The impacts of climate change and the socioecological challenges they present are ubiquitous and increasingly severe. Practical efforts to operationalize climate-responsive design and management in the global network of marine protected areas (MPAs) are required to ensure long-term effectiveness for safeguarding marine biodiversity and ecosystem services. Here, we review progress in integrating climate change adaptation into MPA design and management and provide eight recommendations to expedite this process. Climate-smart management objectives should become the default for all protected areas, and made into an explicit international policy target. Furthermore, incentives to use more dynamic management tools would increase the climate change responsiveness of the MPA network as a whole. Given ongoing negotiations on international conservation targets, now is the ideal time to proactively reform management of the global seascape for the dynamic climate-biodiversity reality.