Top Snorkeling and Scuba Diving in Monterey

Ready to check out the best sites in Monterey for scuba diving, snorkeling, shore diving, free diving or other ocean activities? Zentacle has 7 dive sites, snorkel spots, beaches, and more. Discover hand-curated maps, along with reviews and photos from nature lovers like you. No matter what you're looking for, you can find a diverse range of the best ocean activities in Monterey to suit your needs.
McAbee Beach

#1 - McAbee Beach

California North, USA West

Unrated
(12)
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.
Breakwater Cove

#2 - Breakwater Cove

California North, USA West

Unrated
(43)
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.
Cannery Park

#3 - Cannery Park

California North, USA West

Unrated
(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.
Breakwater

#4 - Breakwater

USA, California, Monterrey

beginner
(1)
In many areas the rock blocks are covered with a lush carpet of strawberry anemones, which make interesting subjects for macro photography. Numerous fish eating anemones with their bright red bases, as well as the large green anemones are common near the end of the breakwater, along with some mighty big sea stars. One of the most beautiful creatures found here are the nudibranchs. Members of the dorid family are very common and can be seen grazing on sponges. This group of nudibranchs includes the bright yellow lemon nudibranch, the white-and-black ringed dorid, and the orange-spots-on-white clown nudibranch. The generally more colorful and ostentatious group, the aeolids, are also quite common here including the thick-horned aeolid. One of the biggest attractions that the Breakwater has to offer is its large colony of California sea lions. The last half of the breakwater is not accessible to people and is a favorite haul-out of these large and noisy mammals. Their barking can be heard for some distance both above and below the water. Divers can get a close up look of the herd as the sea lions sun themselves and an even closer look underwater. While normally shy when on land, the sea lions are at home in the water and lose much of their fear of people. The sea lions will normally dive down and investigate divers. They sometimes charge a diver at full speed, only to veer off at the moment before contact. They also seem to have great fun barking underwater, leaving a belch of bubbles in their wake. At the base of the breakwater stretches a sand bottom. The sand is dotted with sea pens and white, orange and purple tube-dwelling anemones as well as aggregating anemones. Living among the tube-dwelling anemones can be found the largest California nudibranch—the rainbow nudibranch. These dendronotids are excellent swimmers and feed on, and lay eggs, on the tube-dwelling anemones. Keep a keen eye for octopuses among the anemones as well. These are most easily found at night, but may be found during daylight by looking under drifting kelp fronds. No matter if the seas are big or flat, you can almost always have a fun dive at the Breakwater. Dive along the outside of the Coast Guard pier in Monterey. Breakwater is also known as Coast Guard Pier.
Monterey State Beach

#5 - Monterey State Beach

California North, USA West

Unrated
(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.
Hidden Beach

#6 - Hidden Beach

USA, California, Monterrey

beginner
(0)
A lot if kelp, cannery artifacts. Can be surgy at times. A lot of sea lion interaction; invertebrates.
McAbee

#7 - McAbee

USA, California, Monterrey

intermediate
(0)
McAbee is a 0-star rated scuba dive and snorkel destination in USA, California, Monterrey which is accessible from shore based on 0 ratings.