Moss Landing CA

Moss Landing CA is not much more than a couple of blocks of cafés and restaurants, art galleries, and studios, plus a busy fishing port, but therein lies its charm. It’s a fine place to overnight or stop for a meal and get a dose of nature.  This quaint fishing village features several antique shops, art studios, fresh seafood markets and delightful restaurants all within strolling distance of each other.  Moss Landing is a popular spot for antiquing, surfing and nature watching. It’s located at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough, one of California’s largest wetland areas and home to hundreds of species. With so much to see, it’s easy to fill up a full day.  For a list of all the great beaches in the central California area, << Click Here >>.

Whale Watching in Moss Landing

Here’s one of those stars-aligning-just-right adventures you’ll never forget. In summer, when conditions are calm, experienced paddlers can take guided kayak tours into the open ocean off tiny Moss Landing, putting them smack-dab in the middle of the whale-watching action. Waters here, roughly 18 miles/29 kilometres north of Monterey, teem with wildlife. Climb into your kayak, paddle out, and watch the show, with humpbacks spouting, fluking, and even breaching all around.

Even if you don’t have paddling experience you can easily enjoy the show. Guided boat cruises also head out from the marina, where you can often see another marine mammal nosing about the docks—California sea otters. Whale-watching expeditions head out year-round.

Moss Landing Weather – When to Visit

The best time to visit Moss Landing CA is between April and May. Spring offers warmer temperatures, fewer crowds and food festivals dishing out delectable eats, including Pebble Beach Food & Wine and the Artichoke Festival in Castroville. Summer is the most popular time to visit the Monterey Peninsula, but it can still be chilly, so bring a sweater regardless of the season. Fall is another good time to visit, but the likelihood of rain increases starting in October. Moss Landing’s central California location subjects it to mild temperatures during the winter, with the average low reaching 48 degrees. Winter also brings lower hotel prices and the celebrity-heavy AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event held in February, making Moss Landing an attractive destination year-round.

Best Moss Landing Area Beaches

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Offshore fishing, surfing, windsurfing and horseback riding are popular activities. The beach is a favorite place for picnics because the dunes protect it from afternoon winds. This area is an important stop along the Pacific Flyway so bird watching is popular.

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Salinas River State Beach, Moss Landing CA, Moss Landing beaches, best beaches in California, Central California beaches, things to do in Moss Landing CA, Moss Landing CA Hotels, best restaurants in Moss Landing CA, best bars in Moss Landing CASalinas River State Beach

The beach and dunes at Salinas River State Beach are part of Monterey Bay’s unique coastal dune system and it is home to many species of birds, including the California brown pelican, red-tailed hawk, American kestrel, western snowy plover, western gull, black phoebe, western scrub-jay, California towhee, white-crowned sparrow, and more.  The beach is a popular fishing site.

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The beach area winds through the Marina Dunes Natural Preserves. The beach is known for hang-gliding. Radio-controlled gliders and kites are also popular. The beach is a favorite site for picnics. Water recreation is extremely hazardous due to strong rip currents.

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The beach is a popular fishing area, featuring perch, kingfish, sole, flounder, halibut, bocaccio (tomcod), jacksmelt, lingcod, cabezon, salmon, steelhead and occasional rockfish.  The beach features the Pajaro River estuary, where a natural preserve has been set aside. The sandy beach is also popular with bird watchers and equestrians. Horses are only allowed near the waterline. Swimming and water sports are hazardous because of strong rip-currents.

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The sandy beach here is long and wide and backed by dunes for most of its length. From the parking lot a trail meanders south in the dunes to the southern parking lot in Salinas River State Beach at Monterey Dunes Way. A wider path leads north from here all the way to the northern entrance near Moss Landing Harbor.

Moss Landing Area Tours & Activities

City and Celebrity Homes Tour

Visit Los Angeles’ most glamorous neighborhoods and iconic sites on a sightseeing tour in a multimedia-equipped luxury van. Watch footage that highlights Hollywood history on a 32″ HDTV flat screen monitor as you cruise the palm-lined streets of Beverly Hills, and take in sweeping views of the city from Mulholland Drive. Try to find your favorite stars while spotting celebrity homes, and enjoy live narration from a professional guide, whose facts, trivia and insider gossip will bring your Tinseltown trip to life.  Learn more about the City & Celebrity Homes Tour.

San Diego Tour: Hop-on Hop-off Trolley

Explore some of the top highlights of San Diego with this one- or two-day pass for the city’s Hop-on, Hop-off Trolley Tour. Choose your own adventure as you get on and off the trolley at any of the 10 included stops, covering famous sights including the Gaslamp Quarter, the San Diego Zoo, USS Midway and the Cruise Ship Terminal, Little Italy, and many more. This San Diego trolley tour also features live commentary from on-board guide during your ride.  Learn more about the San Diego Hop On Hop Off Trolley Tour.

Half-Day Los Angeles Supercar Tour – 1 Driver & 1 Passenger

Your dream experience will start in front of the Santa Monica Pier. From there, we have selected some of the most iconic and breathtaking roads in the area, from the Pacific Coast Highway, to Sunset Blvd with its celebrity mansions, going through Pacific Palisades and Beverly Hills. You will have plenty of opportunities for pictures and car talks during our photo stops. You’ll switch cars and get behind the wheel of each one of our exotic cars. Be prepared for smiles, thumbs-up and envious looks as you drive these gorgeous supercars. You will feel like a star for the day when driving on the iconic Rodeo Drive, as featured in movies like Pretty Woman or La La Land, or when driving by the studios.  Learn more about the Super Car Tour.

Hollywood & Beverly Hills Celebrity Homes & Landmark Locations in Open Air Buses

Explore Hollywood and Beverly Hills on a tour that highlights celebrity homes and famous landmarks in Los Angeles. Hear live commentary and get clear views from your seat in the open-air bus as you drive past the Hollywood Sign, TCL Chinese Theatre, the Hollywood Walk of Fame and more, and cruise along famous streets including Rodeo Drive and the Sunset Strip.  Learn more about the Hollywood Hills & Beverly Hills Tour.

Full-Day Small-Group Los Angeles Tour By Luxury SUV

Explore Los Angeles on a full-day tour that covers the best of the sprawling city. Hear commentary from your guide as you take in Muscle Beach, Venice Beach, and Santa Monica Pier, then cruise through Hollywood to the Walk of Fame, TCL Chinese Theater, and Dolby Theater. Get a look at Beverly Hills’ celebrity mansions, Rodeo Drive, and the Sunset Strip. Continue to downtown Los Angeles to view landmarks like Walt Disney Concert Hall, L.A. Live, Bradbury Building, and more. Ideal for travelers with limited time.  Learn more about this Full Day Tour.

Phil’s Fish Market  $11 – 30

Located in the heart of Moss Landing, Phil’s Fish Market is a locally owned family business. They have been serving the finest local & sustainable seafood available for over 30 years. They were named #1 Best Beach Restaurant by BBC Travel, featured on Food Network and have been written up several times in Sunset magazine and many other magazines and newspapers. Telephone:  831-633-2152  Web:  Phil’s Fish Market.

Whole Enchilada Restaurant  $11 – 30

The Whole Enchilada is an upbeat restaurant with a harbor view specializing in fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay.  Their relaxed harbor atmosphere with vibrant Mexican food will make you thirst for a cucumber margarita…or two.  Telephone:  831-633-3038 Web:  Whole Enchilada Restaurant.

Moss Landing Cafe  $11 – 30

Located near the quaint little fishing harbor of Moss Landing, you cant help but notice the red and white restaurant with murals depicting the local areas beauty. The Moss Landing is credited with the best Fish Sandwiches in Monterey county. Fresh fish, fruit and vegetables are prepared daily and from local sources when possible.  Enjoy their great Northern California Deep-Fried Artichokes, fresh Seafood and delicious Clam Chowder. Telephone:  831-633-3355  Web:  Moss Landing Cafe.

The Haute Enchilada  $11 – 30

The Haute Enchilada Cafe, Gallery & Social Club boasts an eclectic menu of sustainable seafood and local organic produce, wine and beer tasting, full bar plus an art gallery with local artists’ original work and live entertainment. From palate to palette the Haute Enchilada Cafe, Gallery & Social Club has something for everyone! Open daily from 11:00 a.m. for brunch, lunch and dinner. Telephone:  831-718-9122  Web:  The Haute Enchilada.

Giorgio’s at 201 Main  $11 – 30

Upscale, California fresh cuisine. Take a seat in their show kitchen or in fire-lit Tuscan Piazza. Featuring an award winning wine list and a highly renowned mixology menu, they offer 104 seats in the dining room, 38 bar seats, and 56 seats in the fire-lit piazza.  Telephone:  831-800-7573  Web:  Giorgio’s at 201 Main.

Best Moss Landing Bars

Moss Landing Inn

Eclectic. That best describes this nautical-themed Moss Landing bar that keeps loyal locals and curious travelers flowing in for hearty food, live music on the weekends, karaoke on Tuesdays, drought beers and the occasional amateur pole dance. Telephone:  831-633-9853  Web:  Moss Landing Inn.

