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Monterey Peninsula - North

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Cities and Regions




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

Cannery Row

Located on Monterey Bay between the breakwater and the Pacific Grove border, it's a vibrant area with a colorful past.

Home to more than 200 galleries, shops, wine-tasting rooms, restaurants, hotels and inns, Cannery Row was immortalized in Cannery Row and Sweet Thursday by novelist John Steinbeck. A bust of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist overlooks Steinbeck Plaza. Steinbeck fans can visit the writer's favorite spots of the 1930s on a walking tour that also takes them past a bust of Steinbeck?s great friend, Ed ?Doc? Ricketts. A charming local tradition is the small bouquet of flowers placed in Doc's hands every day.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium occupies the site of the former Hovden Cannery. But instead of canning fish, the goal of the Aquarium is to protect the bay, offering the visitor an exquisite view of the abundance of mammals, fish and plants that populate Monterey's waters. A visit to the Aquarium must include the three-story kelp forest, the hands-on touch pools, and the sea otter exhibitbut don't be surprised if you can't see it all in one visit: more than 6500 live creatures fascinate children and adults throughout the Aquarium.

Visitors aged nine and under love to interact with exhibits at Splash Zone, where the penguins always draw a cheer. Two new special exhibits highlight delicate and rare seahorses and endangered species; the dazzling Jellies: Living Art opens in April 2002.

Tins of Gold
From the 1920s to the 1940s, an estimated 250,000 tons of sardines were processed annually. Monterey became the sardine capital of the world and ranked third in total tonnage of catch among the world's fishing ports. In the 1940s, the sardines disappeared. Was it changes in currents, polluted waters or overfishing that caused the disappearance of the sardines? No one knows for certain.

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Fisherman's Wharf

Located off Del Monte Avenue in Monterey are two separate wharves. Both are open to the public.

Fisherman's Wharf and Wharf #2 were once at the center of the city's history. Seafood restaurants, fish markets, and candy shops fill the air with delicious smells. There are art galleries and a theater. Charter boat companies offer diving, whale watching and sightseeing tours. Commercial fishing boats still unload the day's catch at Wharf #2, while gulls call, seals bark, and sea lions bellow from the Coast Guard Pier. Fishermen can charter boats to try their luck out on the bay.

Picturesque Monterey Harbor bustles with life and the present is never far from the past. Though modern boats have taken the place of steamships, the aura of old Monterey remains. Commodore John Drake Sloat raised the American flag here in 1846. From the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, the harbor was the site of a booming cargo and whaling industry. Today, visitors can experience Monterey's past as they tour the harbor.

The Custom House is a historic landmark across from the entrance to Fisherman's Wharf. Through this adobe building, goods from all over the world passed on their way to other parts of California. Today, you may meet an organ-grinder and his monkey, recalling days gone by.

Fish and Ships
Fisherman’s Wharf was built in 1846. Trading vessels moored and unloaded goods on the docks after the long journey around "the Horn." Sailors, anxious customers, and dealmakers all gathered at the wharf to check out the latest arrivals. Later, the fishing industry thrived. Sardines, salmon, ling cod, squid and other catch were so abundant that a second wharf was built.

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Seaside and Sand City

These two neighbors offer visitors a wealth of shopping, snacking and beach-combing opportunities, backed up by reasonably priced accommodations.

Busy and bustling, the residential and commercial towns of Seaside and Sand City are reinventing themselves at a great pace. They share very easy beach access, and some of the sunniest weather on our sometimes foggy Peninsula.

Seaside is the Peninsula's most populous, and perhaps most diverse, community. Its inland hills were once the home of the U. S. Army base of Fort Ord, until its closure in 1993; now, the Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses are open to the public. Surrounding a blue-domed Russian Orthodox church, the tidy little Laguna Grande Park hosts neighborhood picnics as well as a jumping, jiving music festival every September.

Waterside Sand City is an anomaly however you look at it. With fewer than 1500 residents, its square footage of shopping space out-classes many larger cities with ease. The Sand Dollar Shopping area and new Edgewater on Monterey Bay center feature a book and coffee shop, pet shop, Costco, supermarket, clothing stores and eateries galore.

Seaside's Founding Father
Dr. L.D. Roberts, founder of the City of Seaside, moved to the Peninsula in 1887. He bought his brother's ranch, subdivided it and named the city, Seaside. He founded the Post Office there and served as its postmaster for 42 years. He served for 36 on the School Board and for 20 years on the County Board of Supervisors.

The Sands of Time
The dunes of Sand City are ancient, dating back to the Pleistocene era. When the last ice sheets melted between 15,000 and 6,000 years ago, the current dune system stabilized and the Pacific Ocean receded, leaving the magnificent and constantly shifting dunes visitors see today.

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Buffered from the bay by lofty sand dunes, Marina is soaring into the new century as the youngest of the county's cities.

Change is everywhere in Marina. New resorts with spa services and elegant accommodations stand beside Marina's clean, comfortable motels, campgrounds and RV parks. One of the newest members of the California State University system, California State University, Monterey Bay, opened in the fall of 1995.

Nature lovers enjoy Marina's numerous parks and recreation facilities. 8,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management terrain is open to the public for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. Interpretive signs at Marina State Beach help visitors discover the unique plants and animals that inhabit the dunes.

Marina's skies are often filled with an array of hang-gliders, paragliders, wind-sculptures, and kites of all sizes and degrees of complexity. A beachfront launching pad is available if you bring your own hang-glider. If you have even loftier ambitions, Marina's pocket-sized airport offers sightseeing, helicopter, and skydiving flights, and in October, vintage planes converge for the Marina Air Faire.

A Garden of Sculpture
Stroll between magnificent groves of live oaks and coastal chaparral to see original sculptures by local and world-renowned artists at the new Sculpture Habitat. If the process of sculpting in metal fascinates you, stop in at the nearby Monterey Sculpture Center, where artists can bring their creations to be cast in bronze.

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