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Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley
Lake El Estero, Monterey

Lake El Estero, Monterey

El Estero Park

Monterey's El Estero Park is centered around Lake El Estero, and is a popular destination for both locals and visitors. El Estero Park is full of ways for small children to play and burn off excess energy. The El Estero Exercise Course, which wends around the lake, is a great way to get exercise while enjoying the area's natural beauty. Skaters love Monterey Skate Park, designed by local skateboarders. Anglers can fish off Lake El Estero's fishing piers, while birders can check a few more avian species off their lists.

Dennis the Menace Playground

Originally established with the help of Mr. Hank Ketcham, creator of the Dennis the Menace comic strip, El Estero Park's Dennis the Menace Playground is a favorite among small children. There are enough activity areas within Dennis the Menace Playground to keep restless children busy for hours.

Dennis the Menace Playground has several play structures, three large slides, a climbing wall for rock climbers-to-be, a fun suspension bridge, a hedge maze with a play structure in the center, a giant adventure ship and more. History fans will also love exploring the authentic Southern Pacific steam engine at the playground. Bathroom breaks are not a problem, as the playground also has public restrooms.

Dennis the Menace Playground is located on Pearl Street, which runs through the center of El Estero Park.

Monterey Skate Park

Local skateboarders helped design the Monterey Skate Park, which gives both skateboarders and in-line skaters a chance to test their skills. This family-friendly facility is open to all ages, although children under 8 must be accompanied by an adult 18 years old or older. Skaters must wear helmets, knee pads, elbow pads and hand/wrist guards while enjoying Monterey Skate Park.

Monterey Skate Park is open from 9am to dusk, and is located next to Dennis the Menace Playground off Pearl Street. Check the City of Monterey's page on Monterey Skate Park for further information on rules, regulations and hours.

Outdoor Exercise Course

El Estero Park's Outdoor Exercise Course is a great way to get an outdoor workout. The 1.2 mile "parcourse" around Lake El Estero was scientifically designed. It has 3 exercise station clusters, each with 6 exercise stations. By following the track and executing all the exercises at each station, users can get a well-balanced full-body workout.


Lake El Estero is loaded with rainbow trout, Sacramento perch, Sacramento blackfish, Sacramento hitch, carp, tule perch and yellow bullet heads. Fishing piers are located on the Pearl Street bridges. All persons ages 16 and older must have a fishing license, and adults accompanying children must also have a fishing license. See the California Department of Fish and Game website for information on obtaining a license.


Birds love Lake El Estero just as much as humans do, and bird watchers have found that El Estero Park is a very pleasant spot at which to check off many birds on their lists. The Monterey Audobon Society organizes regular field trips to El Estero Park. Birders have spotted phalaropes, herons, gulls, many species of duck, and even an Aleutian cackling goose!

Other Activities

Visitors can rent paddle boats and explore Lake El Estero from the water. Having a family occasion? The El Estero Group Picnic area offers a barbecue area for up to 200 people, and the Frank E. Sollecito, Jr. ballpark can be reserved for a game of softball.

Visitors Center

Looking for more to do in Monterey County? There's a Monterey County Visitors Center located right at Lake El Estero, at Franklin and Camino El Estero.

Nearby Parks

Lake El Estero is directly across Del Monte Avenue from Monterey State Beach, a great spot for kayaking and surfing; Monterey Bay Waterfront Park, which has picnic tables and a sand volleyball court; and the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which extends north to Castroville and south through Pacific Grove. It is just a short walk from Del Monte Beach.

Map and Directions

From the Fisherman's Wharf area, walk east about one-third of a mile along Del Monte Avenue. You'll see El Estero Park on your right.

From Highway One, take the Monterey exit onto Camino Aguajito Drive. You will see El Estero Park on your left.

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Lay of the Land

Lay of the Land


County Map


Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.


Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

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