Related destinations
show more  
About Monterey

Families and couples alike will experience an unforgettable getaway when you stay in one of our Monterey vacation rentals. If you're looking for a historic Central California Coast town brimming with magnificent marine wildlife, look no further!

Where Is Monterey CA?

This friendly coastal town is perched on the southern curve of its namesake bay. A leisurely road trip on California Highway 1 from San Francisco will get you there in under three hours. It shares a charming seaside character with its neighbors Santa Cruz, Pebble Beach, and Carmel-by-the-Sea, but stands out among them as one of the most visit-worthy spots on the California coast.

Things to Do in Monterey, CA

If you're staying in one of our Monterey vacation rentals, chances are you're planning a trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If not, you should! It beautifully showcases 35,000 different marine animals and plants, many native to the dense underwater kelp forests in Monterey Bay itself.

Try to go on a weekday to avoid crowds, and make sure you check the aquarium's schedule for free volunteer and marine biologist talks about exhibits. Fun fact: this site was prominently featured in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home!

The aquarium is located on Cannery Row, made famous by the John Steinbeck novel of the same name. Today, it's a popular destination for boutique shopping and restaurants serving fresh Dungