Cruising Along California’s Scenic Monterey Bay

bixby creek bridge

The Hollywood sign and the Golden Gate Bridge are probably some of the most famous landmarks in California. Then there’s Yosemite National Park, Alcatraz Island, Disneyland, and Universal Studios Hollywood, which are some of the most popular tourist attractions in sunny California.

But did you know that there’s more to California than those iconic spots? If you’re visiting San Francisco and want to visit Los Angeles or the other way around, be sure to make a quick detour and stop at Monterey Bay.

bixby creek bridge
Image via Flickr by reverie_rambler

History buffs will find it interesting to know that Monterey was originally the state capital of California. As such, historical buildings abound in the downtown area, which is known as Old Monterey. Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winner John Steinbeck even grew up in this area and used this place to draw inspiration for many of his stories.

Although you can make a 10-hour day trip to the Monterey Peninsula from the San Francisco Bay area, it would be wise to spend a night or two in this lovely city. You’ll find plenty of different lodging options in Monterey to make your visit worthwhile. Here are five reasons why you need to consider spending some time in the Monterey Peninsula.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium
Image via Flickr by Janitors

Located at the end of Cannery Row is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you’re familiar with the animated film “Finding Dory,” know that this is where the movie got its inspiration. The facility is huge and houses sea creatures like penguins, sea otters, sharks, jellyfish, and other marine animals and plants. The aquarium is the perfect place for families to get acquainted with underwater life.

Cannery Row

Cannery Row
Image via Flickr by Prayitno

Steinbeck fans would be delighted to find this place. Ocean View Avenue, the old name of this area, references Steinbeck’s 1945 novel “Cannery Row.” Sardine canneries have long ceased to operate here, and luxury hotels, boutiques, and restaurants have since replaced the former sardine canneries. Nonetheless, the streets along Cannery Row are great venues for a stroll while enjoying the view of the ocean.

17-Mile Drive

lone cypress tree
Image via Flickr by Allie_Caulfield

This route offers a breathtaking view of the ocean, making it hard not to fall in love with the scenery as you cruise along the Pacific coastline. This road leads to the gated Pebble Beach community, where some are perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean and taking your breath away. Don’t miss the iconic Lone Cypress Tree, one of the most photographed trees in North America, when heading to Pebble Beach.


Image via Flickr by SarahTz

This charming seaside village is home to boutique shops, gourmet eateries, and upscale art galleries. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway, then this beautiful town is perfect for you. Beautiful houses are scattered everywhere. The nice weather, great beaches, and lovely sunsets make Carmel an ideal place to go for a seaside walk or jog.

Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve
Image via Flickr by Fred Moore 1947

Just south of Carmel-by-the-Sea, this amazing reserve is not to be missed. Point Lobos State Reserve is a treasure, as it provides an unbelievable view of the ocean vistas. If you like hiking, walking, and observing wildlife, then this is an essential place to visit. This is every traveler’s favorite when visiting Monterey.

Whenever you’re heading to the Pacific Coast, be sure to include Monterey in your itinerary. The amazing coastal scenery and nice weather are definitely worth the trip.

What about you? Have you been to Monterey Bay? What’s your favorite place in this area?


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