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Monterey Area Scuba Diving Opportunities

Diving the Monterey Peninsula

Bay Area Scuba Divers enjoy most of their diving in the Monterey area, which is in close proximity to most major cities along the Peninsula. Divers come from all of northern & central California to enjoy diverse diving with good visibility all year round.


Monterey Diving

San Carlos Beach / Breakwater Cove (Beginner to Intermediate) Beach Access

San Carlos Beach- Breakwater Diving

This beach is the most widely used beach in Monterey, due to its sheltered location & gradual sloping bottom. Every Dive School in Northern California uses this beach for training and it's an excellent beach to review skills or try out new equipment. Generally, the terrain is mixed sand & rock, with remaining pipes from the old Cannery point seaward. Most divers see up to only 40 ft. depth, but those with good air consumption or using surface swims can attain 60 ft. or more. The quickest access to deeper water is along the rocky break wall, which drops to ~50ft just across from the "bathroom" The lower parking lot gives access to a deli, dive store, and launch ramp. Location: The Breakwater is located at the intersection of Cannery Row and Foam Street in the City of Monterey. Access: Available at the base of The Breakwater, or above San Carlos Beach, northeast of The Breakwater. It is a short walk to the beach down a well-maintained set of stairs. Facilities: Restrooms and showers are available on The Breakwater.


McAbee Beach (Beginner & Intermediate)

MacAbee Beach Diving

This beach can be an ideal location for newer divers. Conditions are generally calm & the bottom slopes gradually to the outer reef reaching ~25 ft. Heading out over the reef quickly gets you into the deeper water of ~ 40ft with plenty of mixed rocky terrain. The marine life is varied & interesting! The easiest swim is next to the restaurant towards the white buoy. You must watch out for old rebar at the shore entrance. It can be hazardous (very sharp) if you don't watch your step.

Directions: Follow Cannery Row past Breakwater Cove to the point of land (~1/2 mile) till you get to El-Torito Restaurant, & beach entrance. Don’t park in the Restaurant’s parking lot. Corner of "Hoffman" & "Cannery Row".


Coral Street (Beginner & Intermediate)

coral street diving

Coral Street Map. Park along the road or in a dirt parking lot. The location affords a protected cove, which is fairly shallow for the first 100 yards. It's a great location on a calm day, especially if divers get out to 40ft or better. 

Directions: Off HWY 156, exit "Del Monte Ave" towards Pacific Grove. Follow Del Monte Ave 1.5 miles, stay to the right to go through the tunnel- becomes Lighthouse Ave. Follow Lighthouse Ave. 1.5 miles. Lighthouse becomes Central for a couple of blocks. Take a right on " First St." At the Stop Sign, take a left at " Ocean View Blvd. for 1.5 miles.

Coral St. is near the intersection of Coral St. & Ocean View Blvd. If you get to the Golf Course, you've gone too far. Coral St. is just 3/4 mile south of Lovers Point. Park on the ocean side just next to the beach. Groups generally meet by the steps leading to the beach.


Lover's Point (Beginner to Advanced)

lovers point diving

Choose either Lover's Cove or diving from the ocean side in front of Lover's Point, which is Otter's Cove. Lover's Cove is well protected and relatively shallow. The better sites are either towards the point or to the right in rocky terrain. It's not especially good if there's a surge, due to the shallowness and sand. The ocean side allows quick access to deeper water, with the swim around the point being especially interesting in terms of topography and marine life. This is one of the Bay's best dive spots! With a longer swim past the cove, you can reach ~80ft with varied rock and sand terrain.


Eric's Pinnacle (Beginner to Advanced)

Inner Chase Reef. The rocky structure rises from 65' to ~ 10' of the surface. It's a true pinnacle, as it stands on a sandy bottom, with low-lying rocky reefs extending nearby. Loaded with marine life, and generally a calm dive. Great for new divers.


Aumentos Reef (Intermediate)

Just past outer chase reef. Features include granite walls reaching from 80' to as shallow as 40'. Along the granite walls is an abundant selection of our favorite critters. Clusters of corynactis, anemones including the white metrdiums and nudibranchs make this a favorite photo dive. Rather foreign species, such as sheepshead, and bat rays can be found here, along with schooling Blues. It's a place you must come to visit.


Chase Reef (Intermediate)

Nudibranch at Chase Reef

Depths range from 40' to 80'. There's plenty of marine life diversity here, although it's best accessed by boat. Conditions can be rough, so watch for wave sets before attempting shore entry.


Hopkins Reef (Beginner & Intermediate)

hopkins rose at Hopkins reef

Hopkins is accessible by boat or out and to the left of McAbee Beach. Once you are over the reef, you will find deeper water and a wide variety of marine life. It's a great photo spot, and generally calm.


Carmel Diving

Copper Roof House (Intermediate to Advanced)

copper roof house beach

Depths range from 15 to 70ft. Follow sandy channels out to a rocky reef. Surf can be dangerous here, so again, watch wave sets, to evaluate where to dive. Be sure to follow a compass and return away from rocky areas. Skill Level: Beginners should buddy with more advanced divers; otherwise it is an intermediate to advanced site depending on wave height. Location: At the south end of Carmel Beach in Carmel. Access: Drive west on Rio Road from Hwy. 1, turn left on Santa Lucia, and make a left on Scenic Road. Park on Scenic near the intersection of Martin Way. Facilities: None Entry and Exit: The beach is a short walk down a well-maintained staircase. Enter close to the rocks on the south side.


Monastery Beach (Intermediate to Advanced)

monastery beach diving

Diving Monastery can be a real thrill! Most follow the rocks straight out to deeper water, which can be over 200' deep within diving range on the Northside. Visibility can be incredible, but you must watch and be wary of surf conditions! Waves can be very powerful, and should only be attempted by experienced divers when conditions are marginal.


Point Lobos (Beginner to Advanced)

point Lobos diving

Point Lobos requires a reservation on most weekends due to it's popularity. Access is via the boat ramp which allows small crafts to be launched from here as well. Great diving can be found heading out from the parking lot, averaging 30 to 90ft. This is a State Reserve, therefore a no-take zone. Many divers even take the swim past the mouth and dive Bluefish Cove. Be prepared for a long swim! Expect general great visibility, easy access & a preserve that affords to view age-old Rock Fish, Jellys & pristine reefs.

Point Lobos Diving Reservations


East Pescadero Pinnacle (Intermediate to Advanced)

point Lobos diving

The pinnacle rise from a deep 130' to 55' below the surface. This is a spectacular dive when combined with the frequent great visibility that Carmel can offer. Hydrocorals can be found here, as well as many species of anemones.


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