Location: Ocean View Blvd. and 17th Street, Pacific Grove, CA.
Parking: Free 2-hour parking in lot and streets.
Experience Level: Novice
Entry: Sandy beach, few rocks
Lover's Cove is a great novice site for anyone looking to escape the crowds at the breakwater. The visibility is usually about the same here as it is in Monterey, and you'll see fewer fish, but there are also advantages. This is a natural site, with extensive fields of reef, lots of kelp, and normally calm conditions. Other attractions here are harbor seals, monkeyface eels, and a great variety of anemones.
There is a large sand channel that runs from the beach and dissects the cove. This is the best path for your surface swim, and also provides a great navigational aid to find the beach while underwater. You can dive either side of the channel. My favorite dive plan here is to swim all the way out to the end of the channel, drop down, and head towards the point. Here there are lots of tall rocks with miniature walls, lots of crevices, and great color. I always follow the sand channel back to shore, and look for flatfish, rays, seals, and nudibranchs.
Be aware that Pacific Grove has placed seasonal restrictions on this site. During peak season months, divers are prohibited from 11:30 until sunset, Friday through Monday. These regulations are posted on the staircase above the beach.