California Central Coast Activities

Art

Kayak

Birding

Libraries

Diving

Lighthouses

Events

Museums

Farms

Recreation

Galleries

Wildlife

History

Wine Tasting

Hot Springs

Annual Events

 

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Art

Pacific Grove Art Center

Four large galleries, with good showings of local artists.

568 Lighthouse Avenue. PG 375.2208 http://www.pgartcenter.org/

Open Wed-Sat 12-5, Sun 1-4

Birding

Elkhorn Slough Safari

Nature Boat Tours Locally owned and operated. Two hour cruises with a naturalist guide. Good photography opportunities. Wildlife appreciation classes

Harbor District parking lot - Moss Landing 633.5555


         
         

Pacific Rim Birding Company

Birding for whole family, and all levels of birders. 400+ species possible in five distinct habitats. Guided half, or full day nature tours. Family tours available. Walking or kayaking tours of Elkhorn Slough (most prolific sighting location in U.S.) Point Lobos, Big Sur and Molera trips.

P.O. Box 692 Moss Landing, CA 632-2473 rimbirding@aol.com

Crespi Pond

Pacific Grove Next to Ocean View Blvd. by the Golf Course in front of the Lighthouse

Andrew Molera State Park

Lagoon at mouth of Big Sur River

Ventana Wilderness Society operates an Ornithology Lab here - Bird walks, call Big Sur Station 831 667 2315

Carmel River

Natural Bridges State Park

Contemplation

New Camadoli Hermitage

Benedictine Order, no talking, exquisite views, great hiking options, good meals, suggested $45 & $55 a day. Must reserve in advance - usually about 3 months, and convince the Brothers you are going there for a spiritually based reason, as in to contemplate.

Online at: www.contemplation.com

Diving

Cold, fantastic dives. Point Lobos is exceptional for every skill level. Pacific Grove, Big Sur and Monterey have great dive sites, too. There are more underwater parks - marine life ecological reserves in this region than anywhere else on the western U.S. coast.

Aquarius Dive Shop

Monterey

2040 Del Monte Avenue 375-1933, and at 32 Cannery Row 375-6605

Bamboo Reef

Monterey

614 Lighthouse Avenue 372-1685

Mitchell Scuba College

http://www.mitchellscuba.com

Monterey Bay Dive Center

Monterey

225 Cannery Row 656-0454 and, 598 Foam St. 655-1818

Otter Cove Ocean Sports

Monterey

32 Cannery Row 647-0147

Dive Monterey

Monterey

598 Foam St. 655.3483

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Big Sur

Farms

Pick Your Own

Gizdich Ranch

When in season, pick strawberries, olallieberries, raspberries and apples. Farm park for kids. Fresh apple juice is pressed every Saturday

Pick-your-own field open daily 8 am to 5 pm, May through July. Pick your own Apple Orchard open September. Ranch open daily 9 am to 5 pm, April though December. Open weekends, 9 am to 5 pm, Jan. through Mar.

55 Peckham Road Watsonville 722- 1056

Organic

Webb's Organic Farm

Twelve varieties of apples and many fruits and vegetables. 5 varieties of potatoes. Nuts and flowers. Open Mon thru Sat. 8 am to 5 pm

5381 Old San Jose Road Soquel 475.1020

Bounty of the Valley

Organics sold Wed thru Mon 10-6 - Apr - Dec

660 Canal St. King City

385.1984

Sustainable Farming

UC Santa Cruz Center for Argroecology and Sustainable Food Systems

Bay and High Streets, Santa Cruz

459.4140

Organic fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers are sold Noon-6 Tues and Fri, May-Dec Docent led tours Thurs noon & Sun 2 pm, and by appointment

Galleries

History

Boronda History Center

Center includes Boronda adobe built in 1844, Lagunita schoolhouse built in 1848, and Robert B. Johnston Archival Vault, a significant research facility. Open Monday thru Friday 9 am to 3 pm.

333 Boronda Road Salinas

757.8085

Carmel Mission Basilica and Museum

Built in 1771 (an original mission was built in Monterey at the Presidio was abandoned) Father Junipero Serra's California headquarters, and his sarcophagus.

