I was so tired of the smoke, grey skies, no sun and I just had to escape it for a few days. I loaded up the camper, the dogs and headed over to Marina Dunes to breathe the fresh ocean air, feel the the sand beneath my toes and watch the waves crash in.
It took us about 3 hours to drive over to the Marina Dunes RV Resort (just a little east of Monterey) and after we got settled, we headed to the beach. One of the reasons I stayed here was because it is just across the street from a dog friendly beach. There are many beaches in the area but some do not allow dogs. The beach is bordered by preserve land that is fenced. This property was purchased by the Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District in 1988 to enhance and protect public access to the Monterey Bay seashore and restore native vegetation to the site for more natural habitat conditions. The District’s first act was to remove the old sand processing plant. Those foundations can still be seen just before you reach the beach. Since 1990, this preserve land has been steadily restored from his prior heavy use from an abandoned sand mining site and a lot of off-road vehicle damage.
I stuffed my pockets with doggie poop bags, then Sally the Weimaraner, Fannie the Corgi and I followed the access way to the beach, which was really an old sand mining roadway back in the day.
The path to the beach is bordered by fencing to protect the coastal dunes. This strip of land is always changing from wind and wave forces. During especially strong winter storms, this change can be quite obvious along the foredune. Beyond the storm-wave run-up area the rate of change is less perceptible. The reason for this is the native plant cover that has evolved with and adapted to these “shifting” sands. This living blanket insulates the dunes from the constant erosional force of wind. The Park District is restoring endemic coastal dune habitat to the site in an effort to stabilize the exposed dunes and increase wildlife habitat value. We walked along the Preserve Lands, which were beautiful in the morning light.
Then we hit the beach!
Foggy, cool and no smoke!
High tide had brought all kinds of weird things ashore and Fannie checked them out.
We took some long walks in the morning and afternoons, coming in for lunch.
We watched the waves crash.
And we watched birds land.
And those birds could gather together for quite the party in the sky.
Well rested and smoke free for a few days, we headed back home, hitting smoke around Merced then we were back in it again. Oh well, we can always make a big escape again.
Both the RV resort and the beach that Sally and I visited were dog friendly but that doesn’t mean that they are without rules. Dogs are allowed on leash in the Monterey State Beach area that we visited and you need to pick up after your dog. For the Monterey State Beach, dogs are allowed in some areas and not in others. There is a link to their website to make it easy for you to check these details out. I also recommend that if you plan on visiting, you check on the latest rules because I have found that sometimes the dog beach rules change.
Regarding the Marina Dunes RV Resort where we stayed, it is right next to Hwy 101 but so convenient to the beach access. Some of the RV spots are pretty noisy with the Hwy traffic and if you are a light sleeper, this may not be the spot for you. But it is very convenient to the beach access. Some friends of mine stayed a couple of days after I left and it was way too noisy for them. Just want you to have a heads up.
Prior Blogs in the Area: