Fans of John Steinbeck will recognize Monterey, California as the backdrop for many of his novels. Before the Mexican-American War, Monterey was the capital of Alta California. After California joined the United States, though, most of the area’s population moved north in search of gold. In time the city witnessed its population recover, and today it’s known as one of the most beautiful coast cities on the West Coast. If you’re considering visiting Monterey take a look at the below list for some ideas on how you should spend your time.


Don’t let the appearance of this seaside village fool you. The town’s architecture may appear humble, but when you visit you’ll find many designer stores, expensive art galleries, and pricey restaurants. In reality, the town caters to the many residents that call it home. If you’d prefer to save your money, consider taking a walk along the shore. Sunset is a perfect time to do so. Who knows? You might even bump into one of the famous celebrities (like Clint Eastwood) that call Monterey home.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium was opened in 1984. It annually receives around two million visitors. Due to its location next to the Monterey Bay, the aquarium has the ability to pump ocean water directly into its exhibits. The aquarium was the first in the world to grow California Giant Kelp. (It’s logo is actually an illustration of giant kelp.) Admission to the aquarium is $40, yet the majority of visitors believe the price is worth it.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve features breathtaking views of the Californian coast. When you visit you’ll find it difficult to not be impressed by the mighty rock formations that do constant battle with the ocean waves. Don’t be surprised if you catch a glimpse of gophers or sea otters while exploring the reserve’s trails. If you’re really looking for an experience, you’re in luck. Point Lobos is home to ten different diving locations. In the water below you’ll find kelp forests and coral reefs.

17-Mile Drive

Most travelers would agree: 17-Mile Drive is more than just a road you drive down—it’s an experience. The route traces the California coastline through the Del Monte Forest. Along the journey, you’ll get to peek at homes that are worth millions of dollars. You’ll find many places to stop and rest along the journey. However, there is a ten dollar fee to access the road.