A Californian town noted for it’s literary heritage and Mexican heritage as well as a beautifully rugged Pacific coastline, Monterey is an atypical Californian attraction, a far cry from the sun-drenched beaches you might pick for a typical summer blow out, but deeper and more cultural in its outlook.
Despite lacking that take-your-breath-away beach, some of the most enticing Monterey sites are still the natural ones. Kayaking, for example, is perhaps the ultimate way to view the rock-strewn coastline, while several companies run whale watching tours (seasonal – the best time to go is through the winter period), during which you can even spot the humungous Grey Whale. Scuba diving amongst the underwater kelp forests – home to all sorts of subtly sheltered sea life – and hang gliding or parasailing will keep the adventure sports enthusiasts happy, too.
On the artistic side – aside from taking charming pictures of sea lions posing on rocks – there’s The Monterey Museum of Art, home to an impressive eight galleries. The Pacific Native Museum explores local history, and the Path Of History guides you around the entirety of Monterey heritage. The Carmel Mission has far more to offer than just a short look at local Catholic History, with several local celebrities buried up front and a little museum to explore around the side.
Once you’re done with that lot, head up to the heights of Jack’s Peak Country Park for a panoramic view of the entire area, or check out the live racing action at the world famous Laguna Seca Raceway, just a few miles down the road. Monterey’s atypical Californian fair, the perfect place to indulge in the more traditional take on Californian life and enjoy sites like fairgrounds, flit around with the seals and whales, and explore the heritage of a part of the states that was long under Mexican control.
Big Sur refers to the mountainous region of California's central coast between Carmel and San Simeon. Dramatic cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, verdant coastal forests, and a multitude o…