Monterey is the city of the future
with a past.

California’s first city has an uncommonly rich cultural heritage. Many nationalities have mixed in colorful traditions, outlooks, and energies to make a rich human mosaic in this beautiful setting.

Now, Monterey looks to the future on the vanguard of ocean conservation.

It’s easy to picture Steinbeck characters around the waterfront in old Monterey. Danny and the boys in Tortilla Flats conniving a scheme, cleverly disguised as a humanitarian mission … Mack keeping everything in order on the Row .. Doc emerging from a tide pool with a bucket of specimens … Surely, that must be Suzy …

Sitting in the Plaza, waiting for Fanny to get divorced, and writing as always, there’s Robert Louis Stevenson asking locals where he can find an adventure.







Gateway to Monterey Bay


California Central Coast


Founded by the Spaniards in 1602, and settled by the intrepid Father Serra and Gaspar Portola in 1770, Monterey has an old town atmosphere, and a sea port flavor.

Monterey reigned as Mexico’s capital of California until Fremont and the marauding Americans arrived in mass. The Americans moved the California capital, but Monterey prospered as a fishing and whaling port.

Toward the end of the 19th Century, because of the extreme beauty of Monterey Bay and its environment, tourism became the main industry. It became one of the first important eco travel destinations in the West.

Japanese, Chinese, Italian, Scandinavian and Portuguese immigrants settled settled here to harvest the sea. In the 1920s there was a Sardine rush, and the town became industrial again.

Around 25 years later the Sardine fishery waned and tourism once again became Monterey’s primary business. Late in 1998, sardines returned in large numbers, indicating a new fishing era was coming.

Puffins frolic in mating ritual next to the pier.

An ethnic atmosphere prevails in Monterey. It is built into the history, and the quilting of the social tableau.

Chinese created the squid fishing business. Japanese started the abalone industry. Sicilians made Monterey the great fishing port. Norwegians created the canneries.

Add to that the Mexican-Spanish-Indian roots, and the many ethnicities that spurred the agricultural boom that used Monterey as its port, and there is great flavor.

Marlon Brando directed and stared in One Eyed Jacks – one of many clasic films made in picturesque Monterey

Monterey harbor is a favorite for tall ships. Seen here, the Endeavor replica

The pier is flavorful piece of early Californiana. It’s funky and reeks of authenticity. Several superb seafood restaurants are on the pier, open window over-the-counter smoked fish and crab cocktail shops, plenty of sublime clam chowder, and plenty of boats to hire for whale watching. Today, Cannery Row is a tourist zone.

Twelve community organizations dedicated to marine education participated in Whalefest 2011

Sea Otter in Monterey Bay. Photo by Leora Worthington

Japanese fishermen cabins on Cannery Row – Monterey is keen on heritage preservation

Pelican Network Sites for Monterey Bay Area

Big Sur EcoGuide

Back Country


Carmel Valley


Central Coast Guide

Central Coast Map

Elkhorn Slough

Events Calendar

Marine Sanctuary

Monarch Butterfly

Monterey Peninsula Gateway


Monterey Bay Aquarium

Pacific Grove

Pebble Beach

Point Lobos

San Juan Bautista

San Simeon

Santa Cruz

Steinbeck Center

Ventana Wilderness

Volunteer Opportunities

There’s another pier, locals call it the Commercial wharf. At the end are authentic working fish processors. If you come to Monterey to eat, an honorable objective, a worthy destination is the Sand Bar Inn on the Commercial wharf. You have to descend stairs to get in, and then you are right on water, with a piano, great cioppino, outrageous calamari, excellent wines, and good vantages for watching seabirds and otters. 
Wildlife Rules in Monterey.

With complete aplomb, this seal hauls out in the no parking zone by the wharf next to Cannery Row.

It is customary to see sea otters in the in this part of the bay… mothers teaching their new born how to feed, and roll in kelp for protection.

Watercorlor by Bert Hull c.1935
The wharf is real. People from all over the world come to experience it. Europeans are particularly fond of smoked salmon right off the grill, served with bagel and cream cheese. Sometimes dill, chives or capers are added. Seems like all the clam chowder served on the wharf, out of windows, or in store front, open air counters, is exceptionally good.
Black-crowned Night Heron
The Pier
Hiking paths along mid-Bay
Salmon smoking on the pier

Impromptu kite festivals occur frequently at North Monterey beaches.

Well underway is a 29 mile hiking and biking path along the bay front from Castroville to Point Lobos – This will be an exemplary accomplishment – the result of local environmental leadership, the Coastal Conservancy, Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District and all the local governments.

Monterey Bay dune, a moving feast of ecology

Monterey Bay Aquarium -a wonderful achievement by the Packard family -is redesigning the future of Monterey as a serious center of conservation

The Old Monterey Boat Works is on vintage Steinbeck and Ricketts turf – between the Hopkins Marine Lab and Cannery Row

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