Monterey Peninsula

Monterey Peninsula and Monterey City make a Great California Road Trip

California is a state well known for its traffic jams and earthquakes. Monterey Peninsula is quite a refreshing change of pace from the traffic chaos and freeway views. That’s what most of us Californians normally see. Monterey Peninsula is located on the central California coast. It comprises the cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel plus unincorporated areas of Monterey County. It includes the resort and community of Pebble Beach.

Monterey Peninsular
A pier in Monterey California.

Many California “firsts” occurred in Monterey. These include California’s first theater, brick house, publicly funded school, public building and public library. Additionally California’s first printing press was in Monterey. It printed The Californian, the first newspaper. Another first, Colton Hall, was built in 1849 by Walter Colton. It was originally a public school and government meeting place. It also hosted California’s first constitutional convention.

Monterey, the city which is on the coast overlooking Monterey Bay, has so much to offer. The city has more than the well-renowned surf and beautiful beaches. It was founded in 1770 by missionary Junípero Serra and explorer Gaspar de Portolà. At the same time, Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo. It was second in the chain of Spanish Missions of California. Originally near the presidio, the mission later moved a few miles south to its current location in Carmel.

The other attractions in the area are wonderful places to visit and complement your trip to the peninsula.

Monterey California
Monterey California

Monterey Peninsula is one of the most diverse and beautiful areas in Northern California. Its colorful cities and historic locations make it an ideal getaway. The weather is mild, being right on the bay, and the views are spectacular.

Monterey was actually the first capital of California after it was claimed by the United States. The city features a fine array of restaurants, boutiques, galleries, and inns. It also has several recreational opportunities. Monterey is host to a wide variety of festivals.

It also hosts some world class events, including The Monterey Jazz Festival, The Monterey Blues Festival, Cherries Jubilee, Monterey Wine Festival, and The Great Monterey Squid Festival. There are also major automobile and motorcycle races at nearby Laguna Seca Raceway.

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Eye Candy, even from Your Car

A lot of the area’s economy is based on tourism. The bay itself is a wildlife preserve, so the expanses of rocky Northern California coastline are absolutely gorgeous. Personally I am a big fan of taking pictures everywhere I go, and the picturesque beauty of this place is well worth the trip, if only for the lovely photographic mementos.

Big Sur
Big Sur is a lightly populated, unincorporated region on California’s Central Coast that is frequently praised for its rugged coastline and mountain views. Big Sur has been called the “longest and most scenic stretch of undeveloped coastline in the contiguous United States,

I remember how beautiful this whole area was quite a few years ago when I was Stationed at the now defunct Fort Ord, which was about five miles north of Monterey right near the coast. It’s still just as beautiful and scenic.

Monterey Peninsula
Sunset over the 1994 Carmel Shakespeare Festival production of Julius Caesar at Carmel’s historic Forest Theater

Especially gorgeous is an expanse in Pebble Beach called 17-mile drive. The 17-Mile Drive is a great way to just cruise up and down the coast, and take in the beauty of the scenery and wildlife. Sightings include pelicans, seals, otters, and sometimes even whales.

The 17 mile drive, you will pay a fee (per car), however, to drive on it. Motorcycles are not allowed. The per-car fee will get you in plus you’ll get a driving guide. Although it’s not free, what a neighborhood it takes you through! It’s not just full of gorgeous houses, but there are spectacular ocean views. It could turn out to be one of your favorite memories. Even though the drive has a big reputation, there is an alternative drive below. It offers equally beautiful views, and for those budget minded people you don’t have to pay to drive it.

You should allow about 3 hours or more for the whole drive. That’s especially the case if you stop to eat or take a lot of photographs. If you’ve heard of nothing else, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pebble Beach golf tournaments. It’s in this area.

Of course if you like to surf, what trip to California would be complete without surfing? If you do not have your own board or jet ski, there are plenty of places where you can rent one. For the surf challenged, lessons are available just about everywhere you go.

