Monterey Bay – Breakwater (San Carlos Beach)

Link to Google Maps Location

Directions: The parking is off Foam St. and Cannery Row in Montery. Google maps or other apps will be your best friend to find the parking. Search for “San Carlos Beach, Monterey CA” There is a fair bit of parking, but get here early to find a spot. There are always large numbers of divers here as it is the best area within a few hour drive for diving with easy access to the water. Be sure to pay for parking before walking away from your vehicle – parking patrol is very active!

Dive Site Info: You have two options: Kelp forest or the jetty/breakwater. There is also said to be a massive White metridium field out there, but we have not found it yet, so enjoy the search! Water temperature was 53F in at the beginning of April. Drysuits recommended with a good fitting hood and thicker gloves. Night and day dives are excellent out here!

Photo of a Rose Anemone by Ashley Arnold

Breakwater: enter the water off the stairs on the right and follow the breakwater out. You can stay shallow or follow the bottom contour/jetty intersection deeper. Our max depth was 40’ but it does keep going past there a bit. Visibility was 30’ or so. As this is in a bay, it is relatively protected from surf, but with a good storm, you may have too much surf.

Kelp forest: Enter the water off the stairs to the right and then enter the water to the left a bit. Watch out for rocks in the sand as you enter. You may or may not see them depending on the tide. The kelp forest is shallow -maybe 25’ for max depth.

What you will see: kelp, giant chitins, sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, sea stars – giant spined, bat, leather, spiny brittle, ochre; crabs – mimicking, masking, kelp, rock; anemone- white metridium, rose, starburst, green, strawberry and others; top snails, sand dollars, nudibranchs- Hopkins rose, sea goddess; California sea hare, rockfish, sea cucumbers – warty, orange; jellies, urchins -purple, red, Coronado; and much more!

Restrooms: public restrooms are located on both ends of the dive site.

Airfills/rentals: There is a dive shop located in the Breakwater Cove Marina as well as one on Cannery Row. Both of these are within walking distance for air fills. There are many more dive shops throughout Monterey. We encourage setting up rental gear before arrival to ensure the shop is open early enough to not miss your dive plan.