The city of Monterey sits on the central Californian coastline, a scenic five-hour drive north from Los Angeles, and an easy two-hour drive south from San Francisco. Perched on the edge of a marine sanctuary larger in size than Yellowstone and twice as deep as the Grand Canyon, Monterey’s wild majesty has long humbled those who’ve walked her rugged shores.
This is a place where the upwelling of cold, dark Pacific currents lifts a bounty of sea life and mystery onto the shore. This is a place where the breath of the sea shapes both stone and wood, and has stirred the imaginations of artists and writers like Salvador Dali and John Steinbeck. Monterey’s modern story began when the Spanish established a presidio, hauling skywards chapel bells In 1846, the US flag was raised over The Custom House, marking the end of California’s Spanish and Mexican chapters.
Three years later, delegates from all over California converged at Monterey’s Colton Hall, to thrash out the state’s first constitution. continue your journey through the city’s early pages at the Monterey State Historic Park. Follow the self-guided walking tour that breathes life into the brick and adobe buildings where the port’s whalers once lived, and relaxed. But while the city’s early prosperity was fuelled by whale oil, it was a much smaller sea creature that brought Monterey its greatest riches. Wander down Cannery Row, past processing plants that once steamed and tinned billions of sardines each year, The characters, noise and gut-wrenching stench celebrated in Steinbeck’s classic, Cannery Row, faded with the collapse of the silver tide in the 1950’s. Hospitality.
Today, gift shops and restaurants fill the former canneries, with the largest of all now home to the acclaimed Monterey Bay Aquarium. Gaze up as clouds of sardines, unmolested by the purse nets of old, And don’t miss the rescued sea otters chowing their way back to good health on fresh clams. While in the Jellies Gallery, incredible invertebrates put on a psychadelic light show worthy of a Rock concert. head down Cannery Row to Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Sign up for a fishing charter and you’ll soon be filleting your own catch. that have been serving up the fruits of these waters for generations.
Monterey has a knack for making old things useful again. From Fisherman’s Wharf, walk the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, which follows the former tracks of the Southern Pacific Railway. Head east, past the marina, to the graceful arc of Del Monte Beach. Then continue a little further into the ever-shifting sands and floral displays of the Fort Ord Dunes State Park. From Fisherman’s Wharf, the trail also heads north, to Pacific Grove. Enjoy the warm, sheltered sands of Lovers Point Beach.
Then stop by Point Pinos Light, where a piano-playing lighthouse keeper entertained Robert Louis Stevenson when the wandering writer called by in 1879. From Point Pinos, follow the coastal trail down the peninsula’s west coast to Asilomar State Beach, where icy waters from deep in the Monterey Canyon roll into rock pools rich in marine life. After being serenaded by the wild, wild surf at Asilomar, rent a convertible or hop on a bike, and follow one of the USA’s most scenic roads, 17 Mile Drive. From
Pacific Grove, this privately managed toll road winds its way along the coast past the acclaimed fairways of Pebble Beach towards Carmel Bay. Stop by the 250-year-old Lone Cypress, which hugs one of the longest Explore the wind-swept bluffs and secluded coves of the Point Lobos State Park, where the Ohlone people once harvested shellfish from the nutrient-rich waters, and shore whalers scoured the horizon for tell-tale spouts.
At Garrapata State Park, buckle up for the two-hour adventure through Big Sur, where California’s Santa Lucia mountains tumble down into the swaying kelp forests of the Pacific. Catch your breath at Bixby Canyon Bridge, one of the highest single span concrete bridges in the world. In the 1960’s, writer Jack Kerouac almost lost his mind on the beach below trying to capture the grandeur of Big Sur in words.
As you follow each and every twist and turn down Highway One, you too will be lost for words, for this is a place that often defies the limits of language. Indeed a visit to Monterey and its nearby shores is a lesson in the futility of searching for the perfect adjective… it’s a place to let the crackle of a beachside fire do the talking… a place to allow the winds and waves to sing their wild, timeless songs.
Monterey – The coastal Californian city will impress travelers with its natural beauty and rich history. Check out these top places to visit in Monterey and start planning a trip of your own!
From the arrival of the Spanish in 1770 to the formation of California’s first constitution, Monterey has long been the setting of great adventures. Whalers once scoured Monterey’s horizons for passing leviathans; fishermen once hauled in billions of sardines each year, and writers and artists filled notebooks and journals with ideas and observations gleaned from the characters and environment of these magical shores.
Today’s Monterey inspires more than ever; it’s a vacation haven for families yearning to reconnect with nature’s wild wonders, and an escape for dreamers searching for inspiration and meaning in our fast-paced world. We hope this video inspires you to #tour the best sights and set sail on your own Monterey adventure.
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