The Haute Enchilada

The Haute Enchilada Cafe, Gallery & Social Club boasts an eclectic menu of sustainable seafood and local organic produce, wine and beer tasting, full bar plus an art gallery with local artists’ original work and live entertainment. From palate to palette the Haute Enchilada Cafe, Gallery & Social Club has something for everyone! Open daily from 11:00 a.m. for brunch, lunch and dinner. Telephone:  831-718-9122  Web:  The Haute Enchilada.

Whole Enchilada Restaurant

The Whole Enchilada is an upbeat restaurant with a harbor view specializing in fresh seafood from the Monterey Bay.  Their relaxed harbor atmosphere with vibrant Mexican food will make you thirst for a cucumber margarita…or two.  Telephone:  831-633-3038  Web:  Whole Enchilada Restaurant.

Lemon Grass

Local seafood prepared Thai-style is on the long menu at an easygoing restaurant with a full bar. Telephone:  831-633-0700  Web:  Lemon Grass.

Best Moss Landing Hotels

Captain’s Inn at Moss Landing


This romantic Inn is a 10-guestroom property all with the purpose to entice travelers to relax and revel into a soothing getaway. Each room has its own personal charm expressed through unique antiques, furniture and nautical décor. Along with the stunning wetlands of the Monterey Bay, guests are drawn into the calm feeling of sailing through calm Pacific Ocean waters.  Enjoy the newly restored Historic House rooms, which will take you back in time with their remarkable antique décor.

Sanctuary Beach Resort


Nestled between between the rolling hills of the Carmel Valley and ocean tides of the Marina Dunes, The Sanctuary Beach Resort enchants travelers with its surroundings, top-of-the-line amenities and world-class attractions.  Guests on a romantic retreat can enjoy a couples massage and watch the sun set over the bay with Champagne from their private patio.

Seascape Beach Resort


Located on 17-miles of secluded beachfront in Aptos, California. No other Monterey Bay or Santa Cruz resort or hotel offers all-suites accommodations with fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes, fireplaces, and private balconies facing Monterey Bay. Choose from 285 Studio and One-Bedroom Suites, and Two-Bedroom with Two Baths Beach Villas, that are sun-drenched, spacious, and tastefully designed in a California Coast style.

Hampton Inn & Suites Salinas


Make yourself at home in one of the 105 air-conditioned rooms featuring refrigerators and LCD televisions. Complimentary wired and wireless Internet access keeps you connected, and digital programming provides entertainment. Private bathrooms with shower/tub combinations feature deep soaking bathtubs and complimentary toiletries. Don’t miss out on recreational opportunities including an indoor pool and a 24-hour fitness center.

Seven Gables Inn


Seven Gables Inn has been designated by American Historic Inns as “One of the 10 Most Romantic Inns in America.”And voted #2 in the USA Today’s voter poll of the Most Romantic Inns in the US. Each of the boutique hotel accommodations feature a spectacular view of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay, CA. These luxurious rooms include a complimentary breakfast, afternoon wine and cheese, complimentary WiFi and evening turn-down service.

30 Comments

  1. William Mills

    So many amazing beach spots in California, seems like they’ll never end. Definitely will look into Moss landing, never been but looks amazing. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      It is amazing William and thank you for visiting Moss Landing CA.

      Reply
  2. Alex

    I am really glad you finally did a post on Moss Landing. It is right down the coast from Santa Cruz. I have been there and it is a blast. Monterrey Bay is very pretty. When you are out on the water and see the sunset, ah! That is the good life.

    I did an Elkhorn Slough kayaking trip and it was awesome. When we were out on the water, a sea otter was following us. He was a bit naughty though. He jumped onto my kayak! I had to splash some water on him to get him off. They are endangered, so you cannot get too close. I definitely recommend it.

    Thank you for sharing and I hope you make it a great day!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Wow, that is so cool Alex. To have a sea otter jump on your kayak! I agree, the sunset on the water…cannot be beat…not in my book. Thanks for visiting Moss Landing CA!

