BOASTING 99 miles of coastline, 3,371 square miles of magnificence and a temperature climate year round, natural beauty is at the heart of Monterey County’s enduring appeal.
The historical city itself has been attracting visitors since the 1700s, including Robert Louis Stevenson who came to Monterey in 1897 to court his wife-to-be and remarked on the importance of music in the former Spanish colonial outpost. That reputation was cemented with the iconic 1967 Monterey Pop Festival that gave birth to the Summer of Love and provided the template for future outdoor concerts from Woodstock to Glastonbury. It is also home to the world’s longest running jazz festival which continues to be one of the world’s most respected.
Restaurants, boutiques and attractions from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row and it’s world-class aquarium overlooking Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary continue to draw in the crowds along with a stream of outdoor pursuits from hiking to kayaking, where sea otters, sea lions and whales are just a few of the appealing marine creatures often spotted in the bay’s cool blue waters.
Where to Stay
Located at Pacific and Del Monte avenues, The Portola Hotel and Spa, is a unique nautical-inspired hotel overlooking Monterey Bay and an ideal base. The rooms are extremely spacious with a standard room rivalling the space of a generous suite and the full salon and spa ensure every pampering requirement can be taken care of after a long day exploring. For those interested in craft beer, on-site Peter B’s Brewpub is Monterey’s original craft brewery, offering the history behind some of the best craft beer in Northern California and Jack’s Restaurant & Lounge boasts informal, local cuisine from Day Boat Scallops and Monterey Shrimp to the Monterey Jack Cheese Bake.
Rooms start at around £140 per night https://www.portolahotel.com/
Where to Eat
For evenings, the well preserved Fisherman’s Wharf is the obvious atmospheric choice and is of course a pescatorian’s paradise. Try the Old Fisherman’s Grotto for the best creamy clam chowder and make sure you reserve a window-side table to catch the otters and seals frolicking in the water below oldfishermansgrotto.com
17-Mile Drive: www.pebblebeach.com. Scenic driving tour of Pebble Beach, scenic lookouts and famous golf courses. Entrance fee.
Big Sur: www.bigsurcalifornia.org. Scenic area of Monterey County encompassing a 90-mile stretch of breathtaking dramatic coastline from Carmel to Hearst Castle. Inns, restaurants, camping spots, beaches and hiking trails can be found along the iconic Highway 1.
Cannery Row: www.canneryrow.com. One of the most popular destinations in the Central Coast and named for Steinbeck’s novel, Cannery Row offers waterfront luxury hotels, boutiques, restaurants and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Carmel-by-the-Sea: www.carmelcalifornia.com. Charming village with boutique shops and 110 art galleries. Quirky laws including no street addresses, live music, neon lights or high heels without a permit still exist.
Fisherman’s Wharf: www.montereywharf.com. Popular attraction with seafood and chowder vendors, unique shops, restaurants, whale watching tours and sailing and fishing.
Monterey Bay Aquarium: www.montereybayaquarium.org. Featuring daily shows, feedings, tours and a dozen exhibits including Monterey Bay Habitats and new for 2016 – ¡Viva Baja! Life on the Edge.
Monterey Wine Country: www.montereywines.org. Monterey County is home to more than 175 vineyards, nearly 60 wineries and tasting rooms, and 42 varietals. There are wine tasting opportunities throughout the county including in Salinas, Carmel Valley, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Monterey.
National Steinbeck Center: www.steinbeck.org. Museum devoted to the life and works of John Steinbeck.
Pinnacles National Park: The national park is a popular spot for outdoor activities ranging from hiking to birdwatching to stargazing to rock climbing. It is also a perfect outdoor classroom for lessons in geology, botany and biology. Pinnacles Campground offers tent, group and RV sites.
For more information visit https://www.seemonterey.com