Fantastic Diving

photo of sea anenomeThe beauty of Point Lobos extends to the wondrous underwater seascapes of its marine habitat. Half of the reserve is all you see unless you're a diver and visit the underwater world just offshore. This is one of the richest marine habitats in California. Divers explore a realm of beauty that until the 20th century was largely inaccessible to humans.

Point Lobos, with its sheltered coves, clear water, abundance of sea life, and fascinating underwater topography, is considered the best diving spot on the Monterey Peninsula, and one of the best on the California coast.  Despite its cold water, scuba divers flock to the underwater reserve in their wet suits and dry suits to enter the domain of fish, creatures without backbones, and marine mammals.

As a diver, one can enter into a forest of giant kelp to visit a variety of dive areas, starting at Whalers Cove.  The depth of the water extends to about 70 feet at middle reef. The underwater seascape is dotted with boulders and valleys that allow the underwater explorer to continuously scan the area for schooling fish, encounter the company of curious harbor seals or otters, and take in multicolored anemones and other bottom-dwelling creatures adorning rock faces and nestled in every crevice.

Our visitors often ask what the divers are catching down there, but, since the diving areas are part of the Reserve the divers are strictly seeing the sights. The reserve’s animals and plants are fully protected by state law from any disturbance.

Thanks to the efforts of the local dive community and the generosity of many donors, a 3D Model of the Point Lobos State Marine Reserve Dive Areas was installed at Whaler’s Cove on May 10, 2014. This unique model provides divers with landmarks to navigate the Reserve, and allows nondivers to visualize the underwater wonders – without getting wet! We invite you to visit this model and explore the amazing underwater seascape.

Diving is permitted only in Whalers Cove, Bluefish Cove, and nearby waters, and is tightly controlled by strict safety regulations. A reservation system limits the number of divers on any given day. Online reservations are now being made via the California State Parks siteAny questions or concerns can be submitted by email to

Dive conditions