Top Attractions

Top things to do in Monterey County, California

There are so many unique attractions in Monterey that it can be hard to pick just one! Here's a quick overview of Monterey County's top attractions.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Called "one of America's most captivating aquariums" by ForbesTraveler.com, the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium is teeming with discoveries and interactive exhibits. Dedicated to marine research and conservation, the Monterey Bay Aquarium presents marine life on a truly grand scale.

Cannery Row

In January 1958, the City of Monterey officially re-named Ocean View Avenue "Cannery Row" in honor of John Steinbeck, the author of the well-known novel by the same name. Today's Cannery Row, anchored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, stretches along the waterfront and features restaurants, hotels, specialty shops, local artists' galleries and wine tasting rooms.

Fisherman's Wharf

Take in the sights, sounds and smells of Monterey’s thriving fishing industry as working trawlers unload their catch of the day (and seagulls try to get in on the action). Snap photos of sea lions and otters frolicking in the calm inner harbor waters or get up close and personal during a glass bottom boat tour, deep-sea fishing trip or whale watching tour. Don’t forget to grab a cup of steaming hot clam chowder, or stop by one of several restaurants featuring fresh Monterey Bay seafood. Fisherman's Wharf in downtown Monterey should be on visitor’s "must-do" list.

Pebble Beach

With eight championship golf courses, gourmet restaurants, spas and shopping galore, Pebble Beach isn't just a community; it's an attraction all its own.

Scenic Drives

17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach is one of the best-known scenic drives in the world. It takes visitors past impressive homes and the world's greatest golf courses, as well as miles of scenic coastline and the serene majesty of Del Monte Forest. Highway One from Monterey through Big Sur is the road trip of a lifetime. It's a State Scenic Highway and has been declared an All-American Road by the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Scenic Byways Program. Learn more...

Historic Sites

Monterey County, once the capital of Alta California, is the epicenter of California history. Explore the heritage of the California mission era at our three historic missions. Walk the Path of History to learn about the Mexican era, as well as the area's early literary history. Experience the works of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck and the agricultural history of Monterey County at the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas. Learn about the region's flora and fauna at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.

Parks

There is no shortage of lush acreage to discover.  Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Pinnacles National Park and the Point Lobos State Reserve offer hang gliding, mountain biking, camping, horseback riding, surfing, birding, diving and more. Find your park here.

Beaches

Whether you're looking for the quintessential sandy California surfing beach, stunning cliffs with spectacular views of the ocean, or a picture-perfect rocky shoreline, you'll find it all along Monterey County's coast. Dive, surf, sail, kayak or watch wildlife at any of our 13 beaches - or just enjoy the scenery. Find your beach here.

Special Events

Monterey's widely acclaimed calendar of events attracts visitors from around the world. Music lovers are drawn to the Carmel Bach Festival in July and the Monterey Jazz Festival in September. Car lovers and racing fans descend on Monterey County for the legendary Monterey Car Week and Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and other events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Last but not least, golf lovers converge on Pebble Beach each February for the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and April's Big Sur International Marathon is just one of many other competitive events that take place throughout the year. Click here to see upcoming events.

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