Monterey Peninsula is 125 miles south of San Francisco and 345 miles north of Los Angeles. The peninsula itself consists of four adjacent regions:
Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel are incorporated cities, while Pebble Beach is an unincorporated area privately owned by the Pebble Beach Company. The entire peninsula proper is smaller than 25 square miles and from the center of the peninsula, each one of these four destinations is only a few miles away.
For a larger map of the peninsula, click on the picture below.
If you're looking for things to do while visiting the Monterey peninsula, there's quite a few options. Adventurous types will enjoy kayaking, scuba diving, whale-watching, and horseback riding. For serious golfers, there is a celebrated selection of public and semi-private courses, including the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links. Others looking to relax might indulge in spa and massage services or a day at Monterey State Beach or Carmel Beach.
Below we cite a few examples of businesses offering the services we have mentioned. Their listing here is not an endorsement. For a more complete directory of recreational service providers, please visit the Monterey County Visitor Information on Recreation web site. We strongly encourage you to make your reservations in advance as Monterey Peninsula is a popular destination for vacationers, wedding parties, and business conferences.
Monterey Bay Whale Watch. Featured on: The Today Show, National Geographic Television, Discovery Channel. (831) 375-4658. www.gowhales.com
Adventures by the Sea. With guided kayaking tours as well as kayak, bike, surrey, and surfboard rentals. www.adventuresbythesea.com
Pebble Beach Trail Rides. The equestrian center is able to accomodate both adults and children. Duration of rides is between 20 minutes to an hour and fifty minutes. Prices vary between $20.00 and $110.00 www.ridepebblebeach.com
Monterey Bay Dive Company. Scuba and snorkeling tours of Monterey Bay. Equipment rentals, sales, and airfills can also be done here. www.mbdscuba.com
Spa On The Plaza. Offering facials, massages, full body treatments, and salon services. Private Sauna with Swiss Body Shower complimentary with any spa treatment. A $16 day pass includes access to a fitness facility, an ourdoor plunge pool, and outdoor jacuzzi. (831) 647-9000. www.spaontheplaza.com
Points of Interest
Monterey Bay Aquarium. The aquarium is must-see for anyone planning a trip to Monterey. Among the 300,000 creatures and 623 species hosted here, you'll view sunfish, a great white shark, and yellow-fin tuna in a million-gallon tank which sports quite possibly the largest window in the world (54 ft long, 15 ft tall, 13 inches thick). Other highlights include an exquisite jellyfish display, an otter exhibit, and touch-pools where you can pick up starfish, feel a sea-urchin, or touch a sting-ray. More information about the aquarium can be acquired from Monterey Bay Aquarium's web site.
17-mile Drive. For $9.00 per car, visitors can enjoy a pleasant scenic drive through privately owned Pebble Beach, California. Beautiful landscape and wildlife aside, Pebble Beach is also home to Pebble Beach Resorts, Spa, and Dining. For an interactive map of 17-mile drive, click here.
Carmel Mission Basillica. History buffs will love a trip to San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. This mission was the second of the 21 Franciscan missions built in California, and today visitors to the mission museum can sample life from the early 18th and 19th centuries. A number of artifacts date back to the time of Padre Junipero Serra, the founder of nine California missions including Carmel Mission, where he is interred.
The Beaches. For a lazy day in the sand, consider Asilomar State Beach or Carmel Beach, the latter being one of California's most famous beaches. Or if you want the view without the sand, Lover's Point is the perfect place for a family picnic; the grassy park is adjacent to two small beaches. Those with an eye towrds marine and avian wildlife might want to consider Carmel River State Beach.
A Taste of Monterey. Wine-lovers without the time to explore the local vineyards may want to consider a trip to this "Wine Visitor's Center," where you can sample selections from up to 40 Monterey County wineries. Wine tasting is $5.00 for six tastes (and if you purchase any bottle of wine, the cost of the bottle is less this amount). The view from the third story is also reputed to be worth the trip. For more information, see their web site.
Fisherman's Wharf. Less of a fish market and more of a tourist spectacle, you can still find smoked salmon, marinated octupus, calamari, and clam chowder in bread bowl while you browse the gift shops. Find out more from MontereyWharf.com
In Monterey, the average summer temperature is 68°F during the day and 51°F at night. The "rainy season" is usually from November to April, while May and June are characteristically dry. Be prepared to layer clothing as necessary.
Books and Maps
If you're planning an extended trip to the area, Tyler and Jenn strongly recommend Insiders' Guide to the Monterey Peninsula, 4th ed. (Insiders' Guide Series) and Rand McNally's Monterey-Carmel-Salinas Map. The Insider's Guide provides insightful entries about the local restaurants, attractions, wine, nightlife, shopping, kids activities, and much more. The map too is an indespensable tool, as the free maps at the Visitor Centers can be found wanting.
The Monterey County Convention and Visitor's Bureau is a good place to start if you're new to the Monterey Peninsula.
Monterey Visitors Center.
Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau.
For those with QuickTime installed, we highly recommend the full screen 360° virtual tours of Monterey Peninsula available at VirtualGuidebooks.com
Otherwise, please enjoy these few snapshots below.