Staying at Sanctuary Beach Resort

February 15, 2021millionmilermom

This post may contain affiliate links. My stay at Sanctuary Beach Resort was paid for by myself.

Many people are familiar with famous sites in Monterey, California such as Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf. While these spots offer ample opportunities for recreation and some beautiful hotels, there is a hidden gem nestled next to Marina State Beach about 10 miles north called Sanctuary Beach Resort. Whereas the other spots have the walkability, Sanctuary Beach Resort offers a unique beachfront location and a peaceful ambiance.

The Location

Sanctuary Beach Resort is located in Marina, California next to a beautiful sandy stretch of beach.

Property address: 3295 Dunes Drive, Marina, California 93933


Sanctuary offers cottages with two separate rooms that share a small entryway. One side is a Deluxe room and the other is a Suite. If you have a larger party or traveling with friends, it is possible to book both units of the cottage together. In short, the Deluxe room is smaller (380 square feet) and ideal for a solo traveler or couple. The Suite gives you more space (460 square feet) and includes a pull-out couch option. The suite could fit a family of 4 with smaller children but, if you desire more space or want an extra bed, consider booking the entire cottage.

On-site Recreation

Beach towel for yoga looking at ocean
The view for beach yoga was spectacular!

The beautiful property’s main draw is the beachfront location. A few steps down a pathway and you can be on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Head down the beach in either direction to find a quiet spot to take in the view. When you need a change from the beach, you can:

  • Use one of the property’s bikes to explore the local area (first come, first serve).
  • Take advantage of the weekend beach yoga classes put on my Monterey Bay Moves. Complimentary for guests and includes a one hour class, blanket (in lieu of a yoga mat), lavender-infused cool eye mask for savasana and a local juice for after class.
  • Another weekend option – the daily (10:30am) nature walk led by a local naturalist.
  • {Currently closed} The property does have a pool and jacuzzi.
  • There are a few bonfire pits that are lit 30 minutes prior to sunset each evening. There is one closer to the rooms that is next to a bocce ball/volleyball and some others on the beach bluff. It does get chilly at night so bring a jacket and even a blanket to make the bonfire a little more enjoyable.

Nearby Excursions

The best part of staying at Sanctuary Beach Resort is easy access to the surrounding area as it is just a minute from Highway 1. Within about 15 minutes you can be in Monterey proper and can do things like:

  • Take a stroll and grab a meal at Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Shop, dine and people watch on the vibrant Cannery Row
  • {Currently closed} Take the free Monterey trolley between Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row
  • {Currently closed} Visit the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Head north to Elkhorn Slough to kayak in a gentle inlet with wildlife galore (about a 15 minute drive)
  • Drive 17 mile drive
  • Head further down Highway 1 towards Big Sur and visit parks such as Garrapata State Park (home to a gorgeous beach & calla lily valley) as well as Andrew Molera State Park.
  • Check out the city of Pacific Grove – walk the stunning coastal trail, visit the monarch butterfly sanctuary or check out Pt. Pinos Lighthouse.
  • Solo or couples trip? Head into the beautiful Carmel Valley to Refuge Spa where they have several outdoor pools at various temperatures to enjoy as part of the Refuge Thermal Cycle. Under normal circumstances, they also have a sauna and steam rooms. Massages are also available. You can book spa admission and/or massage on their website.

Want to explore more of California on your trip? Check out 7 driveable destinations in Northern California.

Things to do with kids

The greater Monterey area offers ample recreation for children, too! Most of the suggestions above are kid-friendly.

  • Children ages 3+ can join the kayak tour at Elkhorn Slough (guided tours); ages 5+ can go with a parent on a self-guided tour.
  • {Currently closed} Monterey Bay Aquarium (when open) has a few areas perfect for little ones to play and learn.
  • {Currently closed} Check out Dennis the Menace Playground which is part of the sprawling El Estero Park Complex in Monterey. They also have paddle boards that look like swans and ducks.
  • Go tide-pooling at Asilomar State Beach or Point Lobos State Park.


Sanctuary Beach Resort does offer one on-site restaurant called Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette. At the time we went (February 2021), outdoor dining, takeout and room service were available 5-9pm daily. Outdoor dining is bookable via OpenTable.

There is also plenty of other options within a 5-10 minute drive in Marina and Seaside, as well as options through DoorDash.

Tips for Visiting

If you’re coming with kids, don’t forget the sand toys!
  • You cannot drive up to the room so you will park in the main lot and then be escorted by a staff member with an oversized golf cart. Consider consolidating your luggage or items into a few bags so it is easier to transport.
  • The s’mores kit in the lobby is $25 – if you want to save some money, bring your own skewers and supplies.
  • The rooms are only heated by a gas fireplace and we found it to be a bit chilly so plan appropriately. I had thrown a blanket in our bag as well as warmer lounge clothes so that made it bearable. Likewise, in summer, there is no air conditioning but there is a plug-in fan available.
  • Definitely bring some cash for tips for the staff – between the drivers who shuttle you to/from your car, ordering room service, it is nice to have some $5 and $10 notes ready. The staff was really spectacular and did got the extra mile to make our stay enjoyable.


Sanctuary Beach Resort is a fabulous spot a getaway, whether it is a night or two or a longer stay. If you have any questions about the property or the surround area, drop a question in the comments!

Ready to book? Head to the Sanctuary Beach Resort website for the best available rates.

Comments (14)

  • Bozena Bulat

    February 20, 2021 at 11:50 am

    Hi! Very nice blog! Lots of useful informations and nice photos.

  • Charlotte

    February 20, 2021 at 11:51 am

    I am absolutely gutted I missed this, when I was in California! Definitely on my visit list next time!

  • Katie Black

    February 20, 2021 at 11:51 am

    This sounds like a beautiful place for an escape! What a beautiful beach.

  • Emma

    February 20, 2021 at 11:54 am

    This looks like such a great location. Beach front is always a good start. I’ve been interested in visiting Monterey in the past but never made it yet, so good to know more about the area too

    1. millionmilermom

      February 20, 2021 at 12:44 pm

      It is a great spot to be close to Monterey while avoiding the crowds!

  • Krista

    February 20, 2021 at 12:04 pm

    It sounds like a great place to stay with a lot of nearby activities too which is awesome!

  • Get Lost

    February 20, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    What a beautiful and relaxing resort with so many things to see and do! Yoga on the beach sounds incredible! I’d definitely give that a go! Thanks for the great guide!

  • skigrl985

    February 20, 2021 at 6:18 pm

    We always have kids with us as well, so I love that there are fun things for the kids nearby as well!

    1. millionmilermom

      February 20, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      It definitely makes you look at things differently when traveling with kids – we seek out some unique things for them to do and this totally fit the bill!

  • Tips for Booking the Fire Pits at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk | Million Miler Mom

    February 20, 2021 at 10:11 pm

    […] more ocean fun? Read about our stay at Sanctuary Beach Resort in nearby Marina, […]

  • Tina

    February 21, 2021 at 1:14 pm

    Wow it looks so beautiful! Never been to Cali, but its on my bucket list for sure

  • carrie

    February 21, 2021 at 2:49 pm

    Monterrey is so great! I have fond memories of visiting the aquarium as a kid. This looks like a great place to stay to enjoy both the beach and the town.

  • maisha192

    February 22, 2021 at 10:48 am

    absolutely my kind of place, it’s so serene

    1. millionmilermom

      February 22, 2021 at 11:35 am

      I already want to go back!!

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