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Year round must see attractions

The area has the internationally know aquarium, world class hotels and many dozens of shops. There are outdoor activities like hiking, biking, scuba diving and ocean kayaking. Tthere is something for everyone.

Cannery Row

For the literary, fans of Steinbeck will be happy to find that Cannery Row is still there. Most of the canneries are gone now. But Cannery Row is full of famous restaurants, small or large art galleries, and shops you will not find anywhere else. Cannery Row’s reputation as the Monterey Peninsula’s “hot spot” is well earned.


Cannery Row @ Monterey Bay

by Nomadic Fanatic
Published on Youtube on Dec 12, 2015

Traveling Marina, CA to Monterey, CA and boondocking in town overnight while exploring downtown during the day. Christmas is just weeks away and decorations are out everywhere.


There are over thirty restaurants, night clubs and every type of entertainment from comedy clubs to pool halls makes Cannery Row a unique place to visit. , day or night your visits to the Monterey Peninsula is not complete without a trip to Cannery Row.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Anybody with an interest in oceanography or marine biology should then proceed immediately to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which happens to be one of the world’s leading research institutes. The two-story otter tank is not to be missed.


Monterey Bay Aquarium Narrated Tour

by Ken TheJeepGuy
Published on Youtube on Nov 22, 2017

Take a brief narrated tour of this world-class aquarium located along Monterey’s famed “Cannery Row.”


Carmel Valley – Agriculture and Countryside

Carmel Valley area is a combination of sunshine and countryside. The valley retains the agricultural character of its history. There still are rustic barns, vineyards, lettuce fields, and grazing animals. There is a village 12 miles east of Carmel and is home to Garland Ranch Regional Park.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Monterey Bay, California.
Monterey Bay, California. Image credit: en:Seano1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Seano1

With a population of only about 4,000 residents it boasts thousands of visitors each year. By the 1920’s Carmel had already achieved an international reputation as an artists’ colony. Times have changed and now Carmel-by-the-Sea’s biggest attractions are the downtown shopping district and its beautiful beaches.

There aren’t many sidewalks, neon signs, street lights, or mailing addresses in this little city. However you will find specialty shops, boutiques, photography and art galleries and fabulous restaurants.

Pacific Grove – America’s Last Hometown

Pacific Grove is known by its locals as “America’s last hometown.” It is also known for its large population of Monarch butterflies. Take a walk through residential neighborhoods and you’ll find many well-preserved turn of the century Victorian homes. Those interested in history can visit the Point Pi–os Lighthouse, the oldest operating facility of its kind on the California coast. The Monterey Bay recreational trail passes by Lover’s Point, offering many opportunities to view sea otters, sea lions and occasionally passing whales.

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Maybe You’ll run into Someone Famous

Golfers won’t want to miss the Pebble Beach golf courses, which are not only famous, but draw a number of celebrities such as Bill Murray every year, as well as Clint Eastwood, who lives there. Eastwood was actually the mayor of Carmel California for a while, and still manages one or two restaurants in the area.

The Historic Monterey Bay Perspective

In downtown Monterey still stand a number of the original, traditional adobes. These clay buildings are testaments to the rich cultural history of the Monterey Bay area. Many of the historic buildings are available for tour, and there are historic walking tours available throughout much of the city as well.

Fisherman’s Wharf is also downtown, and you can get the freshest seafood imaginable there. I recommend the Liberty Fish Co. because the employees love it there. The owners are very good people, which is a rare find in the restaurant business.

Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey California

If you live in Southern California, it is well worthwhile to take the Pacific Coast Highway up to San Francisco. On the way, near there you’ll drive through the Monterey Peninsula. With all the great things to do and see in California, this Pacific coast road trip is well worth it, no matter what time of year, and no matter what your taste.

Copyright © TravelESP.com

About the Author

Charles writes articles. He is working on a new quote site, Wanderlust Quotes. He also makes money as a senior citizen.

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