Visit Monterey to relax on white beaches, paddle the shoreline or spot whales along the Pacific coast. Walk past historic buildings, see artists perform or enjoy a seafood dish with Pinot Noir in the charming coastal city. The area is a popular weekend getaway from San Francisco, just 116 miles (186 kilometers) to the north; however, there is enough to do in this cultural city to keep you busy for weeks.
Monterey in California shares the Monterey Peninsula with Pacific Grove and Carmel. Spanish explorers arrived here in the 16th century, followed by Chinese and Portuguese fisherman, who pioneered the commercial fishing industry three centuries later. In the decades leading up to the 1950s, Monterey became the “sardine capital of the world” and was immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row.
The Monterey Peninsula has long been a haven for artists. In the one-time bohemian enclave of Carmel, visit Tor House, a stone cottage and tower built by poet Robinson Jeffers. Explore more than 50 historic sites along Old Monterey's two-mile (three-kilometer) "Path of History," a self-guided tour marked by yellow signs. Watch a show at the historic and much-loved Sunset Theater. At Carmel Mission, discover a little serenity and 18th-century history, then warm your toes by a bonfire under the stars on Carmel Beach. Pay your respects to Monterey’s favorite son, the Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, at the National Steinbeck Center.
Walk under the redwoods and sycamores of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or around the inlets of Asilomar State Beach. Explore the area’s sea life at the superb Monterey Bay Aquarium or learn about the city’s maritime past in the Museum of Monterey. Rent a sea kayak and paddle out across the swaying kelp beds off Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. As you hike one of the trails along the rugged Big Sur coastline spot sea lions and migrating whales.
Beautiful sandy beaches, a rich marine environment and cultural delights make Monterey one of the most popular destinations on the West Coast.