3080 Rio Road

624.3600

Casa Serrano

1845 Adobe, antique furniture and historical artifacts Open weekends 2 pm to 4 pm

412 Pacific St

372.2608

Mission San Antonio de Padua

This was the largest, and most industrious of all California missions. It is also the best restored, showing most of the functions of the enterprise, tannery, water-powered gristmill, and museum. The third mission, built in 1771, has unique bell tower, made with burnt bricks.

Mission Road Jolon - in Fort Hunter Liggett

385-4478

Mission Santa Cruz

425.5849

Mission Nuestra Señora de la Soledad

36641 Fort Romie Road (off Arroyo Seco Road) Soledad

678.2586

Monterey State Historic Park

Old Monterey, by the Wharf

649.7118

43 buildings, many old adobes, 1795 Royal Presidio Chapel. Colton Hall, where California constitution written 1849.

Stevenson House, where author stayed in 1879. "Path of History" walking tour map available at 20 Custom House Plaza, and Cooper-Molera Adobe, 525 Polk St.

Point Pinos Lighthouse

Longest continually operating lighthouse on West Coast. Historically preserved home.

Asilomar Avenue Pacific Grove

San Juan Bautista Historical Park

Largest of California missions founded in 1797. Nice gardens. State Historic Park on the Mission square. 19th Century buildings preserved. Antique carriages, black smithy. Self guided walking tour of historic area. Open daily 10 am to 4:30 pm

Steinbeck House

Childhood home of John Steinbeck. Restored and appointed with original furniture, and photos. Now a restaurant. Two lunch sittings daily. Home open for touring.

132 Central Ave.

Salinas

424.2735

Tor House and Hawk Tower

Home built by Poet Robinson Jeffers. Original furnishings, memorabilia. Tours by reservation Fri and Sat hourly 10-3

26304 Ocean View Ave. Carmel

624.1813

Wilder Ranch

Ranch and History Tours Saturdays and Sundays 1 pm Guided turn-of-the-century walks. Victorian home, demonstration of the Pelton driven farm equipment, historical buildings. 11 to 3 Saturdays and Sundays tours of the ranch complex - Dairy ranching, blacksmithing, ranch baking and Victorial crafts

426.0505

Local History Online

Visit the California State University Monterey Bay Internet history site: http://www.monterey.edu/other-sites/history/ You can learn a lot, and plan a history oriented visit to this history-rich area.

Hot Springs

Esalen

Private, world famous, psyche healing, cliff side tubs

667.3000

Paraiso

In the Santa Lucia eastern foothills, this is a magical spot. Built by Southern Pacific as a resort destination a hundred years ago, it has seen better days. It is a little campy now. But the setting is truly beautiful, and the waters are magnificent. Cabins, a camp ground and a snack bar. Day use includes a big selection of pools and picturesque picnic area.

678.2882

Tassajara

Buddhist monastery. Public admitted only brief periods. Operated by Zen Center, San Francisco,

415.431.3771

Sykes Hot Springs

Hike in 10 miles to hot pools in the forest. No commercial development. Rustic campsites. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Permit required for camping.

667.2315

Kayaking

Kayaks are available to rent for paddling in sloughs, bays and in the ocean at Big Sur. Much of the greatness of the National Marine Sanctuary is uniquely accessed by this exciting recreation.

Monterey Bay Kayaks 693 Del Monte Avenue Monterey

373-5357

Elkhorn Slough Kayak Connection 2370 Hwy 1 Moss Landing

724-5692

A B Seas Kayaks 32 Cannery Row, at Coast Guard Pier, Monterey

647-0147

Elkhorn Slough Safari

Adventures by the Sea 299 Cannery Row Monterey

372.1807

Kayak Connection

Located at the water in Moss Landing and Santa Cruz Individual rentals, tours for all skill levels, paddling with mother gray whales and their calves, sunset paddles among otters, seals, herons and pelicans, and some strenuous open sea paddles for the kayaking adventurer.

Libraries

  Henry Miller Memorial Library

http://henrymiller.org

667.2574

One mile south of Ventana Inn in a Redwood cove near Hwy One. Big Sur. Good collections. Miller memorabilia. Spectacular yet cozy setting. A rare place that is more than a literary place, it is a community happening.

