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Carmel River Beach

Carmel River State Beach
Here is a wonderful video of this spectacular beach, in our back yard!
Video to get you started

This beach is under the jurisdiction of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. 

Carmel River Beach State Park

Carmel River State Beach is bounded by Scenic Road on the north and by a lagoon bird sanctuary to the east. Most importantly, it is the terminus where the Carmel River empties into the sea.  This is less visited than Carmel City Beach, and has its own unique character.  Unlike Carmel City Beach, dogs are not allowed off leash because it is designated as a State Park, and no fires are permitted on this beach at any time. As a consequence of these restrictions, and because the River Beach is adjacent to the sanctuary, a wide variety of waterfowl and song birds can be seen here.

Access points to this beach are at the steps at the end of Ocean View, and via the small parking lot adjacent to Scenic Road (where there is also a restroom). Access via the bluffs is illegal, given the fragile nature of these areas and their importance to the integrity of the beach.  Large parties require a permit. See information at Carmel River Beach State Park link above.

To the south, Monastery Beach, also known as San Jose Creek Beach, is part of this same park and is popular with scuba divers. However, swimming, wading or walking near the ocean on both of these breaches can be extremely dangerous.

Please be aware of dangerous rip currents at both Carmel River Beach and Monastery Beach. There have been several deaths at both beaches, and swimming is not advised. Be sure to keep children well away from the surf line, as sneaker waves can come in suddenly, knock them down, and drag them out into deep water quickly.

This region of the California coast has the most rapidly diminishing sand beaches in the State. Undoubtedly, the winter storms contribute to the scrubbing of the sand but a local sand mine is also a large contributor. Government efforts from multiple jurisdictions have made efforts to prevent sand erosion, so please adhere to coastal fencing and access signs. Also, efforts to armor the beach bluffs are ongoing to ensure that generations to come can enjoy our beautiful beaches.

A recurring issue on this beach, and one that matters greatly to Carmel Point residents, is the yearly need to decide if, how, and when to manually dredge a channel in the beach to allow the Carmel River to drain into the sea.  Without this dredging, winter rains can raise the water volume of the river and the lagoon, and possibly flood the homes built on the lagoon.  People opposed to this practice object that sudden dredging sweeps threatened juvenile steelhead trout out to sea before they are mature enough to survive.  Allowing the sandbar on the beach to open naturally (more gradually) gives the juvenile fish the time to swim upstream to avoid this fate.  There are several governmental agencies and local groups involved in this continuing environmental stewardship and property protection struggle.

For more information about Carmel River and the beach dredging, contact the Carmel River Watershed Conservancy (CRWC) Carmel River Watershed Conservancy  Carmel River Watershed Conservancy also has a Facebook page.  Also to be kept up to date and be added to the CRWC email distribution list, contact Lorin Letendre, CRWC Executive Director at [email protected]

Beach Preservation from Beachapedia

Carmel River after Winter 2017

Last Updated 5/14/17