Carmel River State Beach, Carmel

4.8
#1 of 11 in Beaches in Monterey County
Beach · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
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With two of Monterey's most pristine seaside locations, Carmel River State Beach offers white sands, blue ocean, and a classic panorama of the California coast. With more than 1.6 km (1 mi) of beachfront near the Carmel River and a significant stretch right at the edge of the city itself, the sand and surf are ideal for picnicking, walking, jogging, or simply relaxing. Both areas are vital parts of the rich peninsular ecosystem and teem with sea life, including whales, sea lions, kelp forests, and a wide variety of fish. Try kayaking to get an up-close view of the aquatic residents. Despite the beaches' tranquil appearance, the water's strong currents and steep drop-off from the shore can make swimming dangerous. Before you head to Carmel, plan trip itinerary details with our user-friendly Carmel trip itinerary builder site, to make sure you see all that Carmel has to offer, including Carmel River State Beach.
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Carmel River State Beach reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
2,466 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • It was close to our hotel, however the waves are strong no swimming and deep walk down over the sand 
    It was close to our hotel, however the waves are strong no swimming and deep walk down over the sand  more »
  • Beautiful beach for a nice walk ! Such a great area to explore with amazing flocks of sea birds overhead and wading in the river. 
    Beautiful beach for a nice walk ! Such a great area to explore with amazing flocks of sea birds overhead and wading in the river.  more »
Google
  • Although parking is tricky at this location (roughly 20 spots) it is worth making the trip. I recommend avoiding weekends at all cost. This beach has Carmel river access AND beach access. The river side is shallow and is perfect for children and new swimmers to get their feet wet. The beach may not be suitable for smaller children as the warnings are posted due to the drop off close to the beach. A lifeguard tower is present, but it wasn't manned on a Monday. There is no shade so bring a beach tent or umbrella. It can get very windy so tie them down well. I saw people with kites, canoes, boogie boards, and even some on paddle boards to explore a little up river. Water depth varies by season and when the river is actually flowing it deltas into the ocean and currents may be too strong. Currently (early August) the river and ocean are separated by a large sand dune. We enjoy coming here to soak up the sun and let the children play risk free in the shallow waters of the river.
  • We had two amazing days at this beach with our toddlers. The hike down is easy, as there are stairs, and the beach isn't far from parking. The tide pools at the beach are full of amazing sealife and provide hours of exploring. An artist was there painting both days and I captured some truly marvelous photos. It's a really great spot.

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