      Reply
  3. Miranda

    Wow, every time I read your articles I want to go visit California more and more. I’m always saying “wow”, “*gasp*I want to go there*. The images are so lovely. Great good as usual!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thanks Miranda for reading about Moss Landing CA. Central California is beautiful. When you are ready to vacation here, please let me know and I can help you with your planning 🙂

      Reply
  4. Dave

    I’ve never been whale watching but that is something that has always fascinated me. I think your first picture also sold me on this gorgeous stretch of land. I love the water and boating would be a hobby of mine if I could afford it. I’m sure there’s something out there that involves renting a boat or a tour. That would be ideal with such a beautiful area. Great review!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Dave and glad you enjoyed my review of Moss Landing CA. Whale watching is pretty awesome, and yeah if I had the money I would have a nice boat and I would be out on the water all the time! Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  5. Daniella

    Awesome post, as usual1 I am a consistent fan of your website:) One of my daughter bigger dreams is to watch big whales from close up. Soon she is going to turn out 16 years old, so I really need to make her dream come true for her birthday:)
    We don’t have any experience in kayaking, so will take a cruise. Also, it is much safer that way:)
    The whale season in Hawaii is the winter. Great to know that we can see them in the summer too:)

    Thank you for this great post1

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Daniella! I am glad you enjoyed. Your daughter will really enjoy the whale watching, shoot you will as well. It is pretty awesome. Thanks for visiting Moss Landing CA.

      Reply
  6. Lane Onson

    I wanna go whale watching and stay in the Seven Gables Inn. That inn looks like the inn that Jane Seymour, the actress, starred in. I would love to be there.

    Thank you for posting this. I wondered what a travel blog would look like. This is wonderful ’cause you take the mystery out of planning and traveling.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Thank you Land and yes, Moss Landing is a great place to head and do some whale watching. You would enjoy the Seven Gables Inn. Thanks for visiting beach travel destinations.

      Reply
  7. Franck Chanda

    Hello, Good place to go for vacation it looks like Capetown. I am kidding this place is very awesome I will definitely recommend some People I know to visit this place.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Frank! Moss Landing CA is a great coastal destination. Thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  8. Igor

    Moss Landing is awesome!
    I live also on the coast and in my country we have more than thousand islands with a very few sand beaches, mostly gravel.

    Also, whales are very rare in Adriatic sea, the sea I grew up with.

    never saw whales so close as the people on the video, and never saw them live. Just dolphins and sharks.

    Didi you ever saw them so close?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Oh yes, I have been on whale watching cruises before and I toughed them. They really have horrible breath! It is amazing and something you should experience. I hope you can visit Moss Landing CA sometime soon. Thanks for stopping by.

      Reply
  9. Jaime Brooks

    Hi,
    Thanks for the article I found it really useful. My family are going on holiday to California in summer and we are trying to work out where to stay. I am definitely going to suggest Moss Landing to them, there seems to be lots of amazing things to see and do.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are right, this is a great area. Central California is beautiful and Monterey Bay has so much to offer. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply
  10. Dan

    I’ve never heard of Moss Landing prior to reading this article but it seems like a great place! It has been a few years since I’ve been to California but this article definitely makes me want to go back soon! This seems like it would be a great vacation spot.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Moss Landing Ca is definitely a great place to vacation too! So much to see and do. Thanks for stopping by Beach Travel Destinations.

      Reply
  11. Kavitha

    After reading your article I feel I need to visit Moss Landing for sure. Thanks for sharing about this wonderful place.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are very welcome Kavitha. Glad you enjoyed your digital visit to Moss Landing CA.

      Reply
  12. Myles

    Enjoyed your article. So great to learn about Moss Landing, it looks like a good choice to escape the Western Canadian winter that gets harder to handle each year I get older:-) We are AirBNB fans, do you know of any in the area that have good reviews?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, there are actually quite a few great choices thru AirBnb. I would go to their site and find one that suits your needs 🙂 as there are many with great reviews in the area. Thanks for stopping by Moss Landing CA.

      Reply
  13. Rob

    Moss Landing looks awesome! It looks like I could spend two weeks here. There’s so much to see and do. I’ve never been whale watching before and can’t imagine what it’s like to experience this. I’ve only been to California once and when I do go back, this is one place that’s on my list! I’m hoping I go during the season when the weather is perfect!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Rob! You will enjoy, and whale watching up close is awesome! I’ve seen them in Alaska before they head out, California, and Mexico. Amazing animals. Thanks for stopping by Moss Landing CA.

      Reply
  14. Nathan

    All those beaches look beautiful! I recently visited Santa Cruz for my birthday. The weather on the beach is just incredible. I’ll have to keep Moss Landing in mind, your post definitely gives a lot of information about the place.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Nathan, glad you enjoyed reading about Moss Landing CA. Thanks for stopping by beach travel destinations!

      Reply
  15. Evelynn

    Hi, thank you for this indebt review of Moss landing, it sounds heavenly. I have been searching for places to go on vacation with my family and I know my kids would simply love whale watching. Would you know whether the tour guides would allow for children from 7 years old.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes, Evelynn almost all ages are allowed on the whale watching tours and they would enjoy for sure! Please let me know if you need any additional information, and thank you for visiting Moss Landing CA.

      Reply

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