Great Lessor Known Places in Monterey Bay Area
Some others have included the Pebble Beach 17 mile drive as a "thing to do" under Monterrey, which is for locals certainly incorrrect. Pebble Beach is its own destination worth a drive through. Similarly, Carmel regarded by some as a quaint suburb is actually as old as Monterrey itself and quite charming on its own terms. The restaurants in Carmel are generally higher-end and better overall than in the more blatantly touristy Monterrey. Santa Cruz about 30 minutes to the north on Hwy 1, is often dismissed as a haven for surfers and nothing more. Santa Cruz has it's own charm, the original boardwalk, and beaches. Capitola is also worth a stroll and has some good restaurants on the esplande. I also recommend a drive into the coastal redwoods above Santa Cruz, particularly if this is your only time spent with these extraordinary world's tallest trees. Favorite haunts of mine here are Mount Hermon and Ben Lomond. Between Santa Cruz and Monterey, there are great beaches near Aptos and the way toward Monterrey, the fruit and vegetable stands of the Salinas Valley and the great seafood selection at Moss Landing. I gone to the Monterey Bay Area nearly every year for the past 50 years, so I've got lots of fond memories. But, during the sixties, the change over from the tuna factories and dying fishing fleet at Monterrey's Cannery Row was still recent enough when I was young that the musical entertainment was particularly lively and original. There is a great variety of things to do and see in the Monterey Bay area, so if you have any questions, feel free to contact me, but please browse my highlighted tips first.
For those on a whirlwind tour of the area, and driving south in a rental car from San Francisco, I recommend taking Hwy 9 through the coastal mountains, passing through Ben Lomond and Mount Hermon to Santa Cruz and spending a day on the north shore of the Monterrey Bay. Then, take Hwy 1 past Moss Landing, stop for lunch, and continue through the great agricultural Salinas Valley before spending another day, maybe two in Monterrey. Set aside at least a couple hours in the morning for the great aquarium and then visit the wharf in the afternoon. Another day or two can be spent browsing through Pebble Beach and Carmel. The fastest return trip to San Francisco would be by way of Hwy 101, which passes the mission at San Juan Bautista and through the world's richest industrial zone--the Silicon Valley.
You have to visit the Monterey...
You have to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is the most wonderful and magical aquarium I've been to!
The exhibits are really amazing and there's even a petting pool for touching live sea creatures like the bat ray, star fish, and sea slugs. The most striking thing about Monterey is how it's so colourful and cheerful looking. We didn't have enough time to really explore it as we had spent quite a bit of time at the aquarium. My best memory would be that of touching the bat ray!
It was such an unusual feeling -- the bat ray is very gentle and will let you pet it, and it's skin is slippery and slightly slimy to the touch! What an unusual sensation!
Here's a picture of the bat rays in the petting pool.
Naval Postgraduate School & The Del Monte Hotel
The US Navy's institute for higher learning, Naval Postgraduate School awards just under 2,000 Master's degrees each year in areas such as international studies, information technology, engineering, and public policy.
NPS sits on a historic site in Monterey--the grounds of the former Del Monte Hotel. The Del Monte Hotel was established in 1880 and was long considered on e of the finest luxury hotels in America. In 1942, the owners sold the property to the US Navy, and the area was initially used as a flight school...by 1947 it was decided the overcrowded Naval Postgraduate School in Annapolis need a new home, so it was moved to Monterey and opened in 1951. The original Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive began and ended here at the Del Monte Hotel.
The Monterey County Weekly "Best Of 2006 Readers' Picks" named the Naval Postgraduate School as the best Place to Work in Monterey County!
There are a lot of deer in the New Monterey-Pacific Grove-Pebble Beach area. Many of them just sit along the side of the road where ever they can find a green grassy patch such as a yard, golf course or cemetery. When driving you'll sometimes see them on the road, but they don't seem to be too scared of cars. I took these pictures along Dickman Street in New Monterey above Cannery Row. This buck didn't really care that I was there. He just glanced at me, looked around and went back to eating. I have seen the most deer in Pacific Grove near Point Pinos at the cemetery and golf course. The biggest thing to keep in mind with these guys is to use caution while driving, especially at dusk.
Besides the famous sea life, around Monterey you will also see plenty of raccoons in yards, climbing trees, along stone walls, and even in the sewage grates along the streets. You will occasionally see signs warning you of the mountain lions.
Flowers of Monterey
The streets and parks of Monterey have a wide variety of plants and flowers. The running trails, parks, and city streets are full of a variety of flowers including the lovely bird of paradise, blue hibiscus, lily of the Nile, Santa Barbara daisy, lilac vine, and many others.