In the good life of Monterey Bay’s coast-side towns, in the pleasures of its luxurious resorts, and in the vitality of its resplendent marine habitat, this piece of California shows off its natural appeal. The abundance is nothing new: an abiding current of plenty runs through the many histories of the region.
Military buffs see it in centuries’ worth of battles for control of the rich territory. John Steinbeck saw it in the success of a community built on the elbow grease of farm laborers in the Salinas Valley and fishermen along Cannery Row. Biologists see it in the ocean’s potential as a more sustainable source of food.
It’s easy to see the Monterey Peninsula’s diverse cultural and maritime heritage. Cannery Row, the former center of Monterey’s once-thriving sardine industry, has been reborn as a tourist attraction with shops, restaurants, hotels, and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Travel to downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey and walk through history. Santa Cruz shows its colors along an old-time beach boardwalk and municipal wharf.
The bay itself is protected by the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the nation’s largest undersea canyon — bigger and deeper than the Grand Canyon. And of course, the backdrop of natural beauty is still everywhere to be seen on a Monterey vacation.
Get up-close and personal with sea creatures of every shape and size at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The facility prides itself on its commitment to marine research and conservation. Sea otters – which are indigenous to the area – are a popular attraction.
Author John Steinbeck made Cannery Row famous in a book of the same name. Today, the old canneries have been reborn as restaurants and hotels in a rollicking entertainment district.
Fuel up and head toward Pebble Beach for a spin on the 17-Mile Drive. The scenic trip takes you past dream homes, the Del Monte Forest and one of the most famous golf courses in the world.
Tor House, in Carmel, was the whimsical home of poet Robinson Jeffers. The wordsmith built the stone house and adjoining Hawk Tower by himself.
Extreme sports fans love the Sea Otter Classic, an annual mountain biking competition held in Monterey since 1990.