No Ordinary Beach

Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Want a beach that will really get you away from it all? Fort Ord Dunes State Park is just the ticket. This relative newcomer to the state park system gives an impressive perspective of the half moon–shaped Monterey Bay. Get a great view of it from the main parking lot and try to imagine a canyon the size of the Grand Canyon just offshore and underwater. Then stroll down to the beach … and keep strolling … you can go on for miles. Enjoy beautiful views all the way north to Santa Cruz and Loma Prieta Mountain and south to the Monterey Peninsula. Fort Ord’s shifting windswept bluffs make harsh conditions for any native plants and animals to survive (though you might see a black legless lizard or snowy plover if you’re lucky). Also surviving are remnants of Fort Ord’s past as an army training facility: 1.5 million soldiers trained here from 1940 to 1973. Today it’s a sublime place to watch land meet the ocean, unbroken, for miles.

To reach the beach: From Hwy. 1 exit Lightfighter Dr. and bear right. Turn left onto 2nd Ave. Turn left onto Divarty St. Turn right onto 1st Ave. (map). Signs will direct you to the park entrance. Dog-friendly on the trails and parking area. No dogs on the beach.

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