Monterey (pop. 33,000) is located on the Monterey Peninsula in the southernmost curve of Monterey Bay. Monterey is approximately 120 miles south of San Francisco and 330 miles north of Los Angeles. Also located on the Monterey Peninsula are the communities of Carmel (pop. 4,500) and Pacific Grove (pop. 17,000). Surrounding Monterey are Monterey Bay to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west, Carmel Bay to the south, and the Salinas Valley to the east. The scenic Big Sur coastline is 30 miles south of Monterey, and the city of Santa Cruz (pop. 49,000) with its famous Beach Boardwalk is 40 miles to the north.
The Monterey Peninsula enjoys a mild coastal weather pattern. The average daily temperatures during summer and winter are 60 degrees and 53 degrees. In summer, fog is prevalent; in spring and fall, crystal clear days are the norm. The Peninsula enjoys moderately low rainfall, with an average of 18.7 inches per year. The "rainy season" occurs between November and April. In February, the average maximum and minimum temperatures are 61 degrees and 45 degrees, and the average rainfall is 2.7 inches.
Monterey was founded in 1770 by Franciscan priest Junípero Serra and Spanish governor Gaspar de Portolá. Monterey served as California's first capital under Spanish, Mexican, and American flags and hosted California's first constitutional convention in the city's historic Colton Hall, where on October 13, 1849, the state constitution was signed. The fishing industry was the original anchor of the area's economy, concentrated on whaling. By the 1880s, tourism took economic precedence. Sardine harvesting led to the birth of Monterey's Cannery Row in the 1920s, and during the 1930's and 40's, Monterey became the center of a thriving fishing industry. After the collapse of the sardine industry, the peninsula's natural beauty restored tourism to the economic forefront. Today a smaller commercial fishing fleet and industry continues to operate. Due to its strategic location, Monterey has historically been a key military outpost. While military needs have changed, the presence of the Naval Postgraduate School and Defense Language Institute in Monterey continues this legacy of military tradition. Monterey's historic character, natural beauty, and unique attractions have enabled it to become a quality residential community and one of the premier tourist destinations in the United States.
Cannery Row is an historic area of Monterey, located on Monterey Bay between the Coast Guard wharf and the Pacific Grove border. Cannery Row was the heart of a thriving sardine industry in Monterey during the 1920s and 1930s. Today, it is a popular visitor area that includes the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, galleries, shops, wine-tasting rooms, a factory outlet center, specialty stores, restaurants, hotels, and inns.
Monterey Bay Aquarium is housed in Cannery Row's first cannery. This world-class aquarium, focusing on the mysteries and wonders of Monterey Bay, contains more than 6,500 live creatures, including a towering three-story kelp forest, hands-on touch pools, a walk-through aviary, and the ever popular exhibit of playful sea otters. The new Outer Bay Wing which opened in March 1996 has increased the exhibit area by 50 percent. The Outer Bay Wing features a million-gallon tank containing a depiction of the open sea. (886 Cannery Row, 10:00 AM 6:00 PM, admission $11.75, 408-648-4888)
Fisherman's Wharf is located on Monterey Bay in the historic center of Monterey, off of Del Monte Ave. Fisherman's Wharf reaches out into Monterey Harbor and is lined with seafood restaurants, fish markets, art galleries, specialty shops, and a theater. Charter and tour companies offer fishing, diving, sight-seeing, and whale watching excursions. Just across from the entrance to Fisherman's Wharf is the Custom House, a historic landmark.
Monterey State Historic Park, adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf, is a seven-acre site that preserves the historical and architectural heritage of old Monterey. Historic sites include Custom House (the oldest government building in California), Cooper-Molera Adobe (the restored Victorian home of a Yankee sea captain), First Theater of California, Larkin House, Pacific House, and Stevenson House. Guided walking tours are offered several times each day from the Visitor Center. (20 Custom House Plaza, 10:00 AM 4:00 PM, admission $5.00, 408-649-7173 or 408-649-7118)
Maritime Museum of Monterey, adjacent to Fisherman's Wharf, contains the collections of seaman Allen Knight, including the nearly 10,000-pound Fresnel lens of Point Sur Lighthouse, navigational instruments, ship models, chronicles, photos, and charts. A 20-minute film of the region's history is presented periodically. (5 Custom House Plaza, 10:00 AM 5:00 PM, admission $5.00, 408-373-2469)
Monterey's Path of History is a two-mile walking tour through the historic downtown area which passes by local gardens, adobes, and other historic sites. The path is marked with bronze tiles set into the sidewalk. The Maritime Museum of Monterey serves as the gateway to the Path of History. Maps are available at the museum and from both the Monterey Peninsula Visitors & Convention Bureau and the Monterey Visitors Center (see below). Guided tours are conducted daily from the Monterey State Historic Park Visitor Center.
17-Mile Drive is a scenic drive from Pacific Grove to Carmel which winds along the Pacific coastline and through pine forests. Points of interest include Seal Rock, Cypress Point, and Lone Cypress. The route offers many opportunities for scenic coastline views and passes by the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and the residential area of Pebble Beach. (toll fee $6.50, 408-625-8426 or 408-624-6669)
Carmel is a village in a forest setting located above a breathtaking white-sand beach five miles south of Monterey. With its winding, tree-lined streets, over 50 inns, 60 restaurants, and hundreds of unique boutiques and shops, Carmel is often likened to a quaint, European village. Once a haven for artists, Carmel reflects its artistic heritage in the more than 70 art galleries that call this charming village home.
Pebble Beach is on the southern tip of the Monterey Peninsula, due west of Monterey and due north of Carmel. Pebble Beach, synonymous with "golf" in most people's minds, is home to seven spectacular public and private golf courses. This gated community is situated in the Del Monte Forest and is bordered on the south by the 17-Mile Drive. Pebble Beach boasts fabulous coastal views, fabulous homes, and fabulous resorts.
Point Lobos State Reserve, 2 miles south of Carmel on Highway 1, covers 1,300 acres of rugged seacoast. There are many walking trails along the cliffs. The reserve contains plants specially adapted to the coastal climate, such as the Monterey cypress, and a variety of wildlife, including deer. Harbor seals, gray whales, and California sea otters frequent the area. Numerous sea birds, including cormorants and pelicans, nest along the coast. (9:00 AM 5:00 PM, admission $6.00 per vehicle, 408-624-4909)
Big Sur is a 90-mile stretch of coastline that begins in Monterey County a few miles south of Carmel and ends in San Luis Obispo County at San Simeon (Hearst Castle). Big Sur is best known for its spectacular beauty. The two-lane Highway 1 that winds through Big Sur is California's first scenic highway. Turnouts offer ample opportunity to stop and take in the natural grandeur of Big Sur.
Information about airlines serving the Monterey Peninsula Airport, rental car companies located at the airport, driving times to Monterey from nearby large cities, and specific directions to the Embassy Suites can be found under Conference Information.
For additional visitor information about Monterey and the surrounding area, contact the Monterey Peninsula Visitors & Convention Bureau or visit the Monterey Visitors Center:
|Monterey Peninsula Visitors & Convention Bureau|
|P.O. Box 1770|
|380 Alvarado St.|
|Monterey, CA 93942|
|Hours: 8:30 AM 5:00 PM (Mon Fri)|
|408-649-1770 (24-hour information)|
|Monterey Visitors Center|
|Lake El Estero at Franklin St. and Camino El Estero|
|Hours: 9:00 AM 5:00 PM (Mon Sat), 10:00 AM 4:00 PM (Sun)|
There are also several web sites which have information about Monterey:
City.Net - Monterey
City of Monterey