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Camping at Moss Landing State Beach

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Location and Accessibility

Moss Landing State Beach is located in Monterey County, on the central coast of California. It is situated in the small town of Moss Landing, which is roughly 20 miles north of Monterey and about 95 miles south of San Francisco. The beach can be accessed via Highway 1, and there are signs that direct visitors to the parking area.


  • Birdwatching: The beach is a popular spot for birdwatching as it is close to the Moss Landing Wildlife Area, which is home to hundreds of bird species.
  • Fishing: Anglers can fish off the beach, but they must comply with all California Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations.
  • Surfing and Water Sports: While the water can be rough, it is a favored spot for experienced surfers and kayakers. However, caution is advised due to strong rip currents.
  • Picnicking: Visitors often enjoy picnicking on the beach, but it's important to pack out all trash to keep the area clean.
  • Wildlife Observation: The nearby Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary provide excellent opportunities for marine mammal observation.

Camping Prohibitions

It is important to note that overnight camping is not allowed at Moss Landing State Beach. There are, however, various campsites and RV parks in the surrounding area for those who want to stay overnight.

Facilities and Regulations

  • Parking: The beach provides a parking lot, but space can be limited, especially on busy weekends.
  • Restrooms: Basic restroom facilities are available, but visitors should not expect showers or advanced amenities.
  • Dogs: Dogs are generally allowed on the beach, but they must be kept on a leash at all times.
  • Fires: Beach fires may be prohibited, so it's essential to check the current regulations before planning any evening activities.

Safety Considerations

  • Rip Currents: The beach is known for strong rip currents, so swimmers must exercise extreme caution.
  • Cold Water: The water temperature is typically cold, and wetsuits are recommended for prolonged water activity.

Conservation Efforts

The beach is part of the California State Parks system and is subject to conservation efforts to protect the sensitive marine environment and wildlife. Visitors should respect all rules designed to preserve the natural habitat of the various species living within the area.

Local Services

Moss Landing offers a variety of services including dining options specializing in seafood, kayak rentals, and marine research facilities. Visitors looking for grocery stores or additional amenities may need to travel to nearby larger towns.

Useful Tips

  • Check the weather: Coastal weather can be variable, and fog is common, so it's wise to be prepared with layers of clothing.
  • Tides: Check the tide schedule as high tides can limit the amount of available beach space and can affect activities such as fishing and beachcombing.
  • Environmental Protection: Always stay informed about any specific environmental protection rules in place, as the area is a critical habitat for wildlife.

For the most current information relating to visitation and regulations, it's best to contact the California State Parks department or visit their official website before your trip to Moss Landing State Beach.

Map of Campgrounds in Moss Landing State Beach
Campgrounds in Moss Landing State Beach
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