Named of the top 10 beaches in the country, Carmel Beach is a great place for walking, running, wading and surfing. It’s also great for a romantic sunset picnic. Because it is a leash-free zone, it’s also populated with many dogs that are having even more fun than their humans. Carmel Beach is within walking distance of all of the inns in Carmel-by-the-Sea, located straight down Ocean Avenue.
Carmel River State Beach
A little smaller but equally beautiful beach is just around Carmel Point on Scenic Drive. Go straight down Ocean Avenue and turn left on Scenic Drive, and then follow that around to the Carmel River State Beach at Carmelo and Scenic Drive.
This beach is found 2 miles south on Highway 1. The view is spectacular but the beach is very steep with a strong undertow so it is not save to swim in or even turn your back on. Experienced scuba divers occasionally use this beach.
Point Lobos State Reserve
If you are looking for a rocky beach with tide pools, this beach in the state park is the best. See local marine animals including otters and sea lions in abundance here. Point Lobos is one of the top attractions in Monterey County. There is a small fee for cars and it is open from 8am to 6:30pm (must be out by 7pm). It is 2.5 miles south on Highway 1.