Marina is a Central Coast town in California located along beautiful Monterey Bay. The city is home to the Monterey Bay campus of California State University. Its former United States Army facility, Fort Ord, has been converted into several national and state parks, including Fort Ord National Monument and the Fort Ord Dunes State Park. The region is also known as the site of Skydive Monterey Bay, the highest and closest coastal tandem skydiving experience on the Pacific Coast.
1.Marina State Beach
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Marina State Beach is a protected visitor beach along beautiful Monterey Bay, located off California's Highway One adjacent to the 170-acre Marina Dunes Preserve, which protects the Central Coast's highest sand dune formations. The beach is a popular site for surfing and hang gliding throughout the day, with air currents that also provide prime conditions for kite flying. Other day-use activities at the beach include a cafe and an observation deck for observation of the nearby dune structures and shoreline. Access is provided to the nearby Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which stretches to Pebble Beach. Birding enthusiasts can view more than 27 bird species throughout the area at the nearby Preserve and Locke-Paddon Community Park.
Reservation Rd, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-649-2836
2.Fort Ord Dunes State Park
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Fort Ord Dunes State Park is a California state park stretching along four miles of coastline along Monterey Bay, centered around the defunct American military installation Ford Ord. The recently-opened park was developed in 2009 after significant restorations to the fort, which is also preserved by the National Parks Service as part of Fort Ord National Monument. Popular day use activities at the park include fishing, boating, and hiking and biking along the park's four mile access road. Interpretive exhibits detail the park's history as a military training area, with additional information provided by a free cell phone audio tour. A boardwalk at the park leads to a blufftop viewing platform, offering sweeping views of the Monterey Bay area. Visitors should note that due to sensitive environmental conditions, public access at the park is restricted to designated paths and trails.
Beach Range Rd, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-649-2836
3.Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette
© Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette
Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette is an upscale restaurant in Marina offering elegant land and sea dishes and a full-service bar. The new restaurant, which opened in the fall of 2017, strives to provide visitors with an authentic Central Coast dining experience, sourcing local seafood and charcuterie that is displayed in glass cases prior to preparation and serving. Dishes crafted by executive chef David Baron include line-caught king salmon, wild Alaskan halibut, and fried full-tilt chicken, with a full oyster bar available serving up grilled and raw selections. Brunch options include the popular regional dish Loco Moco, which pairs a California beef patty with garlic fried rice, gravy, and two fried eggs.
3295 Dunes Dr, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-883-5535
4.Locke-Paddon Community Park
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Locke-Paddon Community Park is a 17-acre community park in Marina that serves as one of the region's premiere bird watching spots, home to more than 138 bird species. The park is home to populations of warblers, sparrows, grebes, coots, and blackbirds, with many other species nesting and migrating throughout the winter and spring months. Freshwater vernal ponds are also home to a wide range of avian and waterfowl species. The park serves as the northern terminus of the 29-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, which travels as far south in the region as Pebble Beach. Day-use visitor facilities include walking paths with interpretive signs, picnic areas, workout stations, and a floating walkway over the park's waterways.
Reservation Road and Seaside Ave, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-884-1253
5.Casino Monterey - The Marina Club
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Casino Monterey - The Marina Club is one of the Pacific Coast's most visitor-friendly poker clubs, originally opened to the public in 1970 by Betty and Guy Calamia. Today, the site has expanded to feature Texas Hold'Em, three-card and pai gow poker, baccarat, and blackjack 21 gaming opportunities, open to the public 24 hours a day. A lively gaming atmosphere is maintained into the late night hours, with employees creating a conversational community vibe with players during games. Seven gaming tables are offered at the facility, with expansions expected in the near future. Players are welcome to order food from a number of nearby dining establishments and have meals delivered to the casino during play.
204 Carmel Ave, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-384-0925
6.Urban Wine Row
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Urban Wine Row is a collaboration between Monterey County vintners Lepe Cellars, Cima Collina, Comanche Cellars, and Sinecure Wines, located within the Marina Business Park off California's Highway One. The unique collaboration offers opportunities to taste wines from all four cellars on the first Saturday of each month, with tickets allowing for nine tastings of any combination of wines from any of the four companies. Red, white, sparkling, and dessert wines are showcased, including local niche varietals such as Grenache, Tempranillo, and Mourvedre. Visitors can enjoy wines in a low-key environment, with staff at all four facilities on hand to answer questions about wines and the winemaking process. Live music performances are presented on select tasting days, with souvenir cups given to all participants.
