Accommodation Monterey

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Exploring Monterey

California's original state capital was the scenic coastal city of Monterey, first settled during the late 18th century and perched on one of the nation's largest marine sanctuaries, Monterey Bay. The city's Spanish and Mexican background remains evident in its numerous renovated adobe buildings. Despite Monterey's relatively small population, the city boasts more historic structures than anywhere else west of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Hotels are another thing Monterey has in abundance, and a large percentage of the city's places to stay are positioned near the water. Scenic Fisherman's Wharf lies steps from the luxurious Portola Hotel and Spa at Monterey Bay, while free breakfast is served each morning next door to the world class Monterey Bay Aquarium at the three and a half star Spindrift Inn. Accommodation rates tend to be more expensive during weekends and busy events like September's Monterey Jazz Festival, but prices can decrease by as much as 30 percent during the low winter season.

Sights nearby

Monterey's scenic and convenient coastal location along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway makes the city an ideal base from which to explore this world famous driving destination. Bohemian Carmel and breathtaking Big Sur both lie less than an hour's drive south, while the surfer's paradise of Santa Cruz is located about an hour north of Monterey. Golfers will undoubtedly want to travel along the 17 Mile Drive to the world class Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove courses.

Carmel by the Sea
Several hotels surround the Carmel Beach City Park, one of the countless places to relax in this Bohemian retreat just six kilometres south of Monterey. Crisp Pacific Ocean breezes are often the only sounds which can be heard at the Carmel River State Beach, while the 1771 Carmel Mission is ranked among the most beautiful of the 21 missions Father Junipero Serra established on the state's coast. Small swimming coves and distinctive kelp forests are the most unique landmarks in nearby Point Lobos State Park.

Big Sur
No Pacific Coast Highway journey would be complete without stopping to savour Big Sur's spectacular clifftop views. The actual village of Big Sur may be somewhat unremarkable, but its surrounding scenery ranks among the most outstanding on Earth. Few other bridges appear in as many photographs as Bixby Bridge, while in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park visitors may wish to first stop at the stunning McWay Falls. The Point Sur Lighthouse is not only one of California's only remaining intact light stations, but also believed to be among one of the most haunted structures in the United States.

Santa Cruz
Northern and Southern California are said to come together 68kms north of Monterey in Santa Cruz, whose other major claim to fame is surfing. Although some may consider the city's Mystery Spot as a tourist trap, even visitors who have never set foot on a surfboard may enjoy learning about the sport's history at the Surfing Museum. It takes roughly 20 minutes to stroll between the city's pedestrian friendly downtown strip and its breathtaking beaches. Santa Cruz's Beach Boardwalk is the West Coast's only original beachside amusement park still open to the public.

Eating and drinking and shopping nearby

Due to Monterey's fairly small size, guests at hotels like the budget Best Western Park Crest Inn are never far from any of the city's eating, drinking, and shopping opportunities. Local seafood called sanddabs and artichokes from the nearby artichoke centre, Castroville, appear on several restaurant menus. Clam chowder in sourdough bread and freshly caught fish are served in many Fisherman's Wharf restaurants. Fisherman's Wharf also contains the community's largest portion of souvenir shops, but Monterey Imports is the place to purchase authentic Nepalese and Indian goods. The famous Lone Cypress logo adorns virtually every item sold at Cannery Row's Pebble Beach golf shop. Visitors can sample wines from throughout the Carmel Valley at Cannery Row's tasting rooms or party at Alvarado Street's pubs and bars.

Public transport

Monterey-Salinas Transit, the area's main public bus network, operates a summer trolley bus service across downtown Monterey and a regional bus wine tour in addition to its regular bus service. MST travels regularly to Carmel, Pacific Grove, Big Sur, and Salinas. Salinas is also home to Monterey's nearest rail station. The small Monterey Peninsula Airport handles flights to much larger cities throughout the western United States. Walkers can visit up to 37 significant Monterey landmarks along the 'Path of History' trail.

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