Carmel River State Beach is a state park that consists mainly of protected wetlands. The mile-long beach is the meeting point of the Carmel River and Carmel Bay.
On the east side is the Carmel River Lagoon which is home to a bird sanctuary, making the beach a popular destination for birdwatching. Other popular activities include hiking and fishing.
Carmel-by-the-Sea, the closest town to Carmel River State Beach, is a picturesque seaside village full of beautiful hiking areas, great restaurants, charming bed and breakfasts, and unique shops. The heart of town is less than 10 minutes from the beach, making a day trip to see them both possible when an overnight stay isn’t.
Sunbathing, hiking, fishing, dog walking, and birdwatching.
You’ll see a wide variety of migratory birds both in the lagoon and at the nearby Wetlands Natural Preserve.
This beach has extremely dangerous waters due to strong undertow, and there are no lifeguards, so swimming is not recommended.
Dogs are allowed on the beach provided they’re leashed.
Parking is limited, so finding a spot can be difficult.
Restrooms, trails, bird sanctuary, lagoon, wetlands.
Monastery Beach, or San Jose Creek Beach, is connected to Carmel River State Beach by a trail. It’s a popular destination for scuba divers, although the rip tide and undertow are notoriously deadly, so it’s not a recommended diving area for the inexperienced.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is under 10 minutes from Carmel River State Beach. Check out their own Carmel Beach, another beautiful spot for hiking and sunbathing that also has volleyball nets. Downtown Carmel is full of restaurants, beautiful inns, and hotels, and Ocean Avenue is the ideal place for shoppers.
Carmel River State Beach is also less than 10 minutes away from Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, a beautiful hiking area inhabited by a wide array of wildlife. Sea Lion Point Trail is a terrific spot to catch a glimpse at sea lions congregating on the offshore rock formations.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is right next the world famous Pebble Beach golf course, which is over 100 years old and has played host to a number of U.S. Opens.
The buildings in Carmel-by-the-Sea do not have addresses. The custom began in the late 19th century when Carmel was a haven for artists, writers, and other freethinkers, and it still continues today.
Location: Carmelo Street and Scenic Road in Carmel, California
Season: Year round