Monterey Spotlight
 
 

Featured Events

Jul
25
2014

Carmel Bach Festival

Jul. 19-Aug. 2
The Carmel Bach Festival has a 75-year history of artistic excellence and community…more
Jul
25
2014

Feast of Lanterns

Jul. 23-Jul. 27
For over one hundred years the citizens of Pacific Grove have celebrated its…more
Jul
27
2014

Moss Landing Antique Fair

Jul. 27
Moss Landing becomes the antique capital of the world the last Sunday of July.…more
Aug
2
2014

Salinas Valley Half Marathon

Aug. 2
The Salinas Valley Half Marathon begins at the historic Soledad Mission, established…more
Aug
11
2014

Monterey Auto Week

Aug. 11-Aug. 17
Classic automobiles take over the Monterey Peninsula during Monterey Auto Week and…more
Aug
12
2014

Concours On The Avenue

Aug. 12
Sixth Annual Carmel-By-The-Sea Concours On The Avenue......Carmel's world famous…more
Aug
14
2014

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Aug. 14-Aug. 17
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is a cornerstone of Monterey…more
Aug
15
2014

Pacific Grove Concours Auto Rally

Aug. 15
The colorful 20th Annual Pacific Grove Concourse Auto Rally will be held on Friday,…more
Aug
16
2014

Concorso Italiano

Aug. 16
A celebration of Italian style, featuring the most spectacular display of Italian…more
Aug
17
2014

Concours d'Elegance

Aug. 17
This spectacular event exhibits some of the most unique pre-war and post-war cars,…more
Aug
22
2014

Sand City West End Celebration

Aug. 22-Aug. 24
The streets of Sand City come alive for the West End Celebration! Sand City is…more
Aug
23
2014

First City Festival

Aug. 23-Aug. 24
Experience a weekend of music, food, and fresh ocean air at the site of the iconic…more
All

Activities

Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card

Old Fisherman's Wharf Association
The “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card and Special Offers Campaign includes a…

FREE APPETIZER or 1 HR of POOL

Blue Fin Cafe & Billiards
Choose a FREE APP or 1Hr of Pool with any $20 purchase on selected items *Mention…

Estate Experience

Stonepine Estate
Estate Experience 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations …

Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

Stonepine Estate
Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…
Apr 16, 2014
- Dec 31, 2014

See Monterey

Carmel Food Tours
Save 10% on each ticket purchased when you use the code MCCVB

Equestrian Encounter

Stonepine Estate
Equestrian Encounter 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…
Jun 4, 2014
- Jul 31, 2014

Chauffeured Wine Tour Package

Old Monterey Inn
Explore award winning Carmel Valley wineries with our Chauffeured Wine Tour Package!…

Equestrian Encounter

Stonepine Estate
Equestrian Encounter 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…

Equestrian Encounter

Stonepine Estate
Equestrian Encounter 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…

Estate Experience

Stonepine Estate
Estate Experience 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations …

Estate Experience

Stonepine Estate
Estate Experience 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations …

Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

Stonepine Estate
Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…

Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

Stonepine Estate
Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage…
All

 

 

Beautiful Monterey County

Beautiful Monterey County

Top 10 Snapshot Spots

Everywhere you look, there's another breathtaking vista in Monterey County, but there's several specific spots that provide iconic images of the region. Here's our list of the top ten spots that amateur and professional photographers return to for photographs that are quintessentially Monterey. View them on a map of Monterey County here.

 

1. Bixby Bridge

Bixby Bridge

Bixby Bridge, Big Sur
by cseel02, from Flickr.

This bridge is arguably the most iconic spot in Central California. It's featured in the film "Play Misty For Me" as well as numerous automobile commercials, it's the subject of a song by Death Cab for Cutie and as of this year, it even has its own postage stamp.

Most visitors stop in the pull-off on the west side of Highway One just north of the bridge to capture their take-home Bixby Bridge shot, but local photographer Michael Troutman of DMT Imaging says there's a much better spot. The Old Coast Road, a well-maintained dirt road that forks off from Highway One just north of the highway, "has a very dramatic view looking back toward Bixby Bridge," he said.

For that perfect Bixby Bridge shot, visitors only need to drive a half-mile down, but Troutman says there's many more great photo opportunities along the rest of the Old Coast Road, which reconnects with Highway One 10.5 miles south at Andrew Molera State Park. It goes "through a redwood forest, over the tops of hills with sweeping views of the ocean and through wonderful wilderness areas," Troutman said excitedly. "My wife and I saw a lynx when we were last there, very close to us, and I managed to photograph it," he added.

 

2. The Lone Cypress

Lone Cypress Sunset

Lone Cypress Sunset
by bridgepix,
from Flickr.

As the symbol of the Pebble Beach Company, the Lone Cypress is an evocative image for golfers. It's also the most photographed tree in the world, and Troutman and photographer Rachael Short agree it's one of the area's top snapshot spots.

For an iconic shot of the Lone Cypress, says Troutman, take your photo "when the sun is setting over the ocean and the tree is beautifully back-lit." If Monterey Bay's occasional evening fog gets in the way, Troutman offers a backup plan. "Practically across the street is the Ghost Tree," he says. This tree, as well as the surrounding cypress trees, "are really spooky when foggy," he says.

