Monterey vacation rentals
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Your guide to Monterey
All About Monterey
Follow the scenic coastal Highway 1 two hours south of San Francisco and you’ll land in Monterey, a beach town on California’s Central Coast teeming with sea life and rolling sand dunes that hosts a number of historic sites. Visit Cannery Row, named for its focus as a sardine-canning hub, which houses colorful repurposed warehouses filled with art galleries and boutique shops. Pop over to Fisherman’s Wharf, a wooden pier with delicious seafood and chowder restaurants, where local outfitters can take you out on whale-watching, fishing and sailing trips, and cruises along the Monterey Bay. Follow Alvarado Street, and you’ll reach the central historic downtown district of Old Monterey with wide pedestrian walkways that connect to hundreds of shops and restaurants like Japanese tea shops, maritime pubs, and historic coffee houses.
More than just a maritime town, Monterey has drawn music lovers to its shores since the ‘60s when it hosted a historic international music festival, and golf lovers flock to its world-renowned courses.
On the city’s protected beaches, you can watch sea otters, sea lions, dolphins, and seals in their natural habitat. Just down the highway, the stunning Point Lobos State Natural Reserve offers incredible views of kelp forests, unusual rock formations, and forest and marine life.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Monterey?
Monterey has a temperate coastal climate with warm, but not hot, weather and a steady amount of sun almost year-round, save for the rainy winter. Spring heralds the return of the “Magic Carpet,” a sea of purple ice flowers that coat the seaside hills for miles between April and May. In the summer, the city is lively during August as car enthusiasts spend time cruising down the coast for a well-known car show, and world-class golfers flock to the area for an annual tournament. The area’s annual jazz festival brings fans of famous jazz, blues, and folk artists to the area each September. Winter brings holiday lights to downtown buildings, and seasonal stalls sell Mexican-spiced hot chocolate.
What are the top things to do in Monterey?
Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail
Where the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad once ran now lies an 18-mile paved pedestrian trail with unobstructed views of the ocean. There are a number of rental shops along the trail that offer bikes, in-line skates, and kayaks. Along the path, you’ll find restaurants and cafes where you can stop to catch your breath and grab some food. If you’d rather bring your own snacks, you can picnic in the designated green areas and watch the sea otters — the city’s unofficial mascot — play in the waters below.
In the center of town, you’ll find Old Monterey. Restored brick and adobe buildings from the city’s Spanish and Mexican periods line a two-mile stretch known as the Path of HIstory. The small Monterey State Historic Park serves as the anchor for this district with adobe buildings and cactus gardens, and its Pacific House Museum exhibits artifacts from Indigenous, Mexican, and Spanish communities who have impacted the city. You’ll find houses of important literary and artistic figures in Old Monterey, as well as breweries, cafes tucked inside historical buildings with inviting back gardens, upscale boutiques, and candle lit fine-dining restaurants serving sustainably-caught seafood.
Monterey State Beach
This protected beach lies inside the boundaries of a state park shared with the neighboring town of Seaside, and its sand dunes topped with native scrub grasses, succulents, and wildflowers make it a stand-out in the peninsula. Beachcombers arrive early to lay their claim to a wealth of shells, and swimming, surfing, kayaking, and kite-flying are popular throughout the day. Rocky outcrops on the beach’s far side shelter a small series of tide pools teeming with wildlife like sea stars and sea cucumbers. Dogs are welcome, but only on the south side of the beach.