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Carmel River State Beach
As State Parks increases access to the State Park System, it is critical that Californians continue to recreate responsibly in the outdoors as the pandemic is far from over.
Please take the time to read the information contained on this webpage to find out what is open and closed, and the COVID-19 guidelines for this park unit.
What is open now?
- The beach is open for day use.
- Parking is available to vehicles on a limited basis.
What is currently closed at this park and throughout the State Park System?
At this park:
- There is no campground at the Carmel River State Beach.
- Some park units and campground sites continue to be temporarily closed due to the pandemic, impacts from wildfires or other issues. Please visit the webpage of your local outdoor destination to find out if it is open.
- High public-use indoor facilities, including museums and visitor centers.
- Special events and tours continue to be canceled until further notice.
Are there any new visitor guidelines?
State Parks has implemented the following guidelines to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors:
- Stay Local: Stay close to home during this pandemic period. If you or anyone in your household is feeling sick, please remain at home and plan your trip for another time.
- Plan Ahead:
- The ongoing pandemic response continues to be dynamic and fluid. Prior to leaving home, check the webpage of your outdoor destination you plan to visit to find out if it is open, if parking is available, and what visitor guidelines are in effect.
- Learn what safety precautions you should take when exploring the outdoors at parks.ca.gov/SafetyTips.
- SNO-PARKS: Make sure your vehicle is snow ready. A permit is required for each vehicle parked at a SNO-PARK site. Parking is on a first come, first-serve basis at all SNO-PARK sites. The public is advised that parking lots are filling up early in the day. Illegal parking is prohibited. More information can be found at ohv.parks.ca.gov/SNOPARKS.
- Stay Safer at Six Feet: No matter the recreational activity, maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Your guests should only include those within your immediate household. This means no guests or friends, and no gatherings or parties. If there are too many people to maintain the required physical distance, please visit us on a different day.
- Boating: Do not raft up to other boaters or pull up onto a beach next to other recreators.
- Off-highway Vehicle Recreation: Do not ride next to others or pull up next to someone else as it could put you in close proximity to others. Stage 10 feet or more from each other during unloading and loading.
- Keep Clean: Be prepared as not all services may be available. Some restrooms will be temporarily closed to keep up with cleaning schedules. Bring soap/hand sanitizer. Please pack out all trash. Park units are experiencing heavy use and you can help alleviate the impact on park facilities.
- Stay Covered: The state requires you to wear a face covering when you cannot maintain a physical distance of six feet or more. Individuals must have a face covering with them at all times.
Although law enforcement entities have the authority to issue citations, the expectation is that the public is responsible for adhering to the advice of public health officials, visitor guidelines and closures.
California State Parks continues to work with local and state officials on a phased and regionally driven approach to increase access to state park units where compliance with state and local public health ordinances can be achieved. However, the situation remains fluid and park operations can change at any time. For information on statewide current closures and available services, please visit parks.ca.gov/FlattenTheCurve.
About Carmel River State Beach
On Carmel Bay, the mile-long beach features a bird sanctuary in a lagoon (just before the Carmel River empties into the sea) featuring a wide variety of waterfowl and song birds. Monastery Beach, also known as San Jose Creek Beach, is part of the park and is popular with scuba divers. Swimming, wading or walking near the ocean can be extremely dangerous at this beach.
Be "In The Know" about Bonfires
Effective September 16, 2014, California State Parks began banning beach fires on state beaches within the Monterey District to minimize any fire dangers. The state beaches affected by this order include Carmel River, Monastery and Monterey. State Park officials will begin issuing warnings immediately to first-time offenders. All illegal fires will immediately be put out and repeat offenders will be issued citations. For the purposes of cooking, a raised and self-contained gas camp stove may be used.
High fire danger and very little rain this summer, along with the continued degradation of our beaches due to charcoal and soot deposits from beach fires, requires us to rescind our order allowing beach fires. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience, but we are taking these steps to ensure public safety and to protect California’s natural resources.
California State Parks officials are rescinding a Superintendent’s Posted Order that allows beach fires without restrictions at the three state beaches mentioned above, and will begin enforcing California Code of Regulations T14 4311(a) which states, "No person shall light, build, use or maintain a fire within any State Park Unit except in a camp stove or a fireplace provided, maintained, or designated by the Department for such purpose".
Other measures recently taken to reduce the risk of wildfires include the US Forest Service and California State Parks banning any wood or charcoal burning fires in the Los Padres Forest or Big Sur in late August.
Please do YOUR part to help keep our beaches CLEAN and SAFE for everyone!
Location - Directions
- Highway 1 southbound.
- Right on Rio Road.
- Left on Santa Lucia.
- Left on Carmelo.
Seasons/Climate Recommended Clothing
The weather can be changeable. Layered clothing is advised.
Dogs are allowed on leash at this location.