Explore The Monterey Peninsula
In January 1958, the City of Monterey officially re-named Ocean View Avenue "Cannery Row" in honor of John Steinbeck and his novel that described a colorful past set amid the cannery culture of the time. Now, Cannery Row's buildings are updated, shinier versions of turn-of-the-century canneries, and contain specialty shops, galleries, more than 25 restaurants, and attractions that such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium that make Cannery Row a top tourist destination.
Old Fisherman's Wharf in downtown Monterey should be on the "must-do" list of every visitor to the area. This is a great place to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Monterey.
There aren't too many places with the number of historic sites that are found in Monterey. The early California adobes downtown and the historic cannery buildings on the oceanfront of Cannery Row combine with the vibrant and colorful stories of immigrants, artists, writers and political figures to create a rich Californian tapestry.
Even before the first commercial automobiles were made, 17-Mile Drive was one of Monterey County's top scenic drives. It began as a carriage road for guests at Monterey's Hotel del Monte in the early 1880s, and since then has been lauded for its magnificent scenery.
No exploration of California’s central coast is complete without a sojourn to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a town as well known for its shopping as it is for its most famous former civil servant, the Honorable Mayor Clint Eastwood.
Among the rolling hills and grapevines of Carmel Valley, California, you'll find a sunny wine country excursion. Play on championship Carmel Valley golf courses. Dine at award-winning Carmel Valley restaurants. Experience the rugged hiking and horseback riding that makes Carmel Valley a favorite destination for the outdoors enthusiast. And it's all just a short, drive from the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa.
The scenery in Big Sur, California cannot be done justice by film or secondhand account. An eclectic populace and cosmic vibe flows through the area and permeates Big Sur shops and restaurants. A table with a view isn’t hard to come by in Big Sur. Neither is a sense of well-being. Cliffs, rocks, redwoods and effervescent surf create an epic backdrop for recreation, romance and relaxed exploration.
Since its opening in 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s mission has been to inspire conservation of the oceans. Consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative exhibits and unsurpassed visitor experience, and with more than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species in nearly 200 exhibits filling 34 major galleries, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a showcase for the habitats and sea life of one of the world’s richest marine regions.
Ranked the number one golf destination in the world by Golf Digest Magazine, the Monterey Peninsula golf region welcomes you with an opportunity to master the art of the unforgettable round. From the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links to the oldest golf course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi, Monterey County offers some of the finest fairways in the world. With over 20 public and private courses in the County, many visitors plan their entire vacation schedule around the golf.
One of the best ways to explore the scenic beauty that Monterey County has to offer is by hiking its back roads, by-ways and trails. Pack a picnic, and point your compass in the direction of one of the many state and regional parks in the area. Plan a day trip to Jacks Peak in Monterey or Garland Park in Carmel Valley, and enjoy walking through dense forests, open meadows and traversing the Carmel River, or head out to Point Lobos State Reserve and choose a meandering trail along the coast.
If you want to get to know what the Monterey locals love, trade in your car for a bike. With miles upon miles of bike lanes, waterfront trails and off-road tracks, you can go exactly where you want to go, while getting some exercise at the same time! Hop on the popular Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail, stretching 18 miles from Castroville to Pacific Grove. Along the way, you can stop for a bite to eat at Fisherman's Wharf, or visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Approximately 85 vintners and growers call Monterey Wine Country "home". Monterey County's lifestyle and wines are defined by the cooling influence of the ocean and especially of Monterey Bay and its very deep marine canyon.
John Steinbeck's novels reflect his deep-seated roots in Monterey County. He first received attention with a novel set just after World War I in Monterey, titled Tortilla Flat. Uniquely for the time, this book focused on Monterey residents of Mexican descent. His work at ranches and farms in Salinas informed his "California novels" set in the Depression-era farmland of the Central Valley, including Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath.