Share:

Montara State Beach

San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, California

Start Exploring
Montara State Beach

Share:

Advertisement
  • Waves at Montara Beach.- Montara State Beach
  • Montara Beach from the south lot.- Montara State Beach
  • Santa Cruz Mountains seen from Montara Beach.- Montara State Beach
  • Montara Beach from the south parking lot.- Montara State Beach
  • Beach access from La Costanera parking area in the south lot.- Montara State Beach
  • Waves at Montara Beach.- Montara State Beach
  • Beach access from the north lot to Martini Creek, which occasionally floods.- Montara State Beach
  • Secondary beach access from the north lot, south of the Martini Creek trail.- Montara State Beach
  • Waves at Montara Beach.- Montara State Beach
  • Montara Beach cliffs.- Montara State Beach
  • Waves at Montara Beach. - Montara State Beach
  • Montara Beach from the Gray Whale Cove Trail.- Montara State Beach
  • Highway 1 seen from Montara Beach.- Montara State Beach
  • - Montara State Beach
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Clean. Good surf. Dogs allowed on leash.
Cons: 
Often foggy. Rip currents. Limited parking and access. Sharks.
Advertisement
Region:
San Francisco Peninsula + Santa Cruz, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Location type: 
Sandy beach
Rocky shore
Parking Pass: 
Not Required
Current Local Weather:
Advertisement
Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

Pristine sands and heavy waves entice San Franciscans to make the half-hour journey down the coast to Montara State Beach.  On a big day, the break is known as Mini Mavericks by those who surf its sharky waters. With the legendary big-wave break only 5 miles away, conditions can be similarly unforgiving. When it’s small, however, Montara is hospitable to beginner and intermediate surfers.     

Great white sharks are known to frequent this section of coast, which has a deep longshore trough and plenty of rip currents.  On a weekday the beach is all but abandoned, while the weekend sees more locals and day trippers. Often cloaked in fog, Montara can be packed in the event that the sun comes out on a Saturday. Parking is usually easy, but the lots can fill up in better weather. 

From the northern lot there are two beach access points. Wooden stairs at Martini Creek are at the end of the northernmost trail.  In the spring, Martini Creek may require a bit of wading to reach the beach. A second trail to the south of Martini Creek leads down a relatively steep ravine that can be slippery to navigate. For more reliable access, the southern lot is a better option. Behind La Costanera restaurant lies a well-maintained cement staircase to the beach.

Montara State Beach and McNee Ranch is a California State Park that includes Gray Whale Cove and hiking trails to the east in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Updates, Tips + Comments

Updates, Tips + Comments

Field Guide

Field Guide

Download
Advertisement
Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(9 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(104 within a 30 mile radius)

Advertisement
Related Content

Related Content

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

Who Wants To Do It
5 Members
Who's Done It
15 Members
Submission by
Contributor
59 Adventures Explored
51 Adventures Published

Newsletter Signup

Join the Outdoor Project Community

Get access to essential planning materials and information for your next adventure. Take a few seconds to join the community. It’s FREE!

Free Field Guides + Maps

Post Updates, Tips + Comments

Organize + Track Your Adventures

Insider Detailed Info, News + Benefits

Custom Driving Directions

Recommended Campsites, Photos + Reservation Info