 

3. Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey
by Michelle Kaplow,
from Flickr.

Photographer Rachael Short lists Fisherman's Wharf among her top iconic snapshot spots in Monterey.

This wharf, established in 1870, is crowded with both tourists and locals most of the day, offering the opportunity for great crowd shots. For people-free photos, visit Fisherman's Wharf around 7am, while the crowds are still asleep or eating breakfast.

  

4. The Carmel Mission

Mission Carmel

Mission Carmel
by Tracy Balcius,
from Flickr.

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, known popularly as the Carmel Mission, is the second California mission. Stepping onto the mission grounds is like traveling back in time. The flower gardens are almost as breathtaking as the building.

"The best angles for the Carmel Mission are out to the right of the mission, facing the Carmel Mountains," says Short. She also recommends shooting inside the Carmel Mission, but bring your tripod. "It's pretty dark in there," Short laughs.

  

  

5. The Drifters Gallery at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Aquarium

Monterey Aquarium
by Another Man of Kent,
from Flickr.

The bright blue background of the tanks and the graceful movements of the jellies (also known as jellyfish) make tourists reach for their cameras.

Because the room is dark, many amateur photographers turn their flash on, thinking they'll get a better photo. In fact, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's photo tips, you'll get the brightest and most breathtaking photos if you turn your flash off. Take a few steps back to capture the silhouettes of visitors watching the jellies framed by the jellyfish tank for an especially intriguing photo.

  

  

6. High Peaks, Pinnacles National Park

Pinnacles

Pinnacles by Sarah Crews,
from Flickr.

Pinnacles National Park, with its unique jagged rocks, offers many opportunities for great photographs. "It's like a little taste of Utah right here in our backyard, with beautiful wilderness, lots of wildlife, and dramatic and unusual rock formations, Troutman says, adding "there's something for everyone photographically."

Troutman's favorite is the High Peaks area, which, he says, "has sweeping views, dramatic rock formations and California condors and is a wonderful workout with great rewards at the top."

 

7. The sea lion pier in Moss Landing

Sealion at Moss Landing

Sea Lion @ Moss Landing
by Barbara Rawson,
from Flickr.

Hands-down, the best place in Monterey County to spot sea lions is at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing. In 2007, Moss Landing built a dock for visitors, and local sea lions promptly claimed it as their own. The sea lions frequently jostle and wrestle for position, slipping on and off the pier, all of which makes for great photos.

Troutman's tip: try to focus on just a few. If you move back to get every single sea lion in frame, Troutman says, "it's just a bunch of brown blobs on the dock." Troutman recommends that photographers use a telephoto lens or a good zoom lens to get a close-up shot.

 

8. McWay Falls

Hello Big Sur

Hello from Big Sur California
by Rachel Kramer,
from Flickr

This 80-foot waterfall at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park on the Big Sur Coast is both stunning and easily reached, a combination that makes it a popular spot to photograph. McWay Falls tumbles down to a beautiful, serene cove from the cliffs above. When the tide is high, the tumbling water falls directly into the ocean.

Visit it in "early morning or late afternoon" if you want "the best light there," says Short, "and mornings are less crowded if you want it to yourself." From the parking lot, it's a one-third mile stroll along a very flat trail and under Highway One to reach the McWay Falls overlook. "The best view," says Short, is "at the north end of the path."

 

9. Point Pinos

Los Pinos Lighthouse

The Los Pinos Lighthouse
by Vicki Rogers,
from Flickr.

Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the West Coast, but part of what makes it such an alluring target for photographers is its setting. It's located on the beautiful Pacific Grove coastline, next to the scenic Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links, surrounded by cypress trees. It's so scenic, in fact, that almost every photo taken of it looks postcard-worthy.

Troutman recommends taking photos of "the point itself, which has dramatic waves breaking over the rocks with voluminous spray." He adds, "It's one of the most dramatic places on the Peninsula."

 

10. Point Lobos

Cove at Point Lobos

A Cove at Point Lobos
by Mike Rainey,
from Flickr.

"Point Lobos is a must-see," says Troutman. "There's so much there to photograph. Whether it's sunny or foggy one can always create interesting images." Troutman says.

He loves the "beautiful cypress trees and hidden coves with crystal water," but his pick for the iconic spot within the park is Whaler's Cove. "I go to Whaler's Cove every spring to photograph the baby harbor seals," he says, "which are hands-down the cutest things on Earth next to my grandchildren."

Show off your own great photos of Monterey County in our Flickr group, and someday you may have the chance to have your snapshot featured on our site!

Lay of the Land

click to enlarge map

Lay of the Land

Close Window
LayoftheLand

VIEW MONTEREY COUNTY MAP

County Map

VIEW DETAILED MAPS

Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.

WANT TO GET HERE FAST?

Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Sign up for our eNewsletter!
Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more.

more

Free Travel Guide
Get your digital guide now!
Find out everything there is to see and do in Monterey County with the 2014 Offi... more