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Escaping the Heat & Smoke to Marina Dunes Beach

Escaping the heat and smoke, I took a Day Vacay at Marina Dunes Beach. 

I headed west, over Highway 152, 101, and toward Monterey. It took me about 3 hours to drive over to the Marina Dunes Preserve, just a little east of Monterey. Parking on the road, I grabbed my stuff and headed to the beach. There are many beaches in the area but some do not allow dogs. This one does allows dogs on leash but I did not bring my dogs this time. They have been here several times though and we love the long beach. We have even stayed across the street at the Marina Dunes RV Park.

The beach is bordered by preserve land that is fenced. The 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.

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. I loved those dunes with their vegetation as I walked along the Preserve Lands.

It is about 1/4 mile or so from the road along the path to the beach and I was soon in sight of the ocean.


And the fog was in, giving me a very cool day for my adventure. I set up my beach chair, wrapped up in a blanket and pulled out Dave Stamey’s new book. Yes, it is the same guy who is such a wonderful cowboy singer!

The air smelled wonderful, chock full of those ocean smells.

The waves were so very soothing to listen to.

I watched some birds feeding along the surf line.

And I watched a man surf fishing.

Around lunchtime, the fog started to lift giving peeks of blue sky.

It was time for me to head back home, into the heat and hopefully not too smoky of skies.

For me, it was the perfect get away for the day. It is a long drive, about 3 hours, but that is about the same time it takes me to drive to Tioga Pass for an adventure. There are plenty of lodging options such as RV or hotels in the area if you wish to spend more time and explore the area.

Dog Friendly?

Both the RV resort and the beach that I have 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 I 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 I have previously 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 this Area:

Escaping the Heat with Mom to Moss Landing July 11, 2021

Fannie & I Escaped The Heat At Moss Landing For A Day August 23, 2020

Escape with Sally & Fannie to Marina Dunes October 11, 2020

Escape with Sally to Moss Landing January 26, 2020

Escape to Moss Landing for the Day July 29, 2018

Escape to Moss Landing January 24, 2016


Marina Dunes RV Resort

Marina Dunes Preserve

Monterey State Beach


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