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Monterey Inland

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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  


The fertile fields of the valley straddle Highway One, stretching inland from the coast to the Santa Lucia Mountains. They can also be reached via Highway 68 from the Monterey Peninsula.

Think green. Providing the nation with greens is a 2.3 billion-dollar industry. A tour of a winery or farm followed by a lunch of fresh-from-the-fields produce at a local restaurant is a great way for the family to get in touch with the land.

The National Steinbeck Center, located in Old Town Salinas, is one of Monterey County's newest major attractions. The 37,000 square-foot museum is dedicated to the works of native son John Steinbeck. The museum and cultural center feature interactive exhibits, an exceptional gift shop, and a gourmet cafe. The town, site of a recent movie shoot, offers shops, restaurants and galleries. Nearby Wild Things, at Vision Quest Ranch, is home to a number of "movie star" and other exotic animals (open for tours daily).

The California Rodeo is one of the top rodeos in the nation. Cowboys and cowgirls demonstrate their roping and riding skills in four days of exciting events. The International Air Show brings bi-planes and jets to Salinas in the fall. Autumn also sees the return of the Steinbeck Festival and Cherry's Jubilee, a classic car show replete with hot rods and "Vettes."

Our Spanish Roots
When the Spanish settled in the area, a large slough ran through it and so the settlers named it Salinas, a Spanish name meaning salt marsh. In 1822, Mexico seceded from Spain, and the newly independent government granted large tracts of land to settlers. Two of these ranchos were Sausal and Nacional. Adjoining parts of these ranchos became Salinas City after California became a US territory. The Spanish names have remained, a reminder of the first settlers to the area.

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North County

North Monterey County includes the towns of Castroville, Moss Landing, Prunedale and Pajaro. Accommodations range from RV camping to motels and beach condominiums.

Elkhorn Slough is a National Estuarine Sanctuary, where the salt water of the sea meets the fresh water of inland Monterey County. It's a birdwatcher's paradise: over 250 species of birds have been recorded here. The Elkhorn Slough Visitors Center educates visitors about this fascinating sanctuary. The Moss Landing harbor is home to commercial fishing boats and yachts, as well as kayak excursions into the slough.

Castroville has been the "Artichoke Capital of the World" since 1929, only nine years after the tasty thistle was introduced to the area. In 1948, a young actress named Marilyn Monroe was crowned the first Artichoke Queen. But the city began long before the blonde bombshell's visit. Founded in 1863, Castroville is the second oldest town in Monterey County. Today, the town offers culturally diverse dining as well as its world-famous artichokes.

The stacks of the Moss Landing Power Plant are a familiar landmark to aviators and sailors. Numerous antique shops lure visitors to Moss Landing, which also hosts the Moss Landing Antique Street Fair every summer, attracting antique dealers from all over the state.

Throughout Monterey County, the hungry traveler will find colorful fruit and vegetable stands. Sample artichokes, strawberries and lettuce, all fresh from surrounding fields.

Thorny Delight
In 1924, Castroville farmers introduced artichokes to the area. Originally a Mediterranean "vegetable," the artichoke is a member of the thistle family. The tasty part we eat is actually the bud of the plant's flower.

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South County

Soledad, Gonzales, Greenfield, King City and Jolon are the cities of the South County. A rich agricultural heritage has sown the seeds for a burgeoning wine industry.

Bald eagles soar over the Coastal Mountain Range, and the striking volcanic forms of the Pinnacles silhouette the sky. The tiny town of Parkfield, population 250, is the earthquake capital of the world.

Mission San Antonio, set among groves of oak trees, is located just west of Highway One on Fort Hunter Liggett. Soledad Mission is the thirteenth in the chain of Alta California missions and is located in the midst of vineyards. Wine grapes are still grown on the land.

San Lorenzo Park and the Agricultural and Rural Life Museum in King City detail the lives of the cattle ranchers and wheat farmers who once populated the area. Farming equipment and displays bring the past alive for visitors.

Rich Man's Getaway
William Randolph Hearst, newspaper magnate and owner of Hearst Castle, built a getaway near Mission San Antonio. The Hacienda, designed by renowned architect Julia Morgan in 1929, was his ranch house. Hollywood stars and political celebrities were flown to Hearst's BBQ's, dances and rodeos. It's now open to the public as a lodge, restaurant and lounge.

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