Monterey Travel Guide

  • Sea Otter Spotting at Lovers Point
    Sea Otter Spotting at Lovers Point
    by vichatherly
  • Lovers Point
    Lovers Point
    by vichatherly
  • Shark
    Shark
    by vichatherly

Monterey Highlights

  • Pro
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    Ewingjr98 says…

     Natural Beauty, Historic Sites, the Bay 

  • Con
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    PorkTeriyaki says…

     It gets cold in summer. Bring a jacket. 

  • In a nutshell
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    Lhenne1 says…

     Eclectic blend of a city, an historical society and a wilderness preserve. 

Monterey Things to Do

  • 17 Mile Drive

    17 mile drive is a gated drive around the ocean in the Pebble beach area. it costs about 10 dollars per car and although beautiful doesn't really contain anything ( other than the golf courses) that can't be seen elsewhere on the coast.

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  • Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Whale watching is quite the past time for locals in the Monterrey area. There have been a record number of humpback whales spotted in Monterey Bay this fall. From the back deck of the Aquarium guests have seen humpbacks breaching, spouting and feeding. Monterey Bay attracts whales year-round, including humpbacks that visit from April to December...

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  • Fisherman's Wharf

    I think the highlight of fisherman's wharf is the seal's lounging out on a dock, waiting for fisherman to through the scraps of their daily catch into the bay. Great fun to watch. Some just lounge on the dock while others swim in group and are very playful. The pier also has a number of restaurants and souvenir stores. A fun activity for an...

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Monterey Hotels

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Monterey Restaurants

  • The Fish Hopper Restaurant

    This is a glitzy, fun, and fairly good seafood restaurant in Cannery Row, if a bit touristy. It's not a really great place but it is definitely one of the better places to eat in Cannery Row area, both for ambience, which is nice, and the food quality and has great views on the water.

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  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.

    Bubba Gump Shrimp and Company Restaurant is easily one of my favorites plus their branch here at Monterey has panoramic views of the Monterey Bay Area. Almost everyone is familiar with the movie "Forrest Gump," and this is an excellent commercial adaptation of that theme and story in a fun eatery. Launched in 1996 by Viacom Consumer Products and...

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  • Captain Bullwhacker's Pub

    CUSTOMERS BEWARE...... NEVER USE A CREDIT CARD AT THIS ESTABLISHMENT Owner is aware that his employees are using customer credit cards to bill customers for multiple meals off of different tickets. If anyone else has an issue they should contact the owner by calling (831)-277-3369 Employees by the name of James and Rawan have both placed...

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Monterey Nightlife

  • Live Music

    Possibly the most beautiful theatre I have ever seen in my life. I am so excited to see The Robert Cray Band this month! And the Growlers in December should be fantastic. They've had to move their smaller acts from The Lobby to the main stage due to sound complaints, which I thought would be kind of a drag, but I saw The Tumbleweed Wanderers there...

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  • Exciting Variety at The Golden State...

    Possibly the most beautiful theatre I have ever seen in my life. I am so excited to see The Robert Cray Band this month! And the Growlers in December should be fantastic. They've had to move their smaller acts from The Lobby to the main stage due to sound complaints, which I thought would be kind of a drag, but I saw The Tumbleweed Wanderers there...

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  • Monterey Jazz Festival

    The Monterey Jazz Festival (MJF )is the worlds longest running jazz festival, having debuted in 1958. The festival is held annually at the Monterey Fairgrounds on the third weekend in September, beginning on Friday. Over 500 jazz artists perform on nine stages for more than 50 performances. There are also numerous booths set up to sell food and...

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Monterey Transportation

  • By Car

    There are many Metered Parking Slots along Cannery Row and the absolute limit is just 2 hours and you have to be early as to find the cheap metered parking since it will fill up rapidly before 10:00 am. There are several Pay Parking options in monterey and parking near the Main Stores and Shopping Malls in Cannery Row like the Cannery Row Garage...

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  • Parking in Monterey

    There are many Metered Parking Slots along Cannery Row and the absolute limit is just 2 hours and you have to be early as to find the cheap metered parking since it will fill up rapidly before 10:00 am. There are several Pay Parking options in monterey and parking near the Main Stores and Shopping Malls in Cannery Row like the Cannery Row Garage...

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  • Drive to Monterey

    If you want to save on gas when you want to go to Monterey and you are living at the San Francisco Bay Area which is a 2 1/2 hour and 119 mile drive (including rest room breaks at gas stations), then get on a tourist bus in downtown but if you want to go around the Monterey Area at your own pace and pick the destinations and thing to do you want,...

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Monterey Shopping

  • Branch of The Bay Area's Famous...

    Ghiradelli, founded by the venerable Italian Immigrant Domenico Ghiardelli in the Bay Area in the 1900's is now a worldwide chocolate sensation and they also have a branch here at kitschy Cannery Row area. This Branch of Gihardellis is smaller than the branches in the bay area but still has the hallmarks of Domenico Ghirardelli's Signature...

