Great escapes: Our Guide to Monterey, CA

Planning a getaway? Check out Monterey, CA, a picturesque coastal town with quaint gift shops, local seafood eateries, and outdoor activities aplenty.


Multi-City Editor Emily Shea at Pfeiffer Beach. | Photo by 6AM City

Multi-City Editor Emily, here. Monterey, CA is easily one of the most memorable places I have ever visited. The area is bursting with lush coastal greenery, walking trails that bring you up close and personal with Big Sur wildlife (think: elephant seals, brown pelicans, and sea otters), and cliff laden seasides.


One of the many breath taking views of the Pacific Ocean along California’s Highway 1. | Photo by Emily Shea

Photo by Emily Shea-Owen

Why go?


The purple sand at Pfeiffer Beach almost looks iridescent. | Photo by SEAtoday

Act like a local

  • Food: Enjoy fresh seafood and Italian cuisine at Paluca Trattoria. The popular restaurant at Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf was featured in the award-winning HBO series “Big Little Lies.”
  • Drink: Visit downtown Monterey’s Hula’s Island Grill for tiki drinks (my favorite is the Painkiller) paired with tropical cuisine like seared ahi wontons, chimichurri barramundi, and bahn mi tacos.
  • Outdoors: Drive ~15 minutes to Point Lobos State Nature Preserve and embark on a 6.7-mile loop hike for breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, otherworldly seaside cliffs, giant plumes of seaweed that have washed ashore, and wildlife aplenty.
  • Explore: Take the scenic drive down Highway 1 for remarkable views of Big Sur’s craggy coastline, rolling sand dunes, and cypress forests.
  • Swim: If it is warm enough, drive ~1 hour to Pfeiffer Beach and take a dip. If it’s too cold for a swim or staying dry is the name of the game for you, pack a picnic and take in the beach’s beautiful scenery, including natural arches, rocky cliffs, and purple sand on the north end of the beach.

Enjoy coastal views from this VRBO’s large deck. | Photo via VRBO

Where to stay

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