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Monterey
Travel Guide

Monterey showing landscape views, general coastal views and a beach

Forests of towering redwoods, dramatic seascapes, a thriving arts scene and premier local wines; this community hits the perfect balance between rugged and refined.

Visit Monterey to relax on white beaches, paddle the shoreline or spot whales along the Pacific coast. Walk past historic buildings, see artists perform or enjoy a seafood dish with Pinot Noir in the charming coastal city. The area is a popular weekend getaway from San Francisco, just 116 miles (186 kilometers) to the north; however, there is enough to do in this cultural city to keep you busy for weeks.

Monterey in California shares the Monterey Peninsula with Pacific Grove and Carmel. Spanish explorers arrived here in the 16th century, followed by Chinese and Portuguese fisherman, who pioneered the commercial fishing industry three centuries later. In the decades leading up to the 1950s, Monterey became the “sardine capital of the world” and was immortalized in John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row.

The Monterey Peninsula has long been a haven for artists. In the one-time bohemian enclave of Carmel, visit Tor House, a stone cottage and tower built by poet Robinson Jeffers. Explore more than 50 historic sites along Old Monterey's two-mile (three-kilometer) "Path of History," a self-guided tour marked by yellow signs. Watch a show at the historic and much-loved Sunset Theater. At Carmel Mission, discover a little serenity and 18th-century history, then warm your toes by a bonfire under the stars on Carmel Beach. Pay your respects to Monterey’s favorite son, the Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck, at the National Steinbeck Center.

Walk under the redwoods and sycamores of Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, or around the inlets of Asilomar State Beach. Explore the area’s sea life at the superb Monterey Bay Aquarium or learn about the city’s maritime past in the Museum of Monterey. Rent a sea kayak and paddle out across the swaying kelp beds off Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. As you hike one of the trails along the rugged Big Sur coastline spot sea lions and migrating whales.

Beautiful sandy beaches, a rich marine environment and cultural delights make Monterey one of the most popular destinations on the West Coast.

InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
4.5 out of 5
750 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
Free cancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is CA $251 per night from May 11 to May 11
Situated on the waterfront, this luxury hotel is steps from Steinbeck's Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum, Cannery Row, and Monterey Bay. Monterey Bay Aquarium and ...
4.6/5Exceptional! (928 reviews)
"This hotel is located right smack dab in the middle of Cannery Row which is very convenient. The hotel itself is very nice.. clean, awesome friendly staff, and a close by secure parking garage. However, with it's close location to bars and restaurants is that if your room happens to be facing the ..."

Reviewed on May 7, 2021

InterContinental the Clement Monterey, an IHG Hotel
Monterey Tides
Monterey Tides
3.5 out of 5
2600 Sand Dunes Dr, Monterey, CA
The price is CA $213 per night from May 10 to May 10
Nestled on the beach, this Monterey hotel is just steps from Monterey State Beach and Monterey Bay. Del Monte Beach and Monterey County Fairgrounds are also ...
3.7/5Good! (1,747 reviews)
"Great hotel, but they sell firewood so that people can send clouds of smoke into the oceanfront rooms, usually accompanied by loud music, the smell of marijuana, and obnoxious behavior. It’s a small, ugly stain on an otherwise perfect hotel."

Reviewed on May 7, 2021

Monterey Tides
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
4.5 out of 5
400 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA
The price is CA $283 per night from May 23 to May 23
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 ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (1,780 reviews)
"Very clean room and friendly staff Will definitely be staying here again"

Reviewed on May 5, 2021

Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Private Carmel Retreat- Minutes From Town
Private Carmel Retreat- Minutes From Town
Carmel, CA
Situated near the beach, this vacation home is within 2 mi (3 km) of Cherry Center for the Arts, 17-Mile Drive, and Carmel Beach. Carmel Mission Basilica is ...
5/5Exceptional! (4 reviews)
Great getaway with friends!
"House was just as shown in the listing. Fully stocked kitchen, great dining room and fantastic deck area to enjoy our coffee in the morning and wine in the evening. Had a relaxing stay. Ashley was very welcoming with our two pups - Lucy and Linus. Would definitely recommend. Great for a group of ..."

Reviewed on Apr. 20, 2021

Private Carmel Retreat- Minutes From Town
Beautiful and Sunny Carmel Guest House
Beautiful and Sunny Carmel Guest House
Carmel, CA
Situated by the sea, this romantic vacation home is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Folktale Winery and Vineyards and within 6 mi (10 km) of Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (14 reviews)
Good location
"Great space"

Reviewed on May 5, 2021

Beautiful and Sunny Carmel Guest House
The Nest in Carmel Valley
The Nest in Carmel Valley
3.5 out of 5
11 Scarlett Road, Carmel Valley, CA
Situated in the mountains, this vacation home is 1.5 mi (2.5 km) from Garland Ranch Regional Park and 1.9 mi (3.1 km) from Folktale Winery and Vineyards. Carmel ...
3/5 (1 review)
"Great location surrounded by trees. Property could use a little TLC - when we arrived no"

Reviewed on Jul. 4, 2020

The Nest in Carmel Valley
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Monterey

Top things to do in Monterey

Reviews of Monterey

4.3

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
43
5 - Excellent 43%
4 - Good
49
4 - Good 49%
3 - Okay
7
3 - Okay 7%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 1%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Feb 12, 2020

A great clean and safe place, Stunning views and great food

5/5 - Excellent

CUI

Nov 26, 2019

The hotel price there is reasonable, the 17 miles is amazing.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

Aug 7, 2019

We enjoyed our time in Monterey, although it was colder than expected.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jul 14, 2019

Got here in the evening and it was quite foggy so we haven’t see much yet. We were surprised that pretty much everything, dining wise shut down by 10 except for the fast food joints.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

Jul 11, 2019

Just a great little town. Nice walk by cannery road with shops and food. Clean, lots of room. Great for young families

4/5 - Good

EK

May 18, 2019

I suggest avoiding Cannery Row which is overly tourist oriented. On the other hand, Old Monterey has more charm and a lot of historical buildings. We highly recommend the Comanche Cellars Winery Tasting Room at 412 Alvarado. Excellent wines !

Read travel guides and advice on visiting Monterey

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Six Great California Wine Areas Not Named Napa

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