As 2020 comes to a close, there have been a lot of lessons learned and much to look forward to in the new year – especially when it comes to travel. We’ve learned that distance can be beautiful, nature inspires and rejuvenates and adventure is essential to the soul.

With milestone anniversaries, innovative outdoor spa treatments, hotel renovations and more on deck for the new year, residents and visitors will be able to grab their moment and explore Monterey County safely and responsibly. Whether road tripping along the scenic California coast or taking advantage of new direct flight offerings, including Alaska Airlines daily nonstop service between Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and the Monterey Regional Airport beginning in February, we’ve curated a list of new experiences to look forward to in 2021:

Milestone Anniversaries

Carmel Mission

Carmel Mission (Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA)

The Carmel Mission Basilica will celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2021. Originally built in 1770, this architectural and cultural gem is one of the most beautiful and authentically restored of the 21 missions in California. To commemorate the event, the Mission’s main entrance will be renovated, as well as a 100-year-old Adobe museum that sits adjacent to the renowned Basilica. Renovations should be complete in the Summer/Fall of 2021 and will complete phase two of the Mission’s second great restoration of modern times. The Basilica, Central courtyard and main museum will continue to be open to visitors throughout the restoration process.

Skydive Monterey Bay (Marina, CA)

Skydive Monterey Bay will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2021. Known for its beautiful views and long freefalls, Skydive Monterey Bay offers one of the “World’s Highest Jumps” from 18,000 feet and “California’s Highest Tandem Jump” from 15,000 feet over the sand dunes along the stunning Monterey Bay.  

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn (Big Sur, CA)

Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn was established nearly 100 years ago, but its operators, Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn Preservation Foundation, will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2021. The rustic, hand-crafted quality of the Inn and its old-world ambience match beautifully with the unique, timeless qualities found throughout Big Sur. The Inn also plans to reconstruct two cabin rooms that were destroyed from redwood trees that fell down during storms. A historic carpenter is creating the cabins to ensure they reflect the rest of the property and is using the same redwood trees that destroyed them. The Inn, which reopened its doors in December after a closure due to the pandemic, plans to reopen its popular dining room later next year.

Reinvigorating Offerings

Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach Resorts (Pebble Beach, CA)

World-renowned Pebble Beach Resorts is partnering with Tiger Woods to design a new short course comprised of nine par-3 holes, a 20,000-square-foot putting course and a food and beverage venue featuring the resort’s largest outdoor patio positioned for expansive views. The grand opening of the entire facility is currently scheduled for the Spring of 2021. Woods’ design philosophy for the short course is anchored on playability and creativity.

Post Ranch Inn (Big Sur, CA)

In 2021,Post Ranch Inn, an eco-luxury property perched on the cliffs of Big Sur, will launch a new Sleep Program for guests. This one-of-a-kind program has been designed with the help of one of the top sleep doctors in the U.S. and an indoor air quality expert to help guests sleep better and leave feeling truly rejuvenated.

Refuge (Carmel Valley, CA)

Located in sunny Carmel Valley, Refuge provides affordable relaxation through the use of its hot and cold-water therapy. Featuring the largest co-ed cedar sauna in the U.S, two eucalyptus steam rooms, four Nordic cool pools and six hot pools with cascading thermal waterfalls, the spa will soon introduce its exclusive outdoor salt scrub shower.

Outdoor Murals (Sand City, CA)

The fourth-smallest city in California is contributing to the state’s public art scene in big ways. Local artists recently transformed exterior warehouse walls into canvases for nine new murals. The quaint city’s lively outdoor art isn’t the only new thing in town. New businesses opening up in Sand City include Alma Del Mar and Monterey Glassworks.

Hotel Renovations

Portola Renovations

Portola Hotel & Spa new guestroom renovation 

Portola Hotel and Spa (Monterey, CA)

Just minutes away from historic Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Portola Hotel and Spa recently completed a multi-million-dollar room renovation featuring coastal inspired accommodations with modern, timeless interiors and upgraded amenities. The guestroom design, created by RoseBernard Studio, recalls the Hispanic roots of Monterey by incorporating the palettes and patterns of the region's earliest settlers. The design honors the coastal city's history, simultaneously elevating the property to meet the needs of today’s travelers.

Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach Resorts (Pebble Beach, CA)

Set to reopen in January 2021, the boutique Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach Resorts, known as a “resort-within-a-resort,” offers luxurious Mediterranean-inspired design sensibility. Tucked below the first and second holes at Pebble Beach Golf Links, Casa Palmero is an elegant and intimate estate with 24 private rooms.

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa (Monterey, CA)

Nestled on 22 acres along the Del Monte Golf Course, the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa offers 560 guest rooms and 43,000 square feet of meeting space. Guests at the hotel will enjoy a remodeled lobby and front drive alongside refreshed guest rooms in 2021.

Monterey Marriott (Monterey, CA)

The Monterey Marriott is transforming its 341 guest rooms and bathrooms with the renovation expected to be completed in 2021. The downtown Monterey property offers 16,500 square feet of meeting space on-site and an additional 40,000 square feet is steps away at the Monterey Conference Center.

Explore Land & Sea

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History (Pacific Grove, CA)

The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is working on two major projects slated to open in 2021:

  • Power of Collections (Spring 2021): Examines the important role old museum collections have on changes currently happening in the natural world and how they can be leveraged to make better predications about the future.
  • Nature’s Backyard (Fall 2021): The Museum is set to transform its backyard into a space for families to share in the exploration of nature, through active play areas and dig pits, all surrounded by a lush native garden.

Monterey Bay Aquarium (Monterey, CA)

After being closed for more than nine months, the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium is scheduled to reopen in 2021. To add to the excitement, the Aquarium announced plans to open a new exhibit and will be investing $15 million over the next two years to create the world’s first large-scale exhibition of deep-sea life, a 10,400-square-foot display named “Into the Deep: Exploring our Undiscovered Ocean.”

Culinary Delights

Carmel Valley Folktale Winery Food

Folktale Provisions (Carmel Valley, CA)

Folktale Winery opened a new Provisions shop featuring one-of-a-kind items handmade by artisans from around the world. Each item comes complete with a story card. In addition to home décor and kitchenware, the shop offers a selection of pantry goods made by culinary director Todd Fisher, such as purple onion jam, sherried dates, preserves, vinegars, flavored honeys and more.

L’Aubette Belgian Bakery (Monterey, CA)

Currently a pop-up shop with plans to pen an official bakery and brewery in the Spring of 2021, L’Aubette Belgian Bakery was created by owner Fabrice Rondia with the goal of bringing his Belgian heritage to Monterey. The bakery serves up a tradition Belgium sweet – dense buttery waffles with a caramelized surface. The waffles are made using local ingredients including wildflower honey from Carmel Honey Company.

The Steinbeck House Restaurant (Salinas, CA)

The Steinbeck House is not only the birthplace and boyhood home of famed author John Steinbeck, but also a noteworthy restaurant for delectable lunches and teas. After closing its doors over the summer due to the strains of the pandemic, the restaurant is raising money in hopes of reopening in 2021.

Woody’s at the Airport (Monterey, CA)

Famed local chef Tim Wood recently set his sights on a new culinary adventure with the opening of Woody’s at the Airport. Located at the Monterey Regional Airport, the restaurant features chef-driven takes on classics such as clam chowder, patty melts, sautéed sand dabs and more. The restaurant is currently open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily for outdoor dining and is considered one of Monterey’s best-kept dining secrets by locals.

We hope this list has inspired you to start planning how you’ll grab your moment in Monterey County in 2021. Check out the destination’s special offers and promotions page for savings and book your future trip soon.