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Bike to the Beach in Monterey County – and Care for What You Love

In this post, learn about Monterey County’s beaches—where they are, tips for enjoying them, and how you can help care for them. True Earth-care advocates are Oceans advocates too, and you’ll find many such advocacy groups listed later in this post.
Lovers Point beach from trail - no filter
Oceans cover 72% of Earth.  As Arthur C. Clarke said,  “How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean!”
What else is 72%? The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary marine debris composition is 72.7% plastic, per the MBNMS Marine Debris Final Report 2023. For how to help change that,  see  “Key  findings”: And jump to “Care for what you love” later in this post for links to local groups.  

Dad & Son trailabike Del Monte Beach - closeup - Mari

Notice that we say

“bike to the beach,”

not “bike on the beach.”

Be a good ambassador for bicycling! For regulations about bicycling on Monterey County’s various state, county, and city beaches, check with the Transportation Agency for Monterey County’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, or contact officials for each of those beach jurisdictions.

Below: Asilomar State Beach, Pacific Grove

Below: The City of Monterey is recognizing that more people bike to the beach all the time, thus the addition of the bicycle parking posts pictured here, near Tide Avenue and Surf Way.

When visiting any beach, take time to learn what the local regulations are about dogs, alcohol, glass, trash, firescamping, and more. Then respect those regulations to protect those beaches and their neighborhoods. 
(Can’t read the signs below? Click image to enlarge.)

2015 Sept 17 Del Monte Beach bike racks

Where are some of the best

beaches to play on in Monterey County?

 Where’s the beach?; 

This post was first published in 2011, with numerous subsequent updates. It has not been updated in its entirety. To report broken links, see our contact page:

Some of many….

If you have general questions about local beaches–which are safest with young children, where to boogie board, where you can walk a long distance, and more, feel free to contact me. Pictured at the top of this post is Pacific Grove’s Lovers Point Beach, located directly along the coastal bike/multi-use path.

Misc tips for people who bike to the beach

California Coastal Commission info

Read this sample of the Monterey County section from the California Coastal Commission’s California Coastal Access Guide.

Read this intro from the Commission’s March 2012 book, Beaches and Parks from San Francisco to Monterey. It includes tips ranging from tide pool etiquette to dogs to stashing your trash.  The Commission also has an April 2007 book on Beaches and Parks from Monterey to Ventura.

The Coastal Commission website includes info for public education, including  why they are concerned about climate change and much more.


Local weather updates from National Weather Service  

Bacteria-count alerts

Visit the Monterey County Health Department web page on beach water quality. There you can access charts for various local beaches:

Surf Up?

If you are a biker who’s heading off to surf and have surfing-related questions, you may find it helpful to contact local surf shops, such as On the Beach or Sunshine Freestyle in New Monterey, or Liquid Surf Shop in Carmel.

Below, Monterey Peninsula resident and bike advocate Tim Meehan, en route home to meet up with his wife and fellow bike advocate Mindy Surratt, to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Love the beach?  Read on….

Care for what you love!

Beach-Lovers Alert: Marine Plastic Pollution

A study about microplastic in the waters of Monterey Bay, was published June 6, 2019 in the journal Scientific Reports. Read the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s blog post about the study:

Top Aquariums around the nation—including the Monterey Bay Aquarium—are among leaders working to stop plastic pollution. As they say, “What if the ocean had more plastic than fish? Our choices are transforming the ocean, lakes, and rivers. The solution is in our hands.” Learn more at

In November 2016, California state voters said: single-use, carry-out plastic bags just don’t make sense (see “Nation’s first statewide plastic bag ban” in the San Diego Tribune, a ban urged by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and so many others. See on the Aquarium’s blog, “Why plastic bag recycling isn’t enough.”

Earlier, the City of Monterey, Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Coastkeeper Alliance, Plastic Pollution Coalition, Save Our Shores, Surfrider Foundation, 5 Gyres Institute, and many more celebrated California’s SB 270–statewide ban on single-use plastic bags, which passed in 2014. Likewise they were enthused about eliminating the use of non-biodegradable microbeads in consumer products. Learn more on the Monterey Bay Aquarium website, and join the Aquarium in sharing a selfie online, tagging it #MyBag or #MiBolsa. See #MyBag: Take a stand against single-use plastic bags.

Please help keep plastic out of the Monterey Bay–and as 5 Gyres and others point out–from waterways afar too!

Read more about plastic below. But first: a picture can be worth a thousand words, eh?


Pack it in, pack it out does help. Can’t assume trash overflowing those cans will be picked up by municipal clean-up crews before it gets blown into the bay.
Sadder still, some “beach lovers” don’t even walk their recycling/garbage to a can. 🙁

More about plastic

Not my kind of sea foam: polystyrene/styrofoam
  • Also found at sea:  polystyrene or styrofoam.  Monterey County cities of Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks, Salinas, Seaside, and the unincorporated county have all banned foam packaging in restaurants and at special events.
  • The Monterey County Weekly makes it easier to acknowledge restaurants that already use compostable or recyclable containers, and remind those that do not.  Alternatively, contact the restaurant manager directly.  Restauranteurs are busy people, with a lot to keep track of !  Don’t assume they don’t care if they still use styro; instead, trust that they want to do the right thing and will appreciate a polite reminder.

Above, MIIS Students in Monterey, 8 January 2012. “Hmmm….shall we lock up our bikes and take a beach break or keep riding?”

Cool ways to learn–and play

Above: community volunteer Peggy Born explains to a City of Monterey visitor what’s happening with the harbor seals they are watching.

Children and teens

Check the coastline on this unique map

The HER Helmet Thursdays clickable map!  You’ll find plenty of places where you can save money, just because you bike.  Like eating from the ocean? Bike to sustainable seafood–those HER Helmet Thursdays spots that also participate in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program.

Beyond the coastline, you’ll find additional  HER Helmet Thursdays participants all over Monterey County.

Support these environmentally minded businesses and organizations en route to and from the beach, and on your other routes.  They are helping to keep the Monterey Bay beautiful.

Wherever you go….

Help them crank it up another notch!  Take that refuse disposable plastic pledge; and if, for example, you ask a server for a glass of water, just say “No straw, please.”  (If you have kids with you and they say, “Pluckfastic!” in response, remember not to nudge them under the table.  Instead, use the op to let the server know what the term–and the straw–are about.)

It seems a little thing, yet when you remember the gyres of swirling garbage–the vast majority being plastic–you can know that even declining a straw is a meaningful action.

When you press your lips against the rim of that glass, just think of it as giving the Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean a nice big kiss. 

Love your oceans!

This post was first published May 9, 2011.

This post was published on 21 July 2011. One or more changes last made to this post on 10 February 2024.

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