If you are visiting the Monterey Peninsula then Asilomar State Beach is a must-do. Simply park your car on Sunset Drive and step out onto the area’s well-maintained footpaths and boardwalks. The sea air and natural coastal scenery are an immediate reward.
This lovely mile-long stretch of light sand beaches and coves is truly a refuge by the sea. Asilomar State Beach is a favorite spot for locals on the Monterey Peninsula and a perfect spot for trail running, surfing, or just sunbathing. Simply park your car on Sunset Drive and step out onto the area’s well-maintained footpaths and boardwalks. The sea air and natural coastal scenery are an immediate reward.
What Makes It Great
Asilomar is great for an afternoon stroll, a lounge day in the beach or a great beachside trail run. From the northern end of Asilomar State Beach, go about a mile south along the Asilomar Coastal Trail to access the nice stretch of beach overlooking Spanish Bay or park closer to the beach if you plan to hit the waves.
Aching to make your run longer? Traverse the beach and then follow the boardwalks alongside a golf course. By now you have left Asilomar State Beach and have entered Sawmill Gulch, another great sandy beach. Footpaths meander along the coast for several miles, passing by several natural features with information boards. This is great as you can make your run as long as you like before heading back.
When you are done with your run, stop in at the Asilomar Dunes Natural Preserve just across the street from the beach. Here, you can stroll along a quarter-mile boardwalk through 25 acres of a sand dune ecosystem exhibiting over 25 native plant species. Four downloadable self guided tours about the local nature and geology, and the architecture of the nearby Asilomar Conference Grounds are available for curious folks. The Asilomar Conference Grounds building was was projected by architect Julia Morgan who is most known for her contribution to the design of the Hearst Castle in San Simeon,CA and it makes for a great post-run tour.
Who is Going to Love It
This easily accessible beach is wonderful for family gatherings. In addition, the beach attracts dog owners, trail runners, and bird watchers with its beauty and convenience.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Take I-280 S for about 42 miles then use exit 12 to merge on to CA-85 S heading toward Gilroy. Continue for about 19 miles then merge onto US-101 S. Take 101 S for nearly 40 miles. Look out for the 336 exit toward Monterey/Peninsula and take it. Then, in about a half mile, merge onto CA-156W. Stay on CA-156 W for six miles. This highway will turn into CA-1 S so continue for another 15.4 miles. Take exit 399A for Ca-68 W heading toward Pacific Grove/Pebble Beach. Turn right and take CA-68 W for about three miles. Finally take a left onto Sunset Drive and in 1.2 miles, you’ll see the narrow stretch of Asilomar State Beach to your right.
Cars may park along Sunset Drive, but watch out for bikers on the very popular bike lane adjacent to the beach. Asilomar State Beach located within the Asilomar Marine Reserve, meaning that all marine life and features are protected; fishing and collection is prohibited. Also, be forewarned that there are no restrooms or picnicking facilities.