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beach sceneBeaches are one of the most visible and visited places in the sanctuary. Sandy beaches make up about half of the sanctuary's coastline. Every year, visitors come from around the world to enjoy the natural scenery, wildlife and recreation that our beaches offer.

Find a Sanctuary Beach!

Rocky Beaches and Tide Pooling

Rocky shores primarily occur north and south of Monterey Bay. Tide pooling is a great way to explore the sanctuary's rocky beaches and discover an amazing array of sea life without getting wet! Learn more.

Tide Tables

A tide table shows the times and tidal heights of all high and low tides throughout the year. Check NOAA's Tide Predictions.

Conservation Issues

Like other beaches around the world, sanctuary beaches are subject to human disturbance including:

Water Quality

Various agencies and citizen groups monitor beach water quality by collecting water samples to test for contaminants that may cause sickness. Click here to check water quality at public beaches.

Coastal Erosion and Armoring

Structures installed to prevent natural erosion and protect property from destruction can alter the beach, depriving it of sand. The sanctuary's coastal erosion plan addresses this issue.

Marine Debris

Trash on the beach can be dumped overboard by boats, carried from the land by rivers and storm drains, or left behind by visitors. Regardless of its origin, marine debris poses a threat to marine life. Learn more.

Help Study and Protect Sanctuary Beaches

beach cleanupBeach Cleanups

Many people volunteer their time to pick up beach litter. Volunteers gather every year in September to collect trash for California Coastal Cleanup Day.

The marine advocacy organization Save Our Shores organizes beach cleanups throughout the year in Monterey and Santa Cruz Counties.


In this field program, students and volunteers are trained to study and monitor the rocky and sandy shores of the marine sanctuary.


A sanctuary beach monitoring study, utilizing volunteers to sample beaches for stranded marine birds and mammals.

Useful Links


Reviewed: April 11, 2024
Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service

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