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Things to do in  Monterey & Carmel

Welcome to Monterey & Carmel

Marine life, literary legends, and gorgeous coastal scenery make Monterey an essential California Central Coast destination. Perched on the edge of a marine reserve, the Monterey Bay aquarium offers visitors an up-close glimpse at Pacific sea creatures, while nearby Cannery Row boasts tourist-friendly shops and eateries along a street immortalized by writer John Steinbeck. Another top thing to do in Monterey is travel along the rocky, windswept coast and world-famous golf links of the stunning 17-Mile Drive, which connects the city to the upscale enclave of Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its boutiques and fine dining.

Top 15 attractions in Monterey & Carmel

#1
Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf

Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf

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Set on California’s central coast, Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf is famous for its ocean views, resident sea lions and sea otters, and sourdough bowls of clam chowder. Souvenir shops, candy stores, street performers, and seafood restaurants line the seafront and, nearby, you can watch as trawlers unload the day’s catch at Fisherman’s Wharf II.More
#2
17-Mile Drive

17-Mile Drive

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California’s 17-Mile Drive, said to be one of the world’s most scenic, is an essential Central Coast experience. Looping around the Monterey Peninsula, the private toll road offers stellar views of Monterey Bay and passes attractions such as the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, the Del Monte Forest, and the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.More
#3
Cannery Row

Cannery Row

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Cannery Row is a proudly tourist-friendly strip running along the atmospheric Monterey waterfront. Once home to a series of bustling commercial sardine canneries, the famous waterfront street changed its name of Ocean View Avenue to its longtime nickname, Cannery Row, in 1958 to honor the 1945 John Steinbeck novel of the same name.More
#4
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium

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One of the top aquariums in the US with a privileged location on California’s Pacific Coast, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to hundreds of marine animals and known for its dedication to ocean conservation. Highlights include some 200 exhibits and galleries featuring more than 600 species of marine mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and invertebrates.More
#5
Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

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Hearst Castle, perched along California’s Central Coast, is the ostentatious creation of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan. This 90,000-square-foot (8,361-square-meter) estate comprises 165 rooms and 127 acres (51.4 hectares) of gardens, terraces, pools, and walkways—all now open to the gawking public.More
#6
Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Beach

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Located on Monterey Peninsula, Asilomar State Beach is scenic stretch of sandy coastline offering unparalleled Pacific views. Visitors enjoy the pedestrian Coast Trail, a dog-friendly beach, and self-guided walking tours. This mile-long beach is a local favorite for surfing, and it's a top spot for tide pooling.More
#7
Sunset Cultural Center

Sunset Cultural Center

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For live performances, arts events, and cultural happenings on the Central Coast, Carmel's Sunset Cultural Center is a premier destination. The building features two stages and gallery space, and hosts events throughout the year. From comedy and rock to dance and theater, the diverse programming offers something for everyone.More
#8
Lovers Point Park

Lovers Point Park

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Located in Pacific Grove, Lovers Point Park is a beautifully landscaped community park offering ocean views and extensive amenities. Popular with locals and visitors alike, the park and adjacent beach are ideal for a variety of activities, including sunbathing, picnicking, swimming, surfing, kayaking, fishing, beach volleyball and more.More
#9
Dennis the Menace Park

Dennis the Menace Park

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Slides, a climbing wall, a maze, and other features invite active play at this Monterey landmark. The park was designed by Hank Ketcham, the creator of the mischievous character the playground is named for. While the 1924 steam train that kids once scrambled over is now fenced off, there’s still plenty of fun to be had here.More
#10
Point Pinos Lighthouse

Point Pinos Lighthouse

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Lighting the way for sailors for more than 150 years, Point Pinos Lighthouse is tucked into the picturesque shoreline of the Monterey Peninsula. The lighthouse still operates today, and its beacon reaches 17 miles out to sea. Visit to take in the scenic location, ocean views, and beautiful lantern room, complete with original lens.More
#11
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

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Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, on California’s Central Coast, comprises dramatic headlands, hidden coves, and scenic lookouts, plus 5 miles (8 kilometers) of trails and a rocky coastline full of tide pools. Explore the cultural history museum and spot wildlife, including sea lions, harbor seals, herons, and, in winter, migrating whales.More
#12
Carmel Mission

Carmel Mission

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Part church, part museum, the Carmel Mission is a US National Historic Landmark in the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. It draws visitors who are interested in Spanish colonial history and architecture, religious pilgrims who come to worship, and those those who simply stop by while passing through Carmel.More
#13
Custom House Plaza

Custom House Plaza

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Located in the heart of Monterey, Custom House Plaza is rich in history. It is named after the Spanish Colonial–style adobe Custom House, California’s oldest government building. The plaza is part of the Monterey Old Town Historic District, which is itself a part of Monterey State Historic Park and includes several other adobe structures.More
#14
Big Sur

Big Sur

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Big Sur, a stunning 71-mile (114-kilometer) stretch of California’s Central Coast, boasts epic views of the mighty Pacific and jagged, dramatic coastline. Running from the Carmel Highlands to San Simeon, the unincorporated area is very lightly populated—in fact it’s the longest stretch of undeveloped coastline in the lower United States.More
#15
Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach

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The community of Pebble Beach, California, is best known for the Pebble Beach Golf Links and other high-end golf courses along the Pacific Coast between the towns of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s certainly a golfer’s heaven, but it also draws visitors for its coastal scenery and fine restaurants and hotels.More

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Top activities in Monterey & Carmel

Electric Scooter Rental - Scenic Tour
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Monterey Half-Day Electric Scooter Rental
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All about Monterey & Carmel

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
PDT (UTC -8)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
English
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