Discover the top things to do in Monterey on the spectacular, breathtaking central California coast. This scenic destination offers something for everyone.
- Hop on a free MST trolley. It makes stops at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, downtown Monterey, Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row.
- Monterey Bay Aquarium, once a sardine cannery, offers interactive exhibits, daily feedings, shows and behind-the-scenes tours. During the summer, stop at the back deck Wildlife Viewing station and watch the crazy feeding fest of area whales, turtles and other wildlife. There are about 300,00 marine plants and animals here.
- Stroll along Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Watch for playful otters and seal lions. See fishing boats enter the harbour to unload their catch. Try a cup of clam chowder or check out one of the several restaurants offering incredible views of the inner harbour.
- Go deep-sea fishing or whale watching.
- Kyack or sail along the shores to spot wildlife in their natural habitat.
- Cannery Row is a charming street full of history. Canneries popped up here during World War I, when sardines were in high demand. During its production peak in 1918, 1.4 million cases were processed. Sardines disappeared from the area and the canneries collapsed after World War ll. Today the cannery buildings have been updated and you can browse through shops, boutiques and art galleries. There are also restaurants and hotels along this strip.
- Explore the wine tasting rooms of some of the vintners from Monterey County. There are about 85 vineyards in the region. Download a tasting room map.
- Bird Watching reaches its peak in the Monterey Bay area in September. The annual Monterey Bay Birding Festival in nearby Watsonville is held in September. Watch the skies for California condors and golden eagles, along with other numerous species.
- Take a trolley tour on a historic trolley. There are a few to choose from; a Wine Trolley tour or a Ghost Tour of Old Monterey.
- Attend the Monterey Jazz Festival. Held annually in September, it is the world’s longest continually running jazz festival.
- In 1602, Spanish merchant Sebastian Vizcaino was the first European to set foot on the peninsula.
- There are 26 public and private golf courses in the area.
- The first fish cannery on Cannery Row was Pacific Fish Company. It started in 1908.
- The area boasts the same grape growing climate as Sonoma and Napa, California and also Bordeaux and Burgundy, France.
- Built during the Mexican era in 1827, Monterey’s Custom House is the oldest standing California public building. The American flag was raised here in 1846.
- Famous authors who spent time in Monterey County: Robert Louis Stevenson, Ed Ricketts, Henry Miller, John Steinbeck and poet Robinson Jeffers.
Getting to Monterey
Located on California’s central coast, Monterey is located 100 miles south of San Francisco and 200 miles north of Los Angeles.
You can fly into Monterey, or into other cities along the coast and then rent a car to drive the scenic coastline. You can also take a train or a bus.
Find out more about Monterey and hotels in the area.
Nearby points of interest
- 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach
- The Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove is where thousands of butterflies migrate to spend winter from October to February.
- Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to 36 species of marine mammals. You can spot three types of whales; orca, humpback or gray. Porpoises and dolphins are also visible, depending on the season.
- Monterey Wine Country offers a variety of tasting rooms. Download a tasting room map.
- Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea.
- If you are a sports car racing fan, check out Laguna Seca Raceway.
- Attend the racing school, run by a Formula One World Champion driver.
- Explore the top things to do in San Francisco.
- Discover dozens of painted ladies in Ferndale, Califronia
- Travel to Bryce Canyon to discover the world’s largest hoodoo collection
- Discover the world’s largest gypsum dunes.
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