The rugged Santa Lucia Mountains dominate Monterey County’s southern coast, rising steeply from the ocean to create the dramatic Big Sur landscape. Driving Highway One as it winds between mountains and sea is an adventure in itself; to extend your experience, take a short hike to McWay Falls, which drops 80 feet from bluff to beach, or camp among the redwoods at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. North of Big Sur is the rocky, forested headland of Point Lobos, a state reserve that includes 750 offshore acres dominated by kelp forest, one of the world’s richest underwater environments. Here you can see sea lions, harbor seals, abundant birdlife, and if you’re lucky, a sea otter or migrating gray whale.
North of Big Sur, visit the lovely white-sand Carmel City Beach and explore Carmel’s galleries, shops, and restaurants; tour the scenic 17-Mile Drive tollway or take a stroll on the dune boardwalk at Asilomar State Beach and visit the conference buildings designed by Julia Morgan. North of the Monterey Peninsula, rocky bluffs give way to the long curve of the Monterey Bay shoreline, with broad sandy beaches and dunes, and the rich tidal and freshwater marshes of Elkhorn Slough, which has some of the best birdwatching in Monterey County.
Accessible Beach Access
|Asilomar State Beach|
|Carmel City Beach|
|Carmel River State Beach|
|Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve|
|Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park|
|Monarch Grove Sanctuary|
|Monterey Bay Sanctuary Scenic Trail|
|Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park|
|Point Lobos State Natural Reserve|
|This web guide is a project of Access Northern California. Thanks to our partner the California Coastal Conservancy|
|Home | How To Use This Site | Browse By County | Resources | Advanced Search | Contact Us | Site Map|
DISCLAIMER: Although the information contained in this web-guide was believed to be correct at the time of publication, neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy shall be held responsible or liable for any inaccuracies, errors, or omissions, nor for information that changes or becomes outdated. Neither Access Northern California nor California Coastal Conservancy assume any liability for any injury or damage arising out of, or in connection with, any use of this guide or the sites described in it.
Access Northern California