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.

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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.

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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?

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

Where to stay

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