Open Thurs thru Sunday, 11 to 6

John Steinbeck Library     

Great collection of memorabilia, photos, oral histories, clippings, personal momentous, hand written manuscripts, first editions.

Open Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 10 am to 9 pm 350 Lincoln Ave Salinas Thurs, Fri and Sat 10 am to 6 pm Archives open by reservation.

758.7311

Lighthouses
               Point Pinos Light House   Asilomar Ave off Ocean View Blvd.     Pacific Grove
           1855  Longest continually operating lighthouse on American west coast.  
              Civil War era antiques
              Self-guided tours Thurs, Fri and Sunday, 1 pm to 4 pm
              Robert Louis Stevenson visited the lighthouse keeper in 1879.  He wrote about a walk through 
              the woods from Monterey, and the hospitality of the keeper and his model ships, paintings,
              and his piano playing.  The museum has records of early shipwrecks. 
     Point Sur State Historic Park  Hwy One, north of Molera State Park
370 ft. high block of lava on the beach, one mile south of Little Sur River, 
                   19 miles south of Carmel
A big, cold. lonely citadel, this rock is almost an island.  
                           A sandbar connects it to the mainland.
Big Sur coast has been fertile for shipwrecks, more than a thousand have happened.  

Docent tours, 2.5 hours long, every Sat;. 10 am and 2 pm, and Sunday at 10 am A cliff side walk up.

Good Cormorant viewing. $5 admission, children $3 and $2. Weather unpredictable.

Wear warm clothing, walking shoes.  Two flights of stairs, one with 65 steps.  1/2 mile walk.  

No pets.

648.3116

625.4419

Museums
     Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History    831.648.3119      165 Forest Avenue (at Central Ave.)
          Exhibit of migratory Monarch butterfly.  Displays for lifestyle of regional Indians.
          Touch tide pools for children.  Native plant garden.
     Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum    King City   385.8020 
          San Lorenzo Regional Park     1160 Broadway, near Hwy 101
          Many farming antiques, and many artifacts from early Salinas Valley    Open everyday 10-4
     Center for Photographic Art     
          Carmel  625.5181   Sunset Cultural Center    In Offices where Ansel Adams worked
          Exhibits. Workshops.  Tues through Sunday   1 pm to 5 pm
     Monterey Peninsula Museum of Art    559 Pacific Street    372.7591
           American and Asian art, photography, graphics, international folk and ethnic art.  
          Permanent exhibits by regional artists.
           Open Wed - Sat  11 am to 5 pm   Sunday 1 pm to 4 pm
     Maritime Museum of Monterey     375.2553    Stanton Center   5 Custom House Plaza next to 
          Fisherman's Wharf    Sardine, whaling, and Ohlone Indian exhibits, plus thousands of items, 
           books and photographs.  Open daily, 10 am to 5 pm 
     Casa Serrano    412 Pacific Street  Monterey    372.2608
          1845 Adobe    Antiques and historical items    Open Sat and Sun   2 pm to 4 pm
     National Steinbeck Center (see Pelican page)

Recreation
     Back packing.  Horse back riding.
           Ventana Wilderness Outfitters and Guides
                  A working ranch at the edge of Los Padres National Forest and Ventana Wilderness, 
                  and 500 miles of trails.  The Nason family are descendants of Esselen Indians 
                  and pioneer Big Sur families, and are extraordinarily knowledgeable of the area.  
                 They conduct horse pack in camping trips filled with cultural, flora and fauna education. 
                 Trips into the most remote
                  and spectacular areas of Santa Lucia mountains.  Or, you can stay at the ranch, 
                  camp in a teepee in an alpine meadow and hike on your own.  Also, short horse back trips
                  out of Carmel Valley are available.  
                           Ventana Wilderness Ranch & Expeditions   
                                  1780 Prescott Avenue   Monterey, CA  93940      Tel: 831-372-4974
            or,  38655 Tassajara Road        Carmel Valley, CA  93924    Tel: 408.659.2153 
      
Santa Lucia Outfitters
831 444 7100
         Holman Ranch
               Carmel Valley   659-6054.  Hilly 400 acre ranch, 
                          guided rides up to great views of the Valley
                $30 per hr.  $50 for two hrs.   Longer trips available for experienced riders
         
