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Top things to do in Monterey

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About Monterey

Including tips for the best time to visit Monterey

Monterey, a picturesque city in California, is renowned for its wild natural beauty and laid-back West Coast vibe. From beaches to museums, there's a wealth of places to visit here.

Monterey’s rugged coastline is dotted with numerous beaches offering everything from swimming to scuba diving opportunities. At Monterey State Beach, you’ll find surfers, anglers and divers alongside those admiring sunset views from its sandy shores. Del Monte Beach – a hidden gem known mostly to locals – is located just a short drive away and features picnic spots and a boardwalk passing through sand dunes. Other famous beaches to visit in Monterey are San Carlos Beach and McAbee Beach, near Cannery Row.

With the Pacific Ocean lapping at its shores, Monterey is well-positioned to offer a slew of outdoor activities to visitors. Scuba divers can head to Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary to explore its aquatic world that includes an underwater canyon and a kelp forest. Elkhorn Slough and Monterey Bay are well-known kayaking destinations, where you can spot harbour seals, sea lions, pelicans and leopard sharks. For some land adventures, try mountain biking at Fort Ord National Monument or hiking, rock climbing and camping at several national and state parks nearby.

During your Monterey holiday, set aside some time to visit the Presidio of Monterey Museum, where you can gain insights into the illustrious past of the city through artefacts and photographs. Art lovers will find plenty of interesting exhibits at Monterey Museum of Art and MHAA: Salvador Dalí.


From $98 per night

Next weekend

From $543 per night

Most popular time to visit October-December
Cheapest time to visit January-March
Local currency USD
Average weekend price $272 per night
Average weekday price $273 per night
Average stay 1 night

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Monterey reviews

What other travelers say about Monterey


Monterey was amazing.

September 4, 2023

Monterey was amazing. We went to the aquarium and ended up upgrading to annual passes. The shops were great and plenty of items for my family of 4. The food selection was wonderful. Note to self the traffic is insane on the weekend. Leave early and arrive to Monterey around 9am before the city fills up. Pay the $20 for the parking garage and don’t worry about it.

central valley traveler
central valley traveler United States of America

Beautiful place.

August 24, 2023

Beautiful place. Nothing beats the views. Right on the beach. Bathrooms are small. Just a standup shower and toilet. Separate sink on the outside of bathroom. Super tiny shower and toilet area. Beds are not very comfortable. Large tv. Nice fire pits outside. Overall nice place to stay, but expensive for how old the rooms are. Nice pool area. Paying for the views.

Nicole Olsen
Nicole Olsen United States of America

We love going to Monterey-- we go at least once every year,...

August 5, 2023

We love going to Monterey-- we go at least once every year, usually during "Car Week". But we would go anyway whether or not it is Car Week. ALWAYS enjoy eating at Old Fisherman's Grotto on the wharf. One of the best, if not the best clam chowder anywhere, and that is just the start. Great food, great service, great place.

Eric United States of America

We stayed 2 nights on our way back to San Francisco.

August 3, 2023

We stayed 2 nights on our way back to San Francisco. This was enough to allow us to do a little sightseeing and get down the coast to see wildlife. We saw dolphins, otters, sea lions. We also saw whale spouts from land. If you want to go on the boat to see whales it is useful to book a few days in advance

Sudhir United Kingdom

Monterey hosts gorgeous beaches, restaurants,...

July 21, 2023

Monterey hosts gorgeous beaches, restaurants, hiking/biking trails and close proximity to Carmel. You can also enjoy wine tasting, the Aquarium and a multitude of other fantastic activities… You could easily spend 3 weeks there and never run out of options!

Coleen United States of America

Monterey was good We were a bit disappointed as all the...

July 12, 2023

Monterey was good We were a bit disappointed as all the boats were grounded so didn’t get to see the whales. The Cannery Row area is worth a visit as it has some cool shops and eating places. Allows you to see the seals and sea otters.

Michael United Kingdom

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