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Asilomar State Beach

ASILOMAR STATE BEACH: Located in the Monterey Peninsula on the central coast of California, in the city of Pacific Grove. The word “Asilomar” literally means, “a refuge by the sea,” and that is precisely what Asilomar State Beach is. The beach sits adjacent to the Asilomar Conference Grounds, where they overnight accommodations with views set in the woodsy, pine scented 107 coastal acres and a boardwalk along the dunes for direct beach access. The beach itself is only approximately ¾ of a mile and is laced with sand dunes, rocky coves being met by crashing surges of the Pacific. There is a walking trail and dogs are allowed on their leashes only and a paved road used frequently by bikers. Asilomar State Beach is part of the Pacific Grove Fish Garden Refuge and the Monterey Bay Sanctuary, so wild life is highly protected.

SURF, TIDES, CLIMATE, WATER TEMP: The climate in the central coast varies greatly. Pacific Grove is noted for a higher marine layer coverage resulting in greater patches of intermittent fog, more likely to occur from June through mid-August. The best time for a visit to this area of the Central coast is in late summer or fall, to guarantee more ideal conditions for beach viewing and activities. The reef tends to be a left-hander on the south end of Asilomar changing to a right after that. Asilomar State Beach is known to have incredible epic waves on a big day can have some of the most challenging surf on the California Coast. The best tide is low and incoming to medium.

HAZARDS: Large surf and sharks.

BEACH ACTIVITIES: A nice display of sandy state beach with translucent water, overlooked by another Peninsula golf course and exclusive million dollar estates, Asilomar is notorious in the area for having year round surf. The swells can range from small to large and is a surety for a local surf scene. Besides board surfing, there is golfing, reading or relaxing at the beach, fishing, trail walking (with deer) or photography that can be enjoyed readily at Asilomar. The Conference grounds have a heated pool, ping pong, meeting facilities, and dining available.

LOCAL FLAVOR: If the beach is not desired, walks through historic downtown Pacific Grove is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. There is quite an assortment of quaint homes and buildings and shops that are a part of Pacific Grove’s original heritage. Lighthouse Street, is the main drag through town and it not only filled with history, but it is a great place to shop for the perfect gift or souvenir. There are used bookstores, wonderful restaurants and coffee shops that add to the charming ambiance of Pacific Grove. For a moment, it is easy to forget that you are on the California coast, for there is a delightful sense of New England flavor in this tucked away little town.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS:
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Golf courses/Pebble Beach, Spyglass, Spanish Bay, Pacific Grove Municipal
  • Horseback Riding/Pebble Beach Equestrian Center
  • 17 Mile Drive

CAMPGROUND/STATE PARKS:
  • Asilomar State Beach and Conference Grounds, Pacific Grove, CA: Views of cypress, woodsy pines, pounding surf, wildlife and sand dunes.
  • Marina California State Beach, Marina, CA: Hand gliding, radio-controlled gliders, kites, picnic tables.
  • Point Lobos California State Reserve, Carmel, CA: Headlands, coves, Rolling Meadows. Rich underwater habitats; one of the best in the world and popular with divers. Wildlife includes: Seals, sea lions, sea otters and migrating gray whales (from December to May).
  • Fremont Peak, California State Park: Overnight campground: Open views of the Monterey Bay from its hiking trails in the grasslands of the higher peaks of the Gavilan Range.
  • Laguna Seca Recreational Park: RV Overnight camping only: Overlooking the Salinas valley and the famous Laguna Seca Autocross.

by: Carla Iacovetti
©2006Carla Iacovetti