Sunset at Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Dune It Right

Watch a Beach Sunset at Ford Ord Dunes State Park in Monterey

Want a beach that will really get you away from it all? Fort Ord Dunes State Park is just the ticket. And it often glows golden toward sunset. Opened to the public in 2009, this less-known addition to the state parks system gives an impressive perspective of the half-moon shaped Monterey Bay.

Fort Ord was once an army training facility, and while there are remnants of its past and an audio tour available for more context and history, it’s been transformed into a recreational landscape, and a sublime place to watch ocean meet land at its beautiful beach.

Paraglider at Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Sunset at Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Sunset at Fort Ord Dunes State Park

Get a great perspective from the main parking lot, where a short ascent goes to a bird’s-eye view of the coast. Then stroll down to the beach via a short hike that starts on the paved recreation trail running north to south through the park (a favorite for bikers and walkers, and it’s dog-friendly).

Sunset at Fort Ord Dunes State Park

A sign points the way to a sandy trail leading down to the beach (no dogs here, sorry). At the beach stroll for a while or take a seat on driftwood. Soak in views all the way north to Santa Cruz and the peak of Loma Prieta and south to the Monterey Peninsula. The late-day sun spreads across the horizon, casting a marigold hue across the sand as pelicans coast the skies, buoyed by the sea breeze. Sand, salty air, sun … magic. 

Here's a map to Fort Ord Dunes State Park. Dog-friendly on the trails and parking area. No dogs on the beach.

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