually in the lee of the prevailing northwest wind, it's usually calmer than any other place around. Don't let the proximity of the golf courses and tony facilities fool you - you're in a very active ecological environment, with multitudes of fish, flora and sea mammals such as sea otters, sea lions, and harbor seals. The fish can get big here, too. Two of my usual dive buds were boat diving at about 100 feet off of Stillwater when they saw a fifteen to twenty foot great white shark cruise by them (I missed that dive, and have never had the privilege of seeing one myself - Sigh…). They said it looked as big around as a VW, with a large, black dinner plate-sized eye looking at, through, and finally away from them. Killer whales also frequent Carmel Bay as well, and they have come up and surrounded my friends' boat - again on a trip when I wasn't along. Hey, when you enter the ocean, you also enter the food chain - and not at the top. War stories aside, this is a great place to dive.

09/08/2008 Chris LaClair (Avg: 4.18 Review) - The parking and equipment drop off area makes it very easy to drop off your gear very close to the water. We blew up our inflatable right there and carried it down to the beach, very easy. Rowed out past the rocks in the middle of the cove. If you go out in a boat try to anchor or stay up wind of the islands, they are covered in bird poop and stink. I freedove for about three hours, getting in the boat once to take a break and move spots. It got deeper as I got farther away from the rocks and was hitting 40' eventually. I'd say the average depth of most of the reef is 25-30', with steep drops down to 40-50' with a sandy bottom. The kelp was thick at the surface but not too thick down below. Spearfishing was good, good sized schools of blue rockfish, some olive rockfish and I even got a lingcod as he was going after a school of small perch. Dove with a seal and a sea otter. The seal was quite curious and got close, the otter was curious but stayed a short distance away. Very cool dive spot, very protected. I used scuba after I had shot my fish and check out the bottom a little more, I would like to see the underwater statue.

08/26/2005 Kendall Roberg (Avg: 3.92 Review) - This place is beautiful. This is a wonderful beach with great views of the golf course (I even found 7 golf balls). I saw lots of harbor seals, which were very friendly underwater. They would slowly approach and eventually be right next to your mask underwater. While swimming back in on the surface, one even popped its head up between my fins! You will have to pay at the entry gate ($8.50 when we went) but it is worth it. They allow you to drop your gear off next to the pier and the staircase down to the beach is a great place to gear up. Visibility was okay but I am sure it gets crystal clear here sometimes. I found an underwater channel that I followed out and it was nice. This is where I saw the most fish and also the harbor seals.

07/18/2005 Stan Watt (Avg: 4.09 Review) - Interesting site. Calm with granite formations (cuts, shallow canyons) and kelp. Very pleasant dive from shore or from a boat out of Monterey Harbor.

05/10/2005 Michael Peth DM (Avg: 3.91 Review) - While spear fishing can be good, note that this is part of the Monterey Bay marine reserve so make sure you know the regs. Also, diving must end by late afternoon due to the regulations of Pebble Beach (which is okay as the wind usually whips up).

08/23/2002 Dennis Chamberlain (Avg: 3.66 Review) - This is a BEAUTIFUL place, smack in the middle of Pebble Beach at their Beach Clubhouse. There is a dock for putting in your Zodiac, and a ramp for walking to the water (with Kayak, etc.) You'll need one or the other; it's way too far to swim to where you'll want to dive. There is a reservation system for the 10 parking spaces allotted for shore access, and they ask that you check in and out at the pool desk. There are free restrooms with hot showers provided! This is a HOT area for freediving/spearfishing. Very shallow until you get quite a ways out to the outside area of the cove, where spectacular diving can be had.


Site Photos

(click photo for a larger version)

 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1901


Entrance at Stillwater Cove 

After traveling on Palmero for 1/2 mile, turn left on Cypress Drive and continue until you reach the water.


 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1902


Parking at Stillwater Cove 

Reserved parking is limited to 6 spaces.

Trail Head

 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1903


Trail Head at Stillwater Cove 

They make it too easy!


 Map     Sat
GPS: CN1904


Entry at Stillwater Cove 

The rocky point and kelp are just a short distance away. Some prefer to launch a kayak from here to explore further out.




Sign at Stillwater Cove 

Note the extensive restrictions.

Last Verification: July, 2001  


Diver Averages for  Stillwater Cove  (1=worst, 5=best)

Average Site Condition

Ease of Shore Entry:  4.67
Bottom Conditions:  3.83
Reef Conditions:  3.67
Animal Life:  3.83
Plant Life:  3.83
Facilities:  4.00
Solitude 4.00
Roads:  4.83
*Site Average:  3.99

Average Enjoyment Level

Snorkel:  2.67
Beginner Scuba:  4.17
Intermediate Scuba:  4.17
Advanced Scuba:  4.17
Night diving Scuba:  2.83

Number of reviews for this site: 6


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