        Pebble Beach Trail Rides - rides in the Del Monte Forest, coast trails, sand dunes
              and Spyglass Hill fairways
             4 Beach trail guided rides daily, 10am, 12 noon, 2 pm and 3:30 pm
             group and private riding lessons  $45 regularly scheduled rides    $60 -90 private rides
             Arranged rides for picnic, business functions, brunch excursions
             Pebble Beach Equestrian Center    Portola Rd $ Alva Lane   Pebble Beach, CA  93953  624-2756
            Molera Horseback Tours, at Molera State Park, Hwy 1   625-5486    prices begin at $25
    
      Sailing
          Olympus Sailing Charters   647-1957

 Shakespeare and other Live Theater

      Forest in Carmel
  
      State Parks
         Garrapata  624.4909  10 miles south of Carmel   Four miles of coastline between 
               Point Lobos and Molera State Park    Nearly 3,000 acres  Coastal Bluffs    Canyons
               Redwoods to Cactus   Hiking trails.
       Andrew Molera   667.2315    Pelican Page
       Big Basin
         Pfeiffer-Big Sur  667.2315  Along the Big Sur River   26 miles south of Carmel 
               Pfeiffer Falls Hike   Nature Trail    Camping
               Lodge and cabins, 667.2171    Access to Ventana Wilderness
         Landels-Hill Big Creek Reserve
              4,000 acres managed by Nature Conservancy, Save-the-redwoods League, 
                    & University of California
              Tel: 415.777.0541  for groups educational expeditions  
         Jack's Peak County Park   755.4895  Up, behind San Juan Bautista  Scenic meadows and forests 
                Highest point in Monterey Peninsula.  Nature trail.  Picnic area
          Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park  667.2315  38 miles south of Carmel  McWay Falls
               3,500 acres, including a big underwater park, great dive site  
         Marina State Beach   384.7695   170 acres of beach and dunes
         Natural Bridges State Park
         Pinnacles National Monument  389.4485   A rocky wonderland of spirals and nooks.  Wildflowers.  
               Hiking Trails   Good Visitors Center   Camping    
               Enter from the east side (Hwy 101 to 146)   Check Pelican Page for driving instructions.
         

Skates and Surfboard Rental
          Adventures by the Sea     299 Cannery Row       Monterey  372.1807
          On the Beach Surf Shop     693 Lighthouse Ave     Monterey 646.9283
          Sunshine Surf and Sport      443 Lighthouse Ave     Monterey    375.5015
     
Wildlife
     Butterfly Habitats
            Natural Bridges State Park  Santa Cruz   
            Monarch Grove Sanctuary  and Deer Habitat     Pacific Grove    Butterfly Trees Oct.-Feb
            Washington Park     Monterey Pine Forest      Butterfly Trees   Pacific Grove
               
     Elephant Seals see Pelican page: San Simeon and Piedras Blancas
            Piedras Blancas   1.5 mi. south of Lighthouse     8.5 mi. north of Cambria  
     Sea Otter Preserve
           South from Partington Point
     
