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.
Create a full itinerary - for free!
Tours to Carmel River State Beach
$75 BOOK WITH VIATOR Scenic Carmel-By-The-Sea Guided E-Bike Tour Scenic Carmel-By-The-Sea Guided E-Bike Tour
Duration: 2 hours
$75 BOOK WITH VIATOR Carmel-by-the-Sea 2.5 Hour Electric Bike Tour Carmel-by-the-Sea 2.5 Hour Electric Bike Tour
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes
Carmel River State Beach reviews
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 »
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.
Plan your trip to Carmel
Compose it!Your own itinerary for your car vacation, beach vacation, city trip, any near or distant journey ... ready within 10 minutes.
Customize it.Refine your plan. We find the best routes and opportunities.
Book it.Choose from the best accommodations (Expedia, AirBnB), airlines and activities, by yourself or share with travel professionals for the utmost experience. Up to 50% discount!
Do it yourself.Or share your plan with travel professionals for a customized trip
Popular things to do in Carmel
Side trips from Carmel
Hidden gems in Carmel
Museums in Carmel
Wineries in Carmel
Trips in Carmel River State Beach by other users
2 days in Carmel BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES 17-Mile Drive Monterey Bay Aquarium Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard 13 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES San Simeon Big Sur Monterey 13 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES San Simeon Big Sur Monterey 13 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES San Simeon Big Sur Monterey 13 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES San Simeon Big Sur Monterey 13 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES San Simeon Big Sur Monterey