Best of Monterey Bay® Visitors Guide

At Play tected underwater park. Reservations are required. Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, Carmel. (831) 624-8413, Carmel River State Beach Divers who venture out past the kelp will discover pinnacles with steep walls that are home to plenty of critters and creatures, small fish and nudibranchs. At the intersection of Scenic and Carmelo, Carmel. (831) 649-2836, bit. ly/CarmelRiverSB Lovers Point Divers can find easy beach access, plentiful parking and, in case of emergency, the Monterey region’s only diver-dedicated hyperbaric chamber in nearby Pacific Grove. As urchins have moved in, the kelp forest here has diminished in recent years, but there is still abundant and diverse wildlife. Also a popular swimming and snorkeling spot with lots to see by hugging the rocky coast. Ocean View Boulevard at 17th Street, Pacific Grove. MBay Freediving Learn the basics of freediving in a two-day lesson that gets you into the ocean and on your way. Advanced courses are available, too, as is gear rental. 225 Cannery Row #27, Monterey. (831) 200-3485, Monastery Beach This is one of the region’s most popular diving spots, and is a good place to meet new diving buddies. Deep water with dramatic drop-offs and severe undertow make this area best for more experienced divers. Opposite the Carmelite Monastery, Highway 1 south of Carmel. Otter Cove Here divers can find sea otters (of course), seals, rays and an abundance of other sea life out past the kelp forest. The sandy bottom features boulders near shore and large pinnacles about 150 feet out. Ocean View Boulevard and Sea Palm Avenue, Pacific Grove. San Carlos Beach One of the best spots for new divers is the breakwater at San Carlos Beach. You’ll see forests of kelp, octopuses, anemones, starfish and plentiful otters and sea lions, depending on the season. Coast Guard Pier, Wave and Drake streets, Monterey. Gear Rentals Aquarius Dive Shop 2040 Del Monte Ave., Monterey, (831) 375-1933, Bamboo Reef Dive Shop 614 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 372-1685, Beachhopper II Dive Charters 256 Figueroa St. (K-Dock), Monterey (408) 234-8445 Cannery Row Aquatics 225 Cannery Row, Monterey (831) 717-4546, Kayaking, Standup Paddle Boarding, Surfing Navigating the waters in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary allows visitors and locals to get up close and personal with one of the world’s most pristine aquatic environments. If you happen to get up close and personal with wildlife, note that it is illegal to disturb marine mammals—so take a pause and watch nature’s magic unfold, from a distance. Prepare for changeable conditions and chilly water—a wetsuit is recommended—and be aware that this is not an amusement park. The marine wildlife is real. Adventures by the Sea 32 Cannery Row, at Coast Guard Pier, Monterey 299 Cannery Row, Monterey 685 Cannery Row (for launch at McAbee Beach), Monterey (831) 241-1125, Alma del Mar 398 Shasta St., Sand City Big Surf (831) 264-8008, Carmel Surf Lessons (831) 915-4065, Elkhorn Slough Kayak Connection 2370 Highway 1, Moss Landing (831) 724-5692, kayakconnection. com Monterey Bay Hydrobikes 2370 Highway 1, Moss Landing (831) 238-6764, Monterey Bay Kayaks 693 Del Monte Ave., Monterey, (831) 373-5357 2390 Highway 1, Moss Landing, (800) 724-2473 On the Beach Surf Shop 693 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 646-9283, Pacific Grove Adventures 624 Ocean View Blvd. (at Lovers Point), Pacific Grove, (831) 241-1125 The Wahine Project (831) 236-4642, Sailing, Fishing, Whale Watching Whether you’re trying to catch tonight’s dinner or simply basking in the awe of the biggest mammals on Earth, getting out on a boat is thrilling in a marine sanctuary teeming with this much life. Blue Ocean Whale Watching 7881 Sandholdt Road, Moss Landing (831) 600-5103, Chris’ Whale Watching 48 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey (831) 375-5951, Discovery Whale Watch 66 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey (831) 372-7064, Elkhorn Slough Safari 7881 Moss Landing Road E, Moss Landing (reservations required) (831) 633-5555, Fast Raft Marine Eco-Tours 32 Cannery Row, Suite F2 (near Coast Guard Pier), Monterey (winter season) 2486 Highway 1, Moss Landing (spring-fall) (408) 659-3900, J & M Sportfishing 66 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey (831) 372-7440, Monterey Bay Whale Watch 84 Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey (831) 375-4658, montereybaywhalewatch. com 36 The Best of Monterey Bay ® 2023-2024 Marina State Beach Steve Zmak