DescriptionMost travelers zip right past Marina en route to Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach or Carmel, the Monterey Peninsula’s primary tourist destinations. That doesn’t mean you should skip Fort Ord Dunes State Park, however. A 1,500-foot trail leads to a 4-mile stretch of beach tailor made for ambling and exploring. Then take a stroll along the boardwalk to a blufftop platform offering panoramic views of Monterey Bay. From SR 1 take the Light Fighter Drive exit and bear right; turn left onto 2nd Avenue, left onto Divarty Street, then right onto 1st Avenue and follow signs to the park entrance.
In addition to plenty of sandy expanses, the persistent winds at Marina State Beach (SR 1 Reservation Road exit) create ideal conditions for surfers, kite flyers and hang gliders. Dolphins can often be spotted leaping above the waves beyond the shoreline. This beach is also a popular local spot for sunset watching.