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  • Lots of Shops in Cannery Row 2

    Part Two of My Shopping Tips with more pictures around cannery rowThe Cannery Row is one whole district that is aimed for shopping, eating and dining! The former Sardine Canneries are now converted into assorted Shops, Stores, Restaurants, inns, hotels, bars and chocolate shops so that the area can be decribed as one big shopping mall. This famous...

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  • Lots of Shops in Cannery Row 1

    This is a two part tip with more pictures around cannery rowThe Cannery Row is one whole district that is aimed for shopping, eating and dining! The former Sardine Canneries are now converted into assorted Shops, Stores, Restaurants, inns, hotels, bars and chocolate shops so that the area can be decribed as one big shopping mall. This famous...

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Monterey Local Customs

  • Pebble Beach Fridge Magnets

    again, as everyone knows, I like to collect fridge or refrigerator magnets on all of the places that I visit whether local or international and going to monterey is no exception. you can have a variety of refrigerator magnets and other souvenirs that you can buy them when you have a side tour of the 17 mile drive and the world famous pebble beach...

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  • Pebble Beach Shot Glasses

    not only do i collect assorted fridge magnets of my local and international travels but i also collect shot glasses which I sometimes use to take a shot of tequila heheh (thank you patron!) and here in pebble beach area of the 17 mile drive, home of the world famous Pebble beach golf course, near monterey, is no different hehehe. you can buy these...

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  • Monterey Shot Glasses

    not only do i collect assorted fridge magnets of my local and international travels but i also collect shot glasses which I sometimes use to take a shot of tequila heheh (thank you patron!) and here in monterey is no different hehehe. you can buy these assorted shot glasses in monterey cannery row that comes in all lengths and materials like the...

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Monterey Warnings and Dangers

  • Flora / Fauna

    Nature is beautiful and fun, but be careful among some of the birds in Monterey. The area around the bay is home to more Seagulls than you can begin to count. They tend to be loud and can be aggressive if provoked (don’t tease them). Don’t be surprised if you find your car has become their latrine. Keep an eye out overhead for shells they may drop...

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  • Jellyfish!

    In the Fisherman's Wharf area there are two piers. Adjacent to Wharf 2 is a municipal beach. While we walked wharf 2 we had great views in the water of many Nettle Jellyfish. They do sting so if you are swimming in Monterey Bay, especially at the Wharf Municipal Beach, be aware of their presence!

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  • Monterey's Homeless Population

    Maybe this shouldn't go in the "warnings and dangers" section, as they don't seem to cause problems...but Monterey has a significant homeless population. They seem to mainly congregate at El Estero Park and along the coastal running trail from the Commercial Wharf east to Seaside. Mostly they just hang out, and they seem to be relatively happy and...

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Monterey Tourist Traps

  • Cannery Row

    The Cannery Row is one whole district that is aimed for shopping, eating and dining! The former Sardine Canneries are now converted into assorted Shops, Stores, Restaurants, inns, hotels, bars and chocolate shops so that the area can be decribed as one big shopping mall. The Cannery Row Has two faces, one bustling center of tourism in Monterey and...

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  • Also One Big Tourist Trap

    The Cannery Row is one whole district that is aimed for shopping, eating and dining! The former Sardine Canneries are now converted into assorted Shops, Stores, Restaurants, inns, hotels, bars and chocolate shops so that the area can be decribed as one big shopping mall. The Cannery Row Has two faces, one bustling center of tourism in Monterey and...

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  • 17 Mile Drive

    We had some time to spare when we drove from San Luis Obispo to Monterey, so we decided to do the 17 mile drive. So many people had recommended it to us, so we thought it would be a nice drive. We were very disappointed by it, there were some pretty spots to be seen, but most of it was driving by golf courses and big houses. The spectacular scenery...

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Monterey What to Pack

  • Sweater / Jacket

    if you plan to stay a night or two at the hotel, then bring a light travel bag but you're only here for a day tour, then a small type of bag will do. the weather can change abruptly in monterey, always bring a handy sweater or scarf or a wind breaker so that you are prepared for sudden weather changes but you don't need to bring a water proof...

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  • Dress in Layers

    Bring a jacket, or be prepared to wear several layers during summer mornings. The summer fog (and wind) can be cold, although it usually burns off by noon. And the water is always cool, so wear a wetsuit if you plan on staying in the water for a long time!

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  • Bring a Sweater or Scarf

    if you plan to stay a night or two at the hotel, then bring a light travel bag but you're only here for a day tour, then a small type of bag will do. the weather can change abruptly in monterey, always bring a handy sweater or scarf or a wind breaker so that you are prepared for sudden weather changes but you don't need to bring a water proof...

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Monterey Off The Beaten Path

  • Parks

    The Frog Pond Wetland Preserve in Del Rey Oaks is maintained and operated by Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District. This tiny 17 acre park is open for pedestrians only and has about one mile of hiking trails. The park is surrounded by houses or road on all four sides, and has a variety of habitats including a freshwater pond, small grassy...

