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Peninsula - South

About Monterey: Cities and Regions




Big Sur Pacific Grove Salinas Valley
Carmel-by-the-Sea Monterey North County
Carmel Valley Cannery Row South County
Pebble Beach Fisherman's Wharf  
  Seaside and Sand City  

Big Sur

90 miles of unparalleled beauty along Highway One that begins just south of Carmel and ends in San Luis Obispo County at San Simeon (Hearst Castle).

Artists flock to Big Sur, lured by the ever-changing vistas, pounding surf, spouting whales and dramatic cliffs. Henry Miller, writer and artist, called Big Sur "…a region where one is always conscious of eloquent silence…the face of the earth as the Creator intended it to look." Point Lobos, four miles south of Carmel, is the northern gateway to Big Sur. Unspoiled meadows, forests and beaches make Point Lobos a jewel in the California State Park system.

A marvel of engineering, Highway One winds high above the sea through Big Sur. Visitors can stop and enjoy the spectacular views from numerous turn-outs. Bixby Bridge is world famous and a favorite of photographers who want to capture its elegance and strength on film. At 714 ft., it's one of the ten highest single-span bridges in the world. The bridge is just one chapter in the story of this magnificent scenic highway, officially opened in 1937 at a cost of $10 million.

The Henry Miller Memorial Library celebrates the life of novelist and painter, Henry Miller. The library hosts various events throughout the year. Approximately 31 miles south of Carmel.

The Big Sur International Marathon, held in April, is one of the most beautiful marathon courses in the world. World-class athletes join with amateurs in the race to famous Hurricane Point, serenaded by singers and musicians.

The Road Through Paradise
Carving the road through paradise was no easy task. The Cabrillo Highway was nothing more than a dirt road when the first tourists navigated their way down the coast. In 1922 work began with a $1.5 million budget. During the ten years of construction, supplies had to be brought in by pack mule or unloaded on the beaches from launches. Nature sometimes reasserts itself, and Highway One is occasionally closed while work crews labor to preserve the delicate balance between technology and the earth.

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Carmel lies just off Highway One, five miles south of Monterey and 26 miles north of Big Sur.

The soft white sands of Carmel Beach attract tourists (and their canine companions) from all over the world. Above the beach, the quaint town of Carmel is a combination of art galleries, fine restaurants, and unique boutiques. The homes of Carmel are charming in their diversity of architectural styles and whimsical names.

The Carmel Mission Basilica, built in 1771, was the second of California's missions. Located on Rio Road off Highway One, it's the site of concerts and weddings.

The performing arts are alive and well in Carmel. The Forest Theater is California's first outdoor amphitheater. It's a venue for local productions as well as the Annual Shakespeare Festival and the outdoor film festival. The Sunset Cultural Center is now closed for renovations and will re-open in 2003; many events, including the Carmel Bach Festival have found temporary quarters at Monterey's historic Del Monte Hotel. The Golden Bough Theater houses the Pacific Repertory Theater Company, which stages major works throughout the year.

Point Lobos State Reserve is a marvel of nature only two miles south of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Shrouded in mist or bathed in sunlight, Point Lobos (Spanish for 'wolf') is a universe in itself. Meadows, headlands, coves and forests make this jewel of a state park the perfect place to hike, picnic, observe the abundance of wildlife, or just breathe in the fresh sea air.

A Dog's Life
There's an idyllic charm to Carmel. Don't look for street lights, house numbers, neon signs: you won't find them. High-heels may be worn by permit only (rarely enforced), and dogs run free on the white sands of Carmel Beach. Some hotels and restaurants offer canine accommodations or serve doggie treats.

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Carmel Valley

Running 12 miles inland to the east of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the valley is an unincorporated township of sprawling ranches, rolling countryside and vineyards.

Carmel Village possesses a small town ambience in a very spacious setting. Wiineries have begun to dot this pastoral valley, home of working ranches and fine resorts. Here, luxury sports cars share the road with horse trailers. Located in the "sunbelt," Carmel Valley offers a wide variety of recreational activities as well as excellent restaurants.

Carmel Valley Village is just a few miles east of Carmel off Carmel Valley Road. Locals and visitors enjoy the shops, restaurants, lodgings and wine-tasting rooms in the village.

Garland Ranch Regional Park runs along the Carmel River. Perfect for hikers and horseback riders, Garland Park is a sanctuary for deer, mountain lions, and other California wildlife. Peaceful meadows lead to wooded trails, cool ponds and exceptional views.

Golfers have a choice of three championship courses: Carmel Valley Ranch Resort, Quail Lodge and Rancho Cañada.

Wineries/Wine Tasting

The Carmel River
"The Carmel River is a lovely little river. It isn't very long but in its course it has everything a river should have. It rises in the mountains and tumbles down a while, runs through shallows, is dammed to make a lake, spills over the dam, crackles among round boulders, wanders lazily under sycamores, spills into pools where trout live, drops in against the banks where crayfish live."—John Steinbeck, Cannery Row

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Pebble Beach

At the southern tip of the Peninsula, due west of Monterey and due north of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach is an unincorporated residential and resort area.

Pebble Beach, a gated community in the beautiful Del Monte Forest, is home to seven spectacular world-class golf courses. Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill, Poppy Hills, the Links at Spanish Bay and private Cypress Point attract golf enthusiasts from all over the world.

The Lone Cypress seems to defy the odds as it clings to a bare rock above the Pacific Ocean. Many artists have been inspired by its tenacious elegance. Today, this landmark is a copyrighted symbol of the Pebble Beach Company. Bird and Seal Rocks are an excellent place to view shoreline birds like snowy egrets and blue herons. Sea lions and small harbor leopard seals bark and bask on the rocks. Take the opportunity to stop here along 17-Mile Drive and enjoy a picnic lunch.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am draws stars and stargazers each year to Pebble Beach. Celebrities, amateurs and pros test their skills to the awe and delight of crowds. The classic golf tournament is held at the end of January or beginning of February.


A Golf Classic
Samuel F. B. Morse realized his dream of building a unique and extraordinarily beautiful golf course when he enlisted the aid of amateur golfer and architect Jack Neville. Pebble Beach, ranked the #1 Golf Course in the US, was the only golf course Jack ever designed. Not bad for an amateur.

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