Monterey Peninsula – Hotels on the Beach

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One of the frequently asked questions I see about the Monterey Peninsula is “in Monterey, what are the hotels on the beach?” Most sites that I see trying to answer this question don’t appear to even know where the beaches are in Monterey so let’s start there.

Where are the Beaches in Monterey?

When you stand at the Monterey Marina by Old Fisherman’s Wharf looking out at the ocean, most of the beaches in Monterey are to your right, north along the bay past the commercial Wharf #2. Oddly enough there are very few hotels actually built on or near the water in that direction. For that reason there are surprisingly few hotels that are actually on the beach.

From wharf #2 north along the bay are Del Monte Beach, Sand City, Fort Ord Dunes State Park and Marina State Beach forming an almost continuous line of beaches. If you are looking for a beach to take a long walk on in the morning fog, this is the beach you are looking for.

In the other direction there are some tiny beaches right at Cannery Row that go away in high tide, the lovely beach at Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove and then no other good sized beach until you get get to Asilomar State Beach.

Continuing on there are Carmel Beach, Carmel River  Beach and Monastery Beach. None of these beaches have hotels on them, the best you can do is get one a block of so away.

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Sanctuary Beach Resort

Sanctuary Beach Resort

The Sanctuary Beach resort is one of only two hotels I would classify as “on the beach” in the Monterey Peninsula area, but it is in Marina about 10 miles from Old Fisherman’s wharf.

If you are looking for miles of beaches and a calm place to rejuvenate then this looks like the place. You are still close enough to downtown or to Cannery Row that you can drive in for dinner.

Sanctuary Beach Resort

This hotel was built in 2000 which makes it one of the newer hotels in the area. It has a modern look, an on-site seafood restaurant that specializes in oysters and sunset bonfires.

If the Sanctuary Beach Resort is not in your budget then just across the street are both the Monterey Beach Dunes Inn and the Best Western Beach Dunes. While these hotels are not quite on the beach, they are within easy walking range.

Monterey Tides

Monterey Tides

The other hotel that is “on the beach” in the area is closer in to Monterey and that is the Monterey Tides. In this case it is right on the Seaside State Beach. It is only 2.8 miles from Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Sand City. This hotel used to be the Holiday Inn when it was built in 1969. It was renovated  as recently as 2017 into a much more modern hotel.

Unlike Sanctuary which sits behind the Dunes, the main lobby of the Monterey Tides has large windows that look out on the water. About half of the rooms face the water, while the other half face highway 1. If you have time you could walk along the beach all the way to Wharf #2 in downtown or north all the way to Marina. More practically the Monterey Coastal Trail is between the hotel and the highway. You can bike that to the Wharf, Cannery Row or even all the way to Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove… if you bring your bikes.

Just the other side of Highway 1 from the Monterey Tides are the Embassy Suites, Holiday Inn Express and Hampton Inn Monterey. You could easily drive from them to the Seaside State Beach, but what you are going to hear from your room will be the roar of traffic on highway 1 not the roar of the surf.

Near Del Monte Beach

Near Del Monte Beach, Dennis the Menace Playground and the Naval Postgraduate School there are two hotels. These are not right on the beach, they are on the other side of Del Monte Ave from the water and frankly I like the beaches in Marina and Sand City a bit better but these hotels are close enough to Old Fisherman’s Wharf to walk there in a bit over 16-17 minutes.

Downtown Monterey Hotels

Downtown Monterey Hotels

There are a number of hotels down by Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Custom House Plaza that are close to the water if not the beach. You can walk from there to Del Monte beach past Wharf #2 and they can be a convenient base for exploring downtown the wharf and the Monterey Coastal Trail, but I would not categorize them as beach hotels.

The most notable of these would be the Monterey Marriott, The Portola Hotel and Spa (which is right on the plaza) and the Pacific Hotel.

Cannery Row Hotels

There are 4 hotels right in Cannery Row and each of these has a small beach next to it… call it a pocket beach, a beach big enough to build a sand castle.

Intercontinental The Clement Monterey

Intercontinental The Clement Monterey

The Clement is the hotel next door to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is right on the water, but technically not right on a beach. The closest beach is a block away in front of the Spindrift Inn.

Spindrift Inn

Spindrift Inn

The Spindrift Inn sits behind McAbee Beach at least at low tide. This is a small beach, not much longer than the hotel.

Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa

Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa

The Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa is also right on the water and is a spectacular hotel. It does have a tiny beach at one end of the hotel with steps down from Cannery Row. I am not sure what the name is for this beach if it has one.

San Carlos Beach Park

Monterey Bay Inn

Monterey Bay Inn is right on the water and is across from the largest beach at Cannery Row which is the San Carlos Beach Park between Cannery Row and the Coast Guard Pier.

Hotels Between Cannery Row and Lover’s Point

There is no beach between Cannery Row and Lover’s Point where you can go. There is a beach at the Hopkins Marine Station where you can see harbor seals, but there are two Inns along that stretch that are just across the road from the water.

Green Gables Inn

Green Gables Inn

Green Gables is one of the Four Sisters Inns which run a number of properties in California. Many of the properties like the Green Gales are in wonderful old buildings.

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Martine Inn

Martine Inn

The Martine is not as picturesque as the Green Gables and is set just a bit further back from the water by the widget of its small parking lot. But it is also set higher up with more of its windows facing the water. This is another Four Sisters Inn.

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Lover's Point

Lover’s Point

Lover’s Point has a lovely small beach, a park where you will often find couples taking their wedding pictures and a shop that will rent you a sea kayak. There are 3 hotels just across the street from Lover’s Point.

Seven Gables Inn

Seven Gables Inn

The Seven Gables Inn has been around since 1981 and has been voted one of the “One of the 10 Most Romantic Inns in America.” It has a spectacular setting even if you have no plans to set foot on Lover’s Point Beach.

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Also into the Lover’s Point are are two more affordable Options, the Lover’s Point Inn and Borg’s Ocean Front Motel.

Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds

The closest hotel to Asilomar State Beach is the expansive Asilomar Hotel and Conference Grounds. It is not right on the beach but the grounds do extend all the way there.

Pebble Beach

Neither the Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach nor the Pebble Beach Resorts are really at a beach, but you can walk from there to a small beach below the golf course.

Carmel

There are no hotels right on the water at Carmel Beach, Carmel River Beach or Monastery Beach. The two closest hostels to Carmel Beach are The Sandpiper Inn and the Colonial Terrace

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

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