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  • Coastal Views / Beaches

    if you are visiting the Hearst Castle Historical State Park after a walk through of Monterey and Carmel with lost of spare time or having 2 to 3 day extra time, I would suggest a timely stop along Big Sur and the historic Highway 1 that straddles the Santa Lucia Mountain range and the Pacific Ocean for spectacular panoramic vistas for a picture...

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  • 17-Mile-Drive

    Lucia is a Small Hamlet in the Santa Lucia Mountain Range at the Winding and Scenic Highway 1 and is bannered by a small lodge and restaurant where there are spectacular views of the pacific Ocean and they have a 10 room lodge for people who want to savor the view and have some privacy. While primarily a motel and lodge on the side of the road,...

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Monterey Sports & Outdoors

  • Race Week or Bike Week?

    When the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix motorcycle races come to Laguna Seca in July each year, you can expect crowds of nearly 150,000 people at the track. Most of these are motorcycle-riding, speed demons with fast bikes of their own. Where do these people spend their off-track time during race weekend? They overwhelm tiny Monterey and its normal...

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  • California State Rodeo in Salinas

    The California State Rodeo is held annually in Salina each July. This is considered one of the top 20 rodeos in the nation of the 800 or so held each year, and it attracts about 50,000 visitors. The rodeo features continuous action in the side-by-side arena and track including barrel racing, team roping, tie-down roping, bareback riding, bull...

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  • Dirt Track Racing at Watsonville's Ocean...

    Ocean Speedway has weekly Friday night races in a variety of classes of cars on their quarter mile dirt oval. Entrance costs $15 per adult, $8 for children, and $10 for seniors. Be sure to bring sunglasses to block the dust, warm clothes to fight off the late evening chill, and a blanket to cover the hard wooden benches. Unfortunately you can not...

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Monterey Favorites

  • 17 Mile Drive

    The community of Pebble Beach is actually an unincorporated area run by a corporation rather than by an elected government but it falls under a census designated place called Del Monte Forest. Del Monte Forest has an average house value of about $800,000, while the residents are 90% white, with average incomes of about $100,000 per year. You will...

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  • Photography

    Monterey has the largest population of raccoons I've ever seen in a city, small town, or the country. Some nights near the wharves, just after dark, you'll see a mess of coons sneaking out from under the wooden structure to search for the masses of tourist trash that is lying about. Enjoy looking at these crazy little guys, but don't get too close,...

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  • Sea Life

    Sea otters are cuter, skinnier, and much quieter than their cousins the sea lion. Unfortunately, they are also smaller and more shy, therefore more difficult to spot. This guy was on the east side of the commercial wharf, all by himself, barely making a sound...except that faint clicking noise as he rapped a stone on the shellfish he was cracking...

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Top 10 Coastal Drives: Monterey

Rated 5 out of 5 stars

At around 454 miles (730 km), California's Pacific Coast Highway is probably the most well-known coastal drive in the United States. From Los Angeles to San Francisco, the distance is about 455 miles (732 km), though VirtualTourist members specifically suggest the 135 mile (217 km) stretch from San Luis Obispo to Monterey. This drive includes Point Lobos State Reserve, Point Sur State Historic Park, and the highly-recognizable, oft photographed Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. One thing to keep in mind: when you pay admission to one CA state park, your receipt will cover your admission to any other state park for the day – so it's great to hit this sector of the road on the same day.

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Explore Deeper into Monterey
Cannery Row
Things to Do
Downtown
Things to Do
Whale Watching
Things to Do
Carmel
Things to Do
Big Sur
Things to Do
California Missions
Things to Do
Sea Life
Off The Beaten Path
Cannery Row
Favorites
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Favorites
Schools
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Coastal Views / Beaches
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Walk / Hike / Play
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Golf / Other Sports & Recreation
Favorites
Customs House
Things to Do
Good Pub and Beer Place
Restaurants
Good English-Style Pub
Restaurants
Good Italian Coffee House
Restaurants
Humpback Whale Watching
Things to Do
The Splash Zone
Things to Do
First Theater
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Great Little Old Doughnut Place
Restaurants
Seafood Restaurant
Restaurants
Paths of History Walking Tour
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17 mile drive
Things to Do
Point Pinos Lighthouse
Things to Do
Sunset Drive and Point Pinos
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Presidio Chapel
Things to Do
Robert Louis Stevenson House
Things to Do
Monterey State Historical Park
Things to Do
Best Duck Confit!
Restaurants
Check out the Seals!
Things to Do
17 Mile Drive
Things to Do
Touristy Cannery Row
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lost camera
Things to Do
El Estero Park
Things to Do
Halal Afghani
Restaurants
The Old Fisherman's Wharf
Things to Do
Monterey Municipal Wharf
Things to Do
The Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum
Off The Beaten Path
Mini beaches Along Cannery Row
Things to Do
Map of Monterey

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