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China Cove and Gibson's Beach

Monterey, CA
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China Cove and Gibson's Beach, Monterey California

Description

NOTE: Access appears to be closed to China Cove currently.
You have to see China Cove at least once in your life! What a gorgeous little beach! Perfect white sands aren't easy to find in California, but you will get to dig your toes into them at China Cove. Not only that, but the water isn't the slightest bit grey. It is crystal clear with hues of blue and green. Flowers cling to the cliffs that frame the cove. Spend a blissful morning just taking in the beauty of this place. Although the waters look enticing, they are frosty! But the late summer day we were there, a brave girl frolicked in the water, and delighted in the sea-cave to the left of the beach. I was shivering even though I was sitting in the full sun at noon with a sweater and jacket on, in the middle of summer!
To access China Cove, you must visit Point Lobos State Reserve. It costs $10 per car but you can park outside the park along Highway 1 to avoid the fee. This is necessary when the park is full, which is often. Hike the South Plateau trail, which is to the left of the entry booth. You will pass Gibson's Beach, another gorgeous, but larger, white-sand beach. You can take stairs down to explore this beach. Or continue along the trail past Bird Rock, a huge white rock covered in happy cormorants. Here you may see sea otters playing in kelp offshore or harbor seals sunning on rocks just above the water. Next you will arrive at the stairs that lead down to China Cove. If you pay to enter the park, you can drive closer to China Cove and walk a short distance. But I recommend the half-hour South Plateau hike because it's lovely to walk through the moss-strung trees and then along the cliffs.

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Photo Gallery

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Spanish moss on the trees near the entrance to Point Lobos State Reserve.
Spanish moss on the trees near the entrance to Point Lobos State Reserve.
Perfect Gibson's Beach.
Perfect Gibson's Beach.
Gibson's Beach- paradise!
Gibson's Beach- paradise!
The southernmost section of the South Plateau Trail, as it winds toward Pelican Point.
The southernmost section of the South Plateau Trail, as it winds toward Pelican Point.
Bird Island area.
Bird Island area.
Flowers, kelp beds, Gibson's Beach, and then the pine-covered mountains.
Flowers, kelp beds, Gibson's Beach, and then the pine-covered mountains.
The sea arch around the corner from China Cove.
The sea arch around the corner from China Cove.
Cormorants galore on Bird Rock.
Cormorants galore on Bird Rock.
Kelp!
Kelp!
Lovely little sea cave around the corner from China Cove.
Lovely little sea cave around the corner from China Cove.
A little girl enjoying herself at China Cove- see Bird Rock in the distance.
A little girl enjoying herself at China Cove- see Bird Rock in the distance.
China Cove midday in late Summer.
China Cove midday in late Summer.

Directions

Take Highway 1 south from Monterey. Soon you will see signs for Point Lobos State Reserve. Pull into the driveway to the right, and pay $10 per car to enter. If it's full, park along Highway 1 and walk in for free. At the booth, you can buy a great map for $1 that tells about the park and its trails.

This is an interactive map, you can zoom and move it.

Visitor Ratings

Overall Visitor Rating:


Jane
04/30/2015 05:51
The inept Point Lobos Reserve park staff closed access to the most beautiful corner of Point Lobos.

Unbelievable.

I visited this tiny beach as a child. My mom liked the protected nature of the cove and clear water which made it an idea spot to introduce small children to the ocean's edge.

I have returned many times, swimming through the stone tunnel from Gibson Beach on occasion.

There are so few spots in the world like this one.

I can't believe the taxpayer funded Park staff closed China Beach to public access.

(The spot is 5 star when you can walk down to it. Otherwise it's negative 100 because you see what you are missing.)

Editor
02/14/2011 14:34
Hi Bob, The shape of the beach looks similar, as does the water color. Both are so gorgeous! But the scene I think you are thinking of was filmed at Eternity Beach in Hawaii, which is also on our website!
http://www.lotsafunmaps.com/Oahu/Eternity_Beach_and_Halona_Blowhole.html

Bob
02/14/2011 11:00
Was this the beach where part of "From Here to Eternity" with Bert Lancaster was filmed?

Evelyn
12/22/2009 13:39
I feel a personal connection with this place. Can't wait to return.

Casey
10/21/2009 15:00
We hiked around Point Lobos last September (08) and China Cove was closed due to the stairs falling apart; we tried to go down "at our own risk" but got called back up by the Ranger. It is a beautiful sight even from afar. We're going back this weekend (10/24/09) - hopefully it's open again and we can go down to explore and take in the beauty up close!

Lupe
10/14/2009 19:59
I truly had no idea such a paradise existed

Last Updated Thu, 30 Apr 2015 17:04:06 GMT