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100% Dolphin approved scuba lessons and underwater photography
100% Dolphin approved scuba lessons and underwater photography
Table of Contents

Monastery Beach on a good day

Monastery Beach is a more advanced dive. The beach is exposed to frequent northwest swells. The sand is coarse, making for a steep climb (well, often a crawl) out of the surf. And since the beach is so steep, the surf breaks in a washing machine churn instead of washing up the beach. Be careful, and when in doubt, go somewhere else. People do die here.

If surf conditions are good, this is a great dive. Visibility is usually better than the shallower and more protected beaches.

Monastery surf on a bad day
If it looks even remotely close to this, please, please go somewhere else.

Dive Sites

Oxylebius pictus (Painted Greenling)

Monastery South

Park here, near (but not blocking) the yellow metal gate. Enter in front of the bathrooms. Swim northwest until you get to the sand-rock boundary, and drop wherever you feel like. The rocks to the southwest in the shallows are pretty bare from urchins, but there's nicer stuff farther out.

Gibbonsia montereyensis (Crevice Kelpfish)

Monastery North

Park here. Walk down the stream channel and over the dune. Enter towards the north edge of the beach, where the rocks farther out provide some shelter from the waves. There's a nice rock reef, which drops quickly into a deep (200'+) canyon. Keep an eye on your depth, especially if you're using nitrox. Pay attention to your NDL.


No. Just no. Do not enter or exit in the middle of the beach. The waves break worse here, and there can be undertow.

Shore Information

If you're coming from Monterey/Carmel, you'll drive by the north side of the beach first, and then the south side. If you keep going up the hill, you'll end up at Point Lobos.

Park along the beach side of the road. The other side is no-parking. Watch for poison oak as you walk the trail to the beach.

Bathrooms are on the south side of the beach.

Google Maps

Photo Albums

Other Information

Inside Locations: EarthEastern PacificCaliforniaMonterey AreaCarmel
Marine Life: Monastery Beach Marine Life
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