With a magical collection of iconic destinations, all within a short drive of one another, Monterey County is full of breathtaking scenic beauty and invigorating adventures just waiting to be had. Situated along California’s stunning central coast, Monterey County is home to legendary destinations like Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach and Monterey as well as hidden gems like Pacific Grove, Carmel Valley, and Salinas.
Here, you will find a diverse array of offerings: from coastlines and valleys, to secluded resorts and quaint B&B's, with an abundance of outdoor adventure and relaxation. Discover all the of things there are to see and do in Monterey County - and be sure to plan plenty of time to admire the area, because there’s always more waiting to be explored!
Majestic Big Sur
Rocky cliffs, coastal redwood forests and hidden beaches combine to create an epic backdrop for recreation, romance and relaxed exploration. Hike trails through fragrant forests to reach scenic overlooks and beaches. Soak in Big Sur's surroundings and settle into a euphoric state of relaxation.
Travel tip: Be sure to check out The Big Sur River Inn, Big Sur's first hotel and restaurant. Relax on their Adirondack chairs with your toes in the river, while you sip one of their award-winning Bloody Mary cocktails.
Stroll past fairytale cottages or peruse art galleries, then pair an award-winning local wine with a stunning seaside sunset. Be sure to save time to hike or picnic at nearby Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel, known as “the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.”
Travel tip: Check out Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop, rent an electric bike or sidecar, grab take-out and cruise Scenic Road along Carmel Beach. With its white sandy dunes and impressive sunsets this is one place you will never forget.
Charming Carmel Valley
Lead yourself through sun-kissed Carmel Valley wine country and sip your way down Carmel Valley Road. Featuring award-winning restaurants with menus crafted to showcase local vintages and farm-to-table cuisine, Carmel Valley is where rustic charm and refinement meet.
Travel tip: Monterey Guided Wine Tours offers exclusive and private guided wine tasting tours throughout the area on their party busses, town cars or stretch limos. They have wine tasting packages that can be tailored to meet tastes of any individual.
Monterey has a robust and remarkable history attracting visitors from around the world since the 1700s. Today, iconic attractions like Cannery Row, Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Monterey Bay Aquarium (slated to reopen in spring) have helped make Monterey a favorite destination for visitors from around the world.
Travel tip: One of our nation's most spectacular marine protected areas, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary offers some of the best wildlife viewing around! Book a whale-watching excursion with Monterey Bay Whale Watch (available year-round) and experience these magnificent creatures up-close.
Butterfly Town Pacific Grove
With one of the oldest continually operating lighthouses in the country, Point Pinos Lighthouse, and a classic 1932 Neville golf course, Pacific Grove Golf Links, sporting epic golf and ocean views - Pacific Grove holds old fashioned charm. One of the top Monarch butterfly migration spots, with an out-of-this world stretch of coastline, it has earned the nicknames “Butterfly Town, USA” and “Sanctuary by the Sea.”
Travel tip: Rent a bike or surrey (four-wheeled, pedal-powered vehicles that can accommodate entire families) from Adventures By The Sea and cruise the 18-mile long Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail.
Legendary Pebble Beach
With the stunning Pacific as your backdrop, you can take in The Lone Cypress or the myriad views along 17-Mile Drive, and enjoy a round of cocktails or a round of golf at Pebble Beach Resorts, home to some of the world’s most famous resorts and golf courses. Justifiably famous and always inspiring.
Travel tip: Play as the pros do at Pebble Beach Golf Links®—you can warm up at the 9-hole Peter Hay Golf Course, or try out the newest course, Poppy Hills Golf Course. Make sure you make your reservation well in advance, as space fills up fast!
"Salad Bowl of The World" Salinas
The ancestral home of Nobel Prize laureate John Steinbeck, the Monterey County seat features the nationally acclaimed National Steinbeck Center Museum and is a vibrant, interesting agribusiness hub. Be sure to visit farmers markets, up-and-coming restaurants and gastro-pubs.
Travel tip: Head south to Salinas Valley and wine taste along the River Road Wine Trail all the way to Pinnacles National Park. This amazing place boasts outdoor activities ranging from hiking and birdwatching (including rare California Condors) to rock climbing. Just south in Salinas Valley, Pinnacles National Park boasts outdoor activities ranging from hiking to birdwatching (including the elusive California Condor) stargazing to rock climbing, Pinnacles National Park is the perfect outdoor classroom for lessons in geology, botany and biology.