San Carlos Beach Dive Site
San Carlos Beach has been dubbed the most-dived beach in California and for good reason. This is where we may encounter sea lions in the wild along the shallows of the Breakwater wall. Harbor seal and sea otter are also common here as well as a myriad of invertebrate life and many species of fish. Parking is available in the lot above the foot path or in the metered spaces in front of the lawn area and on the Breakwater itself. Called "the Jetty" by the locals, this site is historical for both diving and Monterey's canning heyday. Claiming status as the #2 training beach on the west coast, checkout dives for initial certification and advanced training are popular here. Remnants of the old canning operations can be found underwater in the form of fish piping structures and concrete block anchors used for the catch hoppers. Overall this is a great easy-entry dive site for viewing most of Monterey's unique marine wildlife.
McAbee Beach Dive Site
McAbee Beach is located on Historic Cannery Row in front of the old Spindrift Inn and adjacent to the Fish Hopper restaurant pier. A large paid parking lot is available across the street and there is metered parking in front of the beach on Cannery Row. A more advanced site with an average depth of 35 to 50 feet, harbor seals are the main attraction here and are seen on most dives.
Lovers Point Dive Site
With so much plant life and a thick kelp forest, Lovers is best suited for diving during the winter months when the conditions are clearer and plant life less abundant. Red coralline algae covers the submerged rocky substrate around the point providing the perfect camouflage and environment for cabezon. It's vicinity to Hopkins Marine Station often brings harbor seal to the submerged rock formations just east of the entry point. This Pacific Grove site has limited parking in a lot adjacent to the beach on Ocean View Boulevard.
Point Lobos Dive Site
Point Lobos Wildlife Preserve is a state park and marine sanctuary. Diving is regulated and weekends require advance reservations. Weekdays can usually be scheduled but it is a good idea to plan this site well in advance. Considered one of the best shore dives in the region, Point Lobos is an advanced dive site that has much more to offer visitors than just diving. The hiking trails in the park offer beautiful vistas along the majestic and jagged coastline. There are photo opportunities around every corner (as well as underwater) and it's natural beauty attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and divers every year.