Wine Tasting
  Salinas Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands
     Chalone Vineyard  In the western Gabilan mountains, next to the Pinnacles.   
          Stonewall Canyon Road (Hwy 146) Soledad 678.1717
          One of California's greatest wineries.  Julia Child is a stockholder.  
          Weekends 11:30 am to 5 pm, or call to visit during week
     Cloninger Cellars   Dave Paige, wine master.  675.9463    1645 River Road   Salinas
          Mon-Thur 11 to 4, Fri-Sun 11 to 5    
     The Monterey Vineyard
     Paraiso Springs Vineyards & Cobblestone  38060 Paraiso Springs Road   Soledad   678.0300 
          Exceptional Pinot Noir  Open 12-4, Sat and Sun 11-5  
     Jekel Vineyards  40155 Walnut Ave   Greenfield   674.5522  Johannesburg Riesling,  
             Open 11-4 daily
     Smith and Hook  37700 Foothill Road   Soledad    678.2132   Santa Lucia Highlands,
            above Soledad Mission
          New hospitality center.  Exquisite Cabernet Sauvignon.  Merlot   Open  11-4 daily   
     Scheid Vineyards  1972 Hobson Avenue   Greenfield   386.0316   Open daily 11-6
  Carmel Valley
     Chateau Julien Wine Estate   A bit of Europe in the Valley.  8940 Carmel Valley Road  Carmel   
             www.chateaujulien.com   831.9463 Mon-Fri 8:30 5, Sat and Sun 11 to 5
     Durney Vineyards  Organically grown grapes, fed by underground springs.  
          13746 Center St.  Carmel Valley    659.6220     Cabernet Sauvignon  Chardonnay   Merlot   
          Pinot Noir  Chenin Blanc and Late Harvest Riesling    Mon-Fri 10-4, Sat and Sun 11-5   
     River Ranch Vineyards  19 East Carmel Valley Road    Carmel Valley   659.1525    
   Monterey
     Ventana Vineyards  Innovative.  Highly awarded.  Historic tasting room.  372.7415
           Old Stone House  2999 Monterey-Salinas Hwy (68)   Monterey    Open 11-5 daily
     Santa Cruz Mountains
          Organic Wine Works   Empire Grade Road, Felton  Open Daily  Award winning wines that
          are made with no added sulfites.  Very picturesque setting, nostalgic tasting room      PelicanNetwork Page

Annual Events

May

Pelicans return from Baja

The Great Monterey Squid Festival

Memorial Day Weekend

649.6544

Monterey County Artists Studio Tour

625.4175

Artichoke Festival

May 20-21 Castroville

June

Early Days in San Juan

Celebrates founding of San Juan Bautista Costumed docents, 1860s dance,

623.4526

Outdoor Summer Art Festival

Carmel

Local artists

624.3996

Monterey's Birthday

Parade and booths

Historic Alvarado Street

655.8070

Monterey Bay Theaterfest

Arts and crafts fair, summer series of free performances. Fairy tale theater, comic opera, Shakespeare, musicians

649.0340

Monterey County Strawberry Festival

Laguna Seca

663.4166

Monterey Bay Blues Festival

Fairgrounds

394-2652

July

Bach Festival July and August

Carmel

Daily concerts, recitals and lectures at the Sunset Cultural Center, and at the Carmel Mission. Sells out early.

624.1521

August

Antique and Collectible Show

San Juan Bautista

623.2454

Carmel Valley Fiesta

659.4000

Monterey Scottish Festival & Highland Games

649.1770

September

Greenfield Broccoli Festival

674.3222

Santa Rosalia Festival

Monterey

Italian celebration, blessing the fishing fleet, food, procession down Main Street to Custom House Plaza

373.2628

Festival del Pueblo de Monterey

Indian celebration

Monterey

375.0095

Estuaries Day

Nature activities

Elkhorn Slough

728.2822

Begonia Festiva

Capitola Village

475.6522

Two weeks. Begonia covered floats parade down the San Lorenzo River

California All-Indian Market

San Juan Bautista

623.2379

Celebrating native tribes. Artists, food, dancers, fashion

Monterey Jazz Festival

Fairgrounds

Oldest continuous jazz festival. Historic and sublime

373.3366

October

River Inn Oktoberfest

Arts, crafts, German food and beer. Benefits Beacon House

Big Sur

625.5255

Tor House Festival

Carmel

Butterfly Parade

Children parade in butterfly costumes to celebrate the annual return of the Monarch

Pacific Grove

646.6520

Victorian Home Tour

Restored Victorians

Pacific Grove

373.3304

Jade Festival

Art, crafts, gems, local projects. Biggest gathering of jade artists

Gorda, Big Sur

805.927.5574

November

Robert Louis Stevenson's "Unbirthday"

Celebrate the birth of the great author. It's called an "un" birthday, because he gave hi

s away to a local youngster who felt she didn't have one because she was born on Christmas day.

649.7118

December

Festival of Trees

Handcrafting ornaments to decorate trees at Museum of Art

Monterey

372.5477

Christmas in the Adobes

Historic costumes, tours of old Monterey homes

Monterey

649.7118

Christmas at the Inns

Open House at the Vistorian B & Bs decorated for the holidays

Pacific Grove

373.3304

La Posada

Traditional candlelight Christmas parade with carolers. Piñata party.

Monterey

646.3866

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