The history of Monterey is part of its charm. Throughout the county, the story of Monterey's rich heritage is writ large in its adobes, gardens, mission bells, and lighthouses. Monterey is the most historic city in California, and the allure of the area continues to enthrall writers, artists and retreat seekers. You can explore the history of Monterey County through guided or self-guided tours.
Explore the Path of History, a two-mile, self-guided tour of Old Monterey. (Click here for a free walking map.) Marked by bright yellow tiles, the path leads through Monterey's quaint downtown, adobes, gardens, museums and other historic sites. Among other interesting stops is Colton Hall, where California's Constitution was developed and signed in 1849. Be sure to include both Old Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row on your historic trail to get a feel for the region's turn-of-the-century fishing history.
To complete your seaside tour, stop in Pacific Grove at Point Pinos Lighthouse to visit the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast, or travel south on Highway 1 to visit its neighbor the Point Sur Lightstation.
A quest to discover historic Monterey County isn't complete without a visit to at least one of the three California missions established by Spanish missionaries in Carmel, Soledad and Jolon in the late 1700s. Or, get transported to the late 19th century with a tour of the Monterey County Agricultural & Rural Life Museum in the Salinas Valley. Its historic train depot, school, and farmhouse along with early cultivating and irrigation equipment paint a vibrant picture of California's early days. Pacific Grove's Museum of Natural History is a great place to capture information on local wildlife and early Native American culture.
Enjoy a blockbuster trip around the Monterey Peninsula on Monterey Movie Tours' luxury coach. Visit numerous movie set locations, along with must-see spots like 17-Mile Drive.