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Cultural and Historical Touchstones in Monterey

Salinas’ National Steinbeck Museum celebrates the life and work of one of the USA’s most noteworthy Nobel Prize-winning authors. Visit The John Steinbeck House for a peek into the writer’s childhood and have lunch at the House’s beloved restaurant. Don’t miss a trip to historic Cannery Row; this former turn-of-the-century cannery hub has been revitalized with waterfront dining, entertainment, colorful coastline, wine tasting and more. For more history, explore Fort Ord National Monument, the site of an old military base set amid rolling hills and featuring kilometers of trails to hike, bike or horseback ride. The Central Coast also has a strong connection to Mexico that spans centuries. Monterey was the first capital of what was once Alta California, and several Spanish missions reside in the surrounding area, including the iconic Carmel Mission. The Spanish language is also widely spoken here.


Scenic Route in Monterey County

Since there’s so much dizzying beauty to absorb, go ahead and take the scenic route. Highway One’s coastal route takes you past wetlands, artichoke fields, cypress forests and rocky coastline all the way to Big Sur. Drive historic 17-Mile Drive to see beaches, palatial estates and The Lodge at Pebble Beach, the elegant resort poised on the edge of one of the world’s most renowned golf courses. Sip your way through Salinas and Carmel Valleys on the River Road and Carmel Valley Wine Trails. It doesn’t get prettier and more serene than beach city Carmel-by-the-Sea, where art galleries, exceptional dining and tons of cultural offerings are on the menu. Don’t forget to spend time soaking up the sun on the white sands of Carmel Beach. 


Watching Wildlife

Being a pastoral paradise isn’t Monterey Bay’s only claim to fame; it’s also rich in wildlife. Head to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for a first-hand look at Life on the Bay, an exhibit that showcases the sea otters, humpback whales and other animals that thrive here. Encounter Giant Pacific octopus, a kelp forest and a splash area inhabited by penguins. If you want to add a little more excitement to your wildlife viewing, go on a whale-watching boat tour. Led by biologists and naturalists, each tour reveals a variety of remarkable animals in their habitat, including sea birds, dolphins, sea lions and orca.

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Fun Fact

Enjoying Carmel Valley’s wine and natural beauty
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Although not as well-known as Napa or Sonoma, the Monterey County wine region actually produces the most premium grapes in North America, spread over 16,187 hectares.


Salinas Valley’s crops
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As the No. 1 agricultural region in the United States, the Salinas Valley earned its nickname "Salad Bowl of the World," due to the wide variety of fruits and vegetables grown here.


Walking along Monterey’s historic Cannery Row
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Nearly a quarter million tons of sardines were processed on Cannery Row in 1945, the year John Steinbeck's “Cannery Row” was published.


Couple relaxing at a romantic Monterey-area spa
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Nearby Experiences

Upcoming events

Getting rowdy at the Salinas Rodeo
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Getting in the swing of it at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
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Runners leave their marks at the Big Sur International Marathon
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Under the glam tent at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine
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The crowd at Pacific Grove Good Old Days
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Official Monterey County Travel Sites