4 Must-See Monterey Underwater SCUBA Sites

The sea off Monterey is rich in marine life and beautiful underwater worlds. Here are 4 thrilling Monterey Things to Do.
Del Monte Beach
Del Monte Avenue
Monterey, California 93940

This scuba diving site east of Fisherman's Wharf is ideal for the novice level. The beach has no rocks, the bottom slopes gradually and the place is usually calm because the wharf and harbor protect it from most swells. There are many easy entries at the southern end of the beach.

Under water, you'll encounter a sandy bottom, with beds of seaweed. You'll see perch, snails, starry flounders, skates, torpedo rays, sheepcrabs, nudibrachs and halibut. The waters are 10 to 35 feet deep. The pier pilings are a great site for marine life. They're covered with all sorts of sea creatures. Permission from the harbormaster's office is required for this dive.

There's a shale bed at a depth of 40 feet not far from the shore. It has a forest of kelp swarming with unusual marine life such as hooded nudibranchs. Many divers find Del Monte Beach a good site for night diving. Worth visiting from your Monterey Bed and Breakfast.

Metridium Fields
San Carlos Beach
Foam Street and Cannery Row
Monterey, California 93940

This site is best for advanced levels because of its distance from the shore. A colorful underwater world awaits you with rocky reefs abloom with giant anemones. Metridium anemones are actually animals that look like plants, so it's better not to try and pluck them for your aquarium back home!

You'll also see nudibranchs such as huge sea lemons, hermissendas and clown dorids. However, it’s not all safe and secure. There may be juvenile wolf eels about and on rare occasions, a swell shark lurking inside the rocks. The depth here is about 35 to 60 feet. The fields are a thrilling addition to your Monterey Things to Do list.

San Carlos Beach (The Breakwater)
Foam Street and Cannery Row
Monterey, California 93940

Great for the novice level, this sandy beach with some scattered rocks is a popular diving spot. Although visibility may not be excellent and it's crowded with divers, the waters here offer a variety of underwater worlds. If you enter from the west end of the beach, you'll be able to see a spectacular Metridium Anemone field at about 50 feet.

At the Breakwater past the bend, you can dive down to 50 feet. At about 15 to 25 feet you'll see huge schools of fish beneath the kelp. Also, the area at the end of the Breakwater has fewer student divers and quite a few sea lions. Don't miss watching them at play during your stay at your Monterey Inn.

Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf
400 Beach Street
Santa Cruz, California 95060

Santa Cruz Wharf, located near the Beach Boardwalk, is suitable for the advanced level due to poor underwater visibility. When the sea is calm, you can see up to 20 feet, but usually it's just 5 to 10 feet of clear water. However, poor visibility won't prevent you from seeing a lot of sea life clinging to the pilings. There are anemones, nudibranchs, stars, tunicates, sponges, chitons and plenty of fish. Dives go down 20 to 30 feet. You can also see sea lions here and at night you'll see crabs and octopus. The wharf is about 42 miles from Monterey - a lovely day trip to add to your Monterey Things to Do.