When you think of California, the beautiful town of Monterey often comes to mind. The scenic ocean views, unique wildlife, and small-town charm are just a small part of what makes the Monterey Peninsula a destination that every traveler should experience. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, and the restaurants on the wharfs are not to be missed when visiting this idyllic little place by the sea.
Visiting Monterey requires at least a few days to experience everything the town has to offer. But many don’t consider the lesser-known attractions that surround the Monterey Peninsula.
San Francisco is a mere two-hour journey north of Monterey. The city offers so much for the traveling explorer that it could take a month to enjoy every bit of it, yet there are certain places that should not be missed in a one-day trip. The Golden Gate Bridge is a must for people who want to drive over it to experience how beautiful and expansive it is. Chinatown, Lombard Street, and Fisherman’s Wharf are must-do visits for a day trip.
This picturesque area less than an hour’s drive from Monterey is sparsely populated but the views are more than magnificent when traveling on the Pacific Coast Highway. Rest points along the drive allow a visitor to take in the glorious and rocky coastal lines of the Pacific.
Lake San Antonio Recreation Area
If you’re craving some lakeside action, Lake San Antonio has it all. Boating, fishing, swimming, and water-sports abound. The south shore of the lake offers rental properties for those that choose not to rough it. The north shore has campgrounds for tents and RVs.
If you love garlic, you’re in for a treat. The city of Gilroy grows so much garlic that the scent is apparent as soon as you drive into the city limits. Fields of garlic abound and the shops offer everything from pickled garlic to fresh heads of elephant garlic. Every year the city hosts a garlic festival. It’s not to be missed.
San Luis National Wildlife Refuge
Are bird watching, hiking, and fishing your style? This out-of-the-way refuge is only a two-hour drive from Monterey. It provides a place for people who enjoy spending time in the outdoors observing wildlife. Group tours are available, which maximizes the experience at this beautiful corner of California.
The Monterey Peninsula is a wonderful destination. Its attractions are excellent but one will find many more amazing treasures that will fulfill a taste for diversity and fun just a couple hours’ drive away. The sleepy seaside and inland towns full of friendly folk and excellent food are a bonus to a life-changing adventure.