Explore Monterey County
About Monterey County
Monterey County on the California Central Coast has a diverse coastline that includes the remote region of Big Sur and the urban areas on Monterey Bay. The Big Sur Coast makes up about two-thirds of Monterey County’s waterfront and stretches from Carmel down to San Luis Obispo County. In this long mostly unpopulated area Highway 1 winds its way along the scenic headlands with access to many beaches. These beaches are in Los Padres National Forest and many state parks including Limekiln SP, Julia Pfeiffer Burns SP, Andrew Molera SP, Garrapata SP, and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Unlike Big Sur, the Monterey Peninsula is densely packed with cities, locals, and tourists. Carmel has an excellent sandy city beach that complements this upscale community. Nearby is the private gated community of Pebble Beach that invites you to pay a fee and drive their self-guided “17 Mile Drive” to small parks and rugged beaches. Around the corner is the quiet city of Pacific Grove and finally there is Monterey with lots of history and several city beaches that are best suited for scuba diving. North of the Peninsula, the beaches spread out on Monterey Bay in the cities of Seaside, Sand City, Marina, and Moss Landing. Many of these excellent sandy beaches are in state parks including Monterey SB, Fort Ord Dunes SP, Marina SB, Salinas River SB, Moss Landing SB, and Zmudowski State Beach. The northern half of Monterey Bay is in Santa Cruz County.