Location: Ocean View Blvd. and Sea Palm Ave, Pacific Grove, CA.
Parking: Free unlimited parking on Ocean View Blvd.
Experience Level: Novice
Depth: 10-40 ft.
Entry: Sandy beach, many rocks
Otter Cove provides easy beach access, free unlimited parking, and small if any crowds. On the downside, the diving here is hit or miss. I've had some amazing dives here, as well as some of my worst.
Tides have a significant effect on conditions at this site. During low tide you may have to crawl over 30 yards of shallow or exposed rocks before you are able to swim without obstruction. These rocks become submerged during high tide, so I recommend you only dive here during high tide.
Visibility is another factor here. I've had 45 feet of vis at times, and as little as 2 feet on other days. Fortunately, the cliff is high enough to get a good vantage point to assess visibility before the dive.
Now to the diving. Otter Cove is very shallow close to shore. The best (and deeper) diving is out at the distant kelp forest. I recommend you swim at least to the near edge of the kelp before descending. My preference is to swim around the edge of the kelp and descend on the far side.
The best way to enjoy this site is by kayak. Looking out at the ocean, you'll see a kelp forest that extends straight out on your left side. The water here is about 50 feet, with lots of large fish, monkeyface eels, and anemones.