MontereyUnited States of America

4.5/5Top Destination

Monterey awaits: its aquarium, oceanfront, beaches and more!

Located along the rugged coastline of California, the oceanfront settlement of Monterey exudes seaside charm. Play on the dunes at public beaches, observe sea lions at the wharfs and embark on scenic walks along the coastal cliffs.

Get acquainted with the history of this coastal city, which was originally founded by the Spanish in 1770. Wander around Old Monterey and be on the look out for the Path of History plaques, which are placed along the sidewalk and point toward the landmark historical buildings.

During the earlier half of the 20th century, Monterey made its money from sardine canning, an industry that Steinbeck wrote about in his novel Cannery Row. Although the sardine canning businesses have closed, Cannery Row still exists. Stroll down the street and look for a bronze bust of Steinbeck and the old workers’ shacks, which show the harsh living conditions the workers here would have endured.

Take a stroll down Fisherman’s Wharf, browsing souvenir shops, seafood markets and admiring the 360-degree harbor views along the way. Sea lions and seals can often be seen in the waters here.

Don’t miss the Monterey Bay Aquarium; its tanks are filled with kaleidoscopic marine creatures. The aquarium is right next to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, where seals, sea lions, whales and dolphins can all be spotted. Of particular note is the aquarium’s kelp forest and the surreal jellyfish exhibit.

For visitors who want to see the California coast’s signature crashing waves and oceanfront cliffs, head for Garrapata State Park. Follow hiking trails along steep coastal bluffs and through towering redwood forests. Point Lobos State Reserve is another good place to get back to nature. Rent a kayak and paddle through coves, looking for orcas, sea lions and seals. The 18-mile (29-kilometer) long Monterey Bay Coastal Trail is open to walkers and cyclists.

From San Francisco, reach Monterey by car in about 2.5 hours. Buses are also available from San Jose, while internal flights touch down at Monterey Regional Airport. In downtown Monterey, make use of the free trolley service; check the Monterey-Salinas Transit website for the schedule.

Known for

Beaches, Aquariums and Sea

Explore map

Where to stay in Monterey

Old Monterey
Monterey featuring a beach, a coastal town and general coastal views

Old Monterey

Known for Dining, Aquariums, Live Music

4.5/5(30 reviews)

Old Monterey is a destination visitors seek out for its pristine beaches, ample dining options and popular aquarium. You might also want to check out attractions like Maritime Museum or Golden State Theatre while you're exploring the neighbourhood.

Downtown Monterey
Monterey featuring a beach, a coastal town and general coastal views

Downtown Monterey

Known for Beaches, Sea, Sports

4/5(27 reviews)

The pristine beaches and popular aquarium are top of the list for many visitors to Downtown Monterey. A stop by Dennis the Menace Park or Maritime Museum might round out your trip.

Lighthouse District
Lighthouse District, Monterey, California, United States of America
trover photo by Fabiana Lima

Lighthouse District

Known for Aquariums, Walking, Whale Watching

5/5(4 reviews)

Lighthouse District is well-regarded for its pristine beaches, ample dining options and popular aquarium, and you might also want to make a stop by Cannery Row, a top sight in the neighbourhood.

Golden Rectangle
Carmel which includes street scenes, signage and a city

Golden Rectangle

5/5(10 reviews)

If you're spending some time in Golden Rectangle, Carmel Beach and Sunset Center are top sights worth seeing.

Northwest Carmel
Carmel which includes street scenes, signage and a city

Northwest Carmel

5/5(10 reviews)

While visiting Northwest Carmel, you might make a stop by sights like Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive.

Northeast Carmel
Northeast Carmel, Carmel, California, United States of America
trover photo by Sarah Casarella

Northeast Carmel

4.5/5(7 reviews)

Though Northeast Carmel may not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica.

Top hotels in Monterey

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
4 out of 5
1 Old Golf Course Rd, Monterey, CA
£139
per night
11 Nov-12 Nov

Located in the heart of Monterey, this spa resort is within a 15-minute walk of Lake El Estero and Monterey Bay. Dennis the Menace Park and Monterey County Fairgrounds ...

4/5Very Good! (6,157 reviews)

"I loved the environment and landscaping around the hotel. The staff was helpful and friendly and the property was the best."…"

Reviewed on 16 Oct 2019

Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
£188
per night
17 Nov-18 Nov

Located in the heart of Monterey, this luxury resort is within a 5-minute walk of Cannery Row and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman's Wharf are ...