3344 Paul Davis Drive, Marina, Ca 93933
7.Ticos Breakfast and Lunch
© Ticos Breakfast and Lunch
Ticos Breakfast and Lunch is an American-style diner that serves up fresh, simple, and classic dishes in a relaxed casual-dining atmosphere. The restaurant was opened to the public in 2004 by Alberto Vasquez and Silvia Herrera, former chefs at area restaurants in Carmel Valley. The family-owned business uses locally-sourced produce in dishes and crafts its own homemade sausage on site for use in entrees such as omelets and sandwiches. A wide selection of vegetarian entrees are available daily, including the restaurant's signature grilled vegetable sandwich. Outdoor seating options are offered seasonally, with morning service available both indoors and outdoors.
330 Reservation Rd C, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-582-2509
8.Daddy's City Diner
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Daddy's City Diner is a family-owned comfort food diner in Marina, opened to the public in 2013 by Gina and Bob Fajilan. The storefront diner is a favorite dining spot within the city, serving up casual homemade favorites in a spacious dining area decked out in Americana decor. Favorite American dishes include pancakes and omelets at breakfast, with homestyle favorites such as chicken fried steak, burgers, and mashed potatoes available at lunch. Authentic Filipino breakfasts are also served, including favorites such as tocino, longanisa, and garlic fried rice. Chicken, fish, and prawn baskets are also served, along with value meals combining favorites such as burritos, hot dogs, and quesadillas with side dishes.
265 Reservation Rd F, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-883-0817
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Cyclepath Outfitters is the Central Coast's premiere bike rental service, offering opportunities to explore the best trailways and bike routes in Monterey County aboard a variety of 27.5 wheel bikes. Various brands of bikes are available for rental, including Hightower and Santa Cruz line offerings and professional level bikes. Guided biking tours are available with advance reservation, with complimentary point-to-point shuttle service provided for tour participants. All tours are tailored to participant ability levels, with routes selected based on difficulty and navigability proportional to biking experience. Renters may also call ahead to guarantee bike model availability.
3330 Dunes Road, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-682-1792
10.Skydive Monterey Bay
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Skydive Monterey Bay is California's closest coastal skydive center, offering once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to jump at heights of up to 18,000 feet above the Bay Area as part of the world's highest tandem skydiving experience. The company's airport is constructed atop a sand dune, with landing sites located approximately three miles from the Pacific Ocean. Participants fly in the company's Super King Air B90 craft and freefall for over 90 seconds, providing unparalleled opportunities to view Monterey Bay and the Santa Lucia Mountains. All flights accommodate up to 15 skydivers for group diving experiences, with all tandem diving systems for passengers equipped with two parachutes and an automatic activation device. Participants must be at least 18 years old to fly, though there is no upper age limit for physically health divers.
721 Neeson Rd Suite 1, Marina, CA 93933, Phone: 831-384-3483
10 Best Things to Do in Marina, California
- Marina State Beach, Photo: Courtesy of allexxandarx - Fotolia.com
- Fort Ord Dunes State Park, Photo: Courtesy of dglimages - Fotolia.com
- Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette, Photo: Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette
- Locke-Paddon Community Park, Photo: Courtesy of ArtushFoto - Fotolia.com
- Casino Monterey - The Marina Club, Photo: Courtesy of alfexe - Fotolia.com
- Urban Wine Row, Photo: Courtesy of Lola Fdez. Nogales - Fotolia.com
- Ticos Breakfast and Lunch, Photo: Ticos Breakfast and Lunch
- Daddy's City Diner, Photo: Courtesy of hurricanehank - Fotolia.com
- Cyclepath Outfitters, Photo: Courtesy of Panitan - Fotolia.com
- Skydive Monterey Bay, Photo: Courtesy of Speedfighter - Fotolia.com
- Cover Photo: Marina, California