Monterey, CA

Travel Guide
Monterey featuring general coastal views, a sandy beach and landscape views
Discover one of California’s most beautiful coastal cities, known for its fabulous aquarium and for being the setting for a famous John Steinbeck novel.

Located along the rugged coastline of California, the oceanfront settlement of Monterey exudes seaside charm. Play on the dunes at public beaches, observe sea lions at the wharfs and embark on scenic walks along the coastal cliffs.

Get acquainted with the history of this coastal city, which was originally founded by the Spanish in 1770. Wander around Old Monterey and be on the look out for the Path of History plaques, which are placed along the sidewalk and point toward the landmark historical buildings.

During the earlier half of the 20th century, Monterey made its money from sardine canning, an industry that Steinbeck wrote about in his novel Cannery Row. Although the sardine canning businesses have closed, Cannery Row still exists. Stroll down the street and look for a bronze bust of Steinbeck and the old workers’ shacks, which show the harsh living conditions the workers here would have endured.

Take a stroll down Fisherman’s Wharf, browsing souvenir shops, seafood markets and admiring the 360-degree harbor views along the way. Sea lions and seals can often be seen in the waters here.

Don’t miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium its tanks are filled with kaleidoscopic marine creatures. The aquarium is right next to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where seals, sea lions, whales and dolphins can all be spotted. Of particular note is the aquarium’s kelp forest and the surreal jellyfish exhibit.

For visitors who want to see the California coast’s signature crashing waves and oceanfront cliffs, head for Garrapata State Park. Follow hiking trails along steep coastal bluffs and through towering redwood forests. Point Lobos State Reserve is another good place to get back to nature. Rent a kayak and paddle through coves, looking for orcas, sea lions and seals. The 18-mile (29-kilometer) long Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is open to walkers and cyclists.

From San Francisco, reach Monterey by car in about 2.5 hours. Buses are also available from San Jose, while internal flights touch down at Monterey Regional Airport. In downtown Monterey, make use of the free trolley service check the Monterey-Salinas Transit website for the schedule.

Monterey Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Monterey

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey, CA, 93940
Fully refundable
The price is $246 per night from Sep 5 to Sep 6
Stay at this 4.5-star luxury resort in Monterey. Enjoy free WiFi, free parking, and 2 restaurants. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
4.1/5 Very Good! (712 reviews)
Love love love it here
"Great place for the family. Loved our vacation here!"

Reviewed on Aug 9, 2022

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
4 out of 5
Two Portola Plaza, Monterey, CA, 93940
The price is $304 per night from Aug 16 to Aug 17
Stay at this 4-star business-friendly resort in Monterey. Enjoy 2 restaurants, 2 bars/lounges, and breakfast. Our guests praise the helpful staff and the clean ...
4.2/5 Very Good! (1,117 reviews)
Nice stay
"Very clean and nice hotel. Close to fisherman’s warf. Nice outdoor fire pits."

Reviewed on Aug 7, 2022

Portola Hotel & Spa at Monterey Bay
Monterey Tides
Monterey Tides
3.5 out of 5
2600 Sand Dunes Dr, Monterey, CA, 93940
The price is $279 per night from Aug 11 to Aug 12
Stay at this 3.5-star beach hotel in Monterey. Enjoy free WiFi, a beach locale, and breakfast. Our guests praise the pool and the helpful staff in our reviews. ...
3.8/5 Good! (1,918 reviews)
"The resort is right on the beach. That’s mostly what you pay for. Room is basic, bathroom crowded, coffee products basic. The lobby is awesome, the pool is big and up to 9 ft deep-jacuzzi fits 10. It wasn’t crowded mid-week. Not “fancy”-paying for view."

Reviewed on Jul 29, 2022

Monterey Tides
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Beach house in the woods. Best of both worlds
Beach house in the woods. Best of both worlds
Del Rey Oaks, CA
The price is $350 per night from Sep 7 to Sep 8
Enjoy free WiFi, onsite parking, and barbecue grills. Popular attractions Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium are located nearby. Discover genuine guest reviews ...
5/5 Exceptional! (2 reviews)
Monterey is the best place in the world for golf
"We golfed in the morning and then went to the Carmel refuge to soak our cares away"

Reviewed on Apr 21, 2022

Beach house in the woods. Best of both worlds
NEW! Beachfront Monterey Bay Condo w/ Pool Access!
NEW! Beachfront Monterey Bay Condo w/ Pool Access!
Monterey, California
Stay at this beach condo in Monterey. Enjoy free WiFi, a beach locale, and a spa tub. Popular attractions Cannery Row and Monterey Bay Aquarium are located nearby. ...
NEW! Beachfront Monterey Bay Condo w/ Pool Access!
Tides In - Monterey Beach House - Oceanfront, Walk to Fisherman's Wharf
Tides In - Monterey Beach House - Oceanfront, Walk to Fisherman's Wharf
Monterey, CA
Stay at this beach vacation home in Monterey. Enjoy a beach locale, onsite parking, and an in-room DVD player. Popular attractions Cannery Row and Monterey Bay ...
Tides In - Monterey Beach House - Oceanfront, Walk to Fisherman's Wharf
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Getting around Monterey

Although the historic areas of Monterey are very compact and best explored on foot, to get around the wider area you will definitely need a car. There is no public transportation option that can serve as an adequate substitute. The good news is there are plenty of places to get a rental car in Monterey. Pick one up at the airport, or at one of the rental companies located within Monterey itself. Visit the Monterey-Salinas Transit website.Browse Monterey rental cars.

Best time to visit

The weather in Monterey is perfect for a vacation at any time of year. Although the winters do get slightly cooler, they are almost never cold and you usually still have plenty of hours of sunshine. Beat the summer crowds and visit Monterey in late spring or early fall instead when daytime temperatures are likely to be in the mid to high 60s (15 C and above). Accommodations will be less expensive, too.

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