The city of Monterey is the center of culture and commerce in Monterey County along California's central coast. This area is artistically and architecturally influenced by the mission culture of early Spanish settlers, and one of its primary attractions is its laid back California atmosphere and staggering natural beauty. And thanks to the efforts of conservationists and the hard work of marine scientists, many of the beautiful wilderness areas here have been protected over the years so that you can still see them as John Steinbeck once did. Come here for the majesty of Big Sur, the ocean views along the Central Coast Highway, and the fun attractions and exciting nightlife of Monterey.
Here are a few additional suggestions of things to do in the area:
-The Monterey Bay Aquarium: A visit to Monterey is not complete without a trip to this world famous aquarium. The aquarium is not just a fascinating interactive marine zoo; it's also a global research and conservation center.
-Stroll Fisherman's Wharf: Come here to see the sea lions. Lazy, lovable sea lions have taken over some of the piers and entertain visitors from all over with their antics.
-The Monterey Jazz Festival: Visit in September for this popular festival. Other seasonal attractions include the Carmel Bach Festival in July and the Big Sur Marathon in April.
-Explore the parks: There are more than 30 regional, state and national parks in Monterey County. The central coast is the home of Big Sur and Point Lobos, among many others offering countless miles of trails for hiking, biking, and wildlife spotting.
-Take a scenic drive: Especially recommended is the famously beautiful 17 mile stretch of road along Pebble Beach.
-Visit Cannery Row: Named in honor of John Steinbeck, Cannery Row is home to some of the best seafood restaurants along the historic waterfront.
You certainly won't run out of things to do along the Central Coast. If you're interested in history, visit the old Franciscan Spanish missions. Or, take a guided walking tour of Carmel-by-the Sea on the southern part of the Monterey Peninsula, originally founded as a haven for artists and writers. While you are here, be sure to play a round of golf on a champion caliber course, visit a world-class spa, and of course, enjoy the beaches. No matter where you decide you want to stay along the Central Coast, it's easy to find an affordable vacation rental on the Monterey Peninsula during any season of the year.
As featured in USA TODAY and recommended by Travel + Leisure in its annual Villa Guide:
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