Kayaking Stillwater Cove, 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, & Carmel Beach

Kayaking along the Monterey Bay Coast Guard Pier
© by George E. Sayour

The popular 17 Mile Drive through Pacific Grove and along Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula attracts sightseers, golfers, bikers, and even hikers. It is also a great kayaking location with scenic views of the coastline the entire way. At the south end of 17 Mile Drive within the Pebble Beach Tennis Club and just north of Carmel is Stillwater Cove which serves as the perfect launch location to start a variety of kayaking trips suited for varying abilities.

Getting to Stillwater Cove

  • Directions to Stillwater Cove

    Access to Stillwater Cove is through a gated entrance where an $8 fee is collected. From 17 Mile Scenic follow signs toward the” Lodge, “ Golf Courses,” “Lodge at Pebble Beach,” and “Casa Palermo.” Then follow signs for “Coastal Access” and the “Beach Club.”
  • Parking at Stillwater Cove

    The parking spots at the Beach Club are for unloading purposes only. Unload here observing proper launch etiquette and then drive your car down to the 17th Fairway to park your car. Follow the path back to the beach. Parking can become a problem on weekends and during lunch hours during the week. You can make reservations for parking for free by calling 831-625-8536.
  • The Kayak Put-in at Stillwater Cove

    Take the stairs down to the beach where you can launch your kayak at Stillwater Cove.

Kayaking Trips out of Stillwater Cove

  • Kayaking in Stillwater Cove (Beginners)

    Beginner’s who don’t want to paddle out into the open water can stay in the cove and paddle around. From the vantage point of the beach, the point on the South or left side of the beach is known as Arrowhead Point. Off to the right is Pescadero Point. There are some cool rocks to explore at each of these points as well as at the mouth of Stillwater Cove. Kayaking around to the right along the shore will take you along Pebble Beach Hole 18.
  • Kayaking From Stillwater Cove to Carmel Beach (Intermediate)

    Heading out of Stillwater Cove, take a left around Arrowhead Point in toward Carmel Beach. Continuing your kayaking trip further down will take you past the bulge at the south end of the beach. Paddle around that point and come to Carmel River State Beach. The south end of Carmel River State Beach is known as Monastery Beach which is the start of the paddle around Point Lobos State Park.
    • The paddle out of Stillwater Cove to Carmel Beach is an Intermediate Paddle. Going further than that depends on the conditions.
  • Kayaking From Stillwater Cove Along 17 Mile Drive (Intermediate to Advanced)

    You can paddle due west out of Stillwater Cove from the kayak launch to get out of the cove. Then turn right to head along the shoreline of 17 Mile Drive. For the most part, this is an out and back unless you’ve previously scoped out a suitable takeout prior to the trip. Remember parking could be an issue so if you do this as a one-way excursion, have a pickup plan in place.
    • If you want to kayak the entire stretch of 17 Mile Drive, there is a beach on Spanish Bay Road on the north end of the drive that could serve as a take-out. Again, plan out beforehand how and where you will do this.
    • This is an Intermediate to Advanced Paddling Trip depending on how far your kayak, how much exploring you do in the rocks, and how far out you go from shore.

As with any open water kayaking trips be sure you possess solid sea kayaking rescue skills before going out into open water.