Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Monterey County

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Monastery Beach South

California North, USA West

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(18)
The most picturesque dive site in the Carmel area, Monastery Beach offers spectacular diving in the rocky, kelp-packed coastline. Do not attempt this dive unless you are advanced, and are comfortable in heavy surf. Head South on Highway 1 out of Carmel. Park at the Southern end of the first roadside beach.
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McAbee Beach

California North, USA West

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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! 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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Breakwater Cove

California North, USA West

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Breakwater Cove is another popular dive site. Parking can be limited, so get there early. This is a wonderful place to get a glimpse of sea lions, octopus, and other marine creatures. The best diving is on the outer side of breakwater. Beware of kelp and boats! In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto Cannery Row.
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Whalers Cove (Point Lobos)

California North, USA West

beginner
(14)
Located in Point Lobos State Reserve, Whalers Cove is the most coveted dive location is this area. The highly restricted access of the Park creates an environment teaming with marine life. You must make reservations well in advance to enter, and must register with the gate before diving in. A complete set of rules and regulations, diving locations, and a reservation form may be found <a target="_new" href="http://pt-lobos.parks.state.ca.us/scuba/divereserv.html">here</a>. Drive South on Highway 1 from Carmel, past Monastery beach. You will see the entrance on your right.
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Point Pinos (Sewer Plant Beach)

California North, USA West

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This site is as close to Gorilla diving as you get in Monterey. Rocky entry, ocean currents, kelp beds, surf and breakers are your obstacles. Do not dive unless you have ideal conditions. Double check your dive plan with a local dive shop or guide. Once you've navigated the gauntlet, you'll be rewarded with nudibranches, starfish, anemones, and a variety of fish life. In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto David Ave, then a left onto Ocean View Blvd. Continue past Lover's Point Park, and about 1 mile beyond, past Asilomar Blvd, you'll see the water treatment plant on your left and the beach on your right.
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Coral Street Beach

California North, USA West

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Coral Street can be a technical dive if the conditions aren't just right. The kelp growth in August and September can be daunting, and the currents can catch you by surprise. Plan this dive with a dive shop, and take a buddy with you who has been here before. Do take your camera, as the macro life is spectacular! In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto David Ave, then a left onto Ocean View Blvd. Continue past Lover's Point Park, and about 1/2 mile beyond, you'll find the Ocean View and Coral Street intersection.
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Monastery Beach North

California North, USA West

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(39)
This is an easy-access site toward the Southern end of Carmel River State Beach. Come here when the main beach, just to the South, is packed. Because this shoreline is wide open to the Pacific swells, you should consider yourself an advanced diver before negotiating the entry. Head South on Highway 1 out of Carmel. Just as you start to see the first roadside beach, you're there!
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Cannery Park

California North, USA West

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(9)
Cannery Park (also called San Carlos Beach) is just West of the Breakwater dive site. This is a nice place for a second dive, and to get away from the crowd at Breakwater. The dive area is mainly sandy, so expect to see the occasional Halibut. In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto Cannery Row.
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Lovers Point

California North, USA West

beginner
(16)
Lover's Point is the perfect park for divers and non-divers. The small cove above is great for kids, and the cove just beyond in the background is better suited to divers. There are restrictions to diving: you can only dive April to September, weekday mornings before 11:30. Check with a local dive shop for the current restrictions-- they may change from time to time. There are 3 different entry points (at the bottom of each set of stairs) called Lovers 1, Lovers 2, and Lovers 3. Lovers 3 is a bit more advanced, while Lovers 1 and 2 present easier entries/exits In Monterey, heading West on Del Monte, bear right onto Lighthouse Ave, then bear right onto Foam St. Make a right onto David Ave, then a left onto Ocean View Blvd. After you pass the Park on your right, bear right and continue toward the ocean to drop off your gear.
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Monterey State Beach

California North, USA West

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(11)
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! 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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Moby Ling Cove

California North, USA West

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(3)
Getting its name from an old story of a diver's once in a lifetime encounter with a grey whale this is an out of the way dive site that should only be visited during excellent conditions. On those days when it is not too stormy you can find dives that are untouched in comparison to the more popular Monterey and Carmel dives. From Carmel, or Monterey take the 1 south to Garrapata State Beach. Once in the park look for a grove of cypress trees on your left. Parking is under these trees.
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Jade Cove

California Mid, USA West

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(17)
Jade Cove is an Adventure in all respects! Plan on making this a full day trek, if not spending the night in the area. After making an incredibly beautiful drive up (or down) the coast, be prepared for a mild version of Gorilla diving. The reward? A souvenir piece of jade to take home to display with your other diving trophies. There are regulations to be aware of. A good starting place for web research is <a target="_new" href="http://www.mbnms.nos.noaa.gov/Intro/press_releases/980708.html">here</a>. <br><br>A rememberence from Daniel S. McDermed: In 1966 my Dad's hobby was scuba diving, and my grandparents' hobby was making jewlery. In the murky water of Jade Cove, Dad's exploration of a small underwater cave produced a large piece of jade that weighed 17 pounds. I remember a young man offered my Dad 35 dollars a pound for it while my Dad stood there in those chilly waters. Dad said "Thanks but this man has some real plans for this chunk." Much more than the money offered was gained from the retained stone. Found 70 miles South of Monterey and 70 miles North of San Luis Obispo, between Gorda and Pacific Valley, on Highway 1.