The Carmel beaches combine with other area beaches to make Monterey County, California a great destination for beach enthusiasts. In Carmel itself, the main beach is simply referred to as Carmel Beach. Found right at the foot of Ocean Avenue, this beach boasts silvery white sand that is ideal for sandcastle construction. Backing the sand are picturesque cyprus trees, and come sunset, this is a fine venue for watching the changing colors of the sky. Many locals visit Carmel Beach at sunset with picnic supplies and a bottle of wine, and once the sun finally drops below the horizon, it is common to linger around a bonfire.
Carmel Beach isn’t just known for its sand and sunsets. Locals also hail it for its good surf, and in keeping with Carmel’s dog-friendly policies, the dog-walking conditions are excellent. In relation to the beach’s scenic allure, there are rock outcroppings to complement the cyprus trees and other coastal vegetation. No wonder this is a popular venue for weddings and beach parties. Should you wish to take advantage of the Carmel Beach setting for your private event, you can contact the City of Carmel for information on obtaining the proper permits.
Also figuring among the Carmel beaches is Carmel River State Beach. Located south of Carmel Beach just around a promontory, this less crowded strip of sand stretches for a mile and is characterized by white sand and dunes. A bird sanctuary provides refuge for a variety of avian species, including brown pelicans, cormorants, godwits, curlews, gulls, sanderlings, and black oystercatchers. Also part of the Carmel River State Beach park is Monastery Beach, which is popular among scuba divers. It should be noted that swimming, wading, and even walking near the ocean at these beaches can be dangerous because of the conditions. While dogs can run off the leash at Carmel Beach, they must be kept on a leash at all times at Carmel River State Beach. This policy is largely intended to protect the resident birds.
From Carmel, beach enthusiasts can venture off to any other number of regional beaches found outside of town. These beaches include those in such other Monterey County destinations as Monterey, Pacific Grove, and the Big Sur coast. Heading north to the northern edge of Monterey Bay, the beach town of Santa Cruz provides just one more option for where to spend the day on the sand.