Located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay with a cool summer Mediterranean climate, Monterey is the perfect getaway within easy reach of San Francisco, at only two hours' drive away.
A magnet for artists and writers alike for more than a century, Monterey is home to history, art galleries, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the setting to some of John Steinbeck’s novels. Soaked in sea salt and history, Monterey is a landmark city on that other oh-so-beautiful bay.
The drive to Monterey is a really quick two hours via US-101 S. Just head towards San Jose and take the exit 336 towards Monterey. Merge on to the CA-156 W for 6 miles and then on to the CA-1 S.
Take the exit 402B and follow signs to Del Monte Avenue, and swing a left onto Calle Principal to get into town. This is a really popular road trip in itself, with scenic views of the Pacific coast and nice places to stop off and stretch your legs along the way.
For another route, consider taking CA-1 all the way down the coast from S.F. Bay to Monterey Bay. It's the stuff of roadtripping legend. You can take a break in Santa Cruz to poke around some surf shops or play a little bump-set-spike with the local volleyballers.
Portola Hotel & Spa is a four-star getaway within easy reach of the beach and every other thing you care to explore while in Monterey. It offers an outdoor pool and year-round outdoor pool, and an on-site restaurant that is sure to impress. Private parking is available on site.
The Monterey Hotel is a more modestly priced option that still offers all the amazing proximity to what matters: the beach, restaurants, and more incredible locations to spend your time than you probably can get to in one trip.
Monterey Tides is beach-side. Watch, listen and taste the salty waves from your room. Look across the hook of the bay to see the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium and so much in between. It's less than four miles away, with the galleries, restaurants and shops of downtown and Cannery Row between.
Compagno's Market & Deli is a small shop, and more of a get-and-go sandwich spot, but trust it and follow the locals. Compagnos is legit, one of those gems you only find by tapping into local buzz. Grab sandwiches to go and hit the beach, the street, whatever you've got planned. Compagnos is a must-do in Monterey.
The Whaling Station Steakhouse is one of the best steakhouses on the Monterey Peninsula, with a wide selection of vino, incredible food and guest service to match. A first-class experience.
Monterey's Fish House is a small, converted house on Del Monte Ave near the Naval Post Graduate School in Monterey. The food and friendly staff get rave reviews, and the prices are on-point for the fresh seafood and quality menu.
Cannery Row was once described by Steinbeck as “a poem, a stink, a grating noise, a quality of light, a tone, a habit, a nostalgia, a dream.” Since the days of Steinbeck, however, Cannery Row has transformed from a hub of corrugated fishing canneries to a Mecca for tourists looking to shop, sight see and visit this marine conservation area for the largest population of sea lions.
At the north end of Cannery Row, you will find the Monterey Bay Aquarium which is a huge hit for marine biologists, locals and tourists alike. With more than 600 marine species held on the site of the former sardine cannery, the aquarium attracts many of visitors each year. It has been home to great white sharks and is also one of the few aquariums to exhibit both yellowfin and bluefin tuna.
There is no higher rush in Monterey Bay than jumping from a perfectly solid airplane at 16,000 feet above the farmland and coast. Never plunged into the big blue yonder before? No worries. Take the tandem leap with a more than qualified instructor. Get a video and photos to save the memories.
Seventeen-Mile Drive is one of the most luxurious and scenic drives anywhere, with world-class golf clubs sprawling on both sides of the road. Enviable homes perched just above the sea line the driive, as well, with unobstructed views of the rocky shoreline and ocean that makes it a many-million dollar stretch of coast.
Dali17 Museum is a permanent exhibition of the art of Salvador Dali. It includes original etchings, mixed media, lithographs, and rare sculptures by Dali, one of the twentieth century’s premier and most celebrated surrealist artists.