4.6/5Exceptional! (2,190 reviews)

"Everything was as expected and more! The Hot l is over the water and the bay is a stunning view!"…"

Reviewed on 19 Oct 2019

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Tides
Monterey Tides
3.5 out of 5
2600 Sand Dunes Dr, Monterey, CA
£122
per night
11 Nov-12 Nov

Nestled on the beach, this Monterey hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Del Monte Beach and Monterey Bay. Dennis the Menace Park and Maritime Museum are also within ...

3.8/5Good! (3,375 reviews)

"Great hotel right on the beach. The food in restaurant is pretty good and nice pool in the back. Fun place to bring your family. Just a couple exits away from downtown Monterey. I have recommended it to a couple of friends and they loved it as well."…"

Reviewed on 12 Oct 2019

Monterey Tides

Popular things to do in Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Image for Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

4.5/5(26 reviews)

Perched on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, you’ll find a spectacular window into life both above and below the waves.

Fisherman's Wharf
Image for Fisherman's Wharf

Fisherman's Wharf

4/5(79 reviews)

Take a whale tour, admire the ocean views from seafood restaurants and browse the souvenirs for sale in this thriving marina.

Carmel Beach
Image for Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach

4.5/5(50 reviews)

Spot birds or catch waves, then spread out a picnic by a campfire and enjoy the views at this picturesque beach.

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Image for Pebble Beach Golf Links

Pebble Beach Golf Links

4.5/5(34 reviews)

Hit the links in Del Monte Forest at Pebble Beach Golf Links, a popular golf course. Stroll along the beautiful beaches or attend a sporting event in this family-friendly area.

Point Lobos State Reserve
Image for Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

4.5/5(30 reviews)

This wildlife sanctuary, a magnet for nature lovers and artists, is a jewel of the California State Park system. 

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Image for Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Explore the great outdoors with a trip to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, a popular green space in Big Sur. Amble around the area's seaside or seek out its hiking trails.

Top activities in Monterey

4 Hour Summer Whale Watch
Image for 4 Hour Summer Whale Watch

4 Hour Summer Whale Watch

£40

Look for whales as they spend time in the waters of the Pacific Ocean off of California on this half-day whale watching cruise from Monterey.

Monterey, Carmel & Pacific Coast Highway - Full Day Tour
Image for Monterey, Carmel & Pacific Coast Highway - Full Day Tour

Monterey, Carmel & Pacific Coast Highway - Full Day Tour

£70

Cruise along California's spectacular coastline on a relaxing day trip from San Francisco. You'll follow Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula and visit Steinbeck's Cannery Row. Finish your day with a stop at the coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea before returning to San Francisco.

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)
Image for Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

Tastings at 400+ West Coast Wineries (Priority Wine Pass)

£32

We are a winetasting pass that is partnered with 400 wineries on the West Coast and is good for 365 days from date of purchase THE WINERIES we work with: 400+ winery partners in California, Washington, & Oregon. Regions include Napa Valley, Sonoma &

Monterey & Carmel-by-the-Sea Explorer
Image for Monterey & Carmel-by-the-Sea Explorer

Monterey & Carmel-by-the-Sea Explorer

£78

The experiences you’ll have on tour from San Francisco to Monterey, Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the-Sea are extraordinary – starting with the Pacific coastline that you’ll trace on the drive south to Monterey.

Self-Drive Excursion in a Convertible California Roadster
Image for Self-Drive Excursion in a Convertible California Roadster

Self-Drive Excursion in a Convertible California Roadster

£28

Fall madly in love with Monterey during a self-drive excursion in a compact electric car. Slide behind the wheel of a zippy convertible and travel to the seaside attractions on your sightseeing bucket list.

Carmel Small-Group Food and Wine Walking Tour
Image for Carmel Small-Group Food and Wine Walking Tour

Carmel Small-Group Food and Wine Walking Tour

£74

Meet at the Sunset Cultural Center in Carmel to begin your 3-hour walking tour of this lovely coastal town, an artist’s colony that is a foodie’s delight. With your small group, learn about Carmel’s history and architecture as you follow your knowledgeable guide through hidden passageways and tiny plazas even many locals don’t know about.

Reviews of Monterey

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
65
5 - Excellent 57.01754385964912%
4 - Good
44
4 - Good 38.59649122807018%
3 - Okay
4
3 - Okay 3.508771929824561%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 0.8771929824561403%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

17 Oct 2019

I loved Monterey!!! Plenty to do, lots of lovely walks, nice restaurants. We went whale watching and it was excellent!!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

16 Oct 2019

Beautiful place

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

9 Oct 2019

Monterey is a lovely town, a must visit is the aquarium and cannary row.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

7 Oct 2019

Very small town cute and good for a stop when driving from San Fran to LA but not much to do.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

6 Oct 2019

wish I had more time to stay and look around.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

3 Oct 2019

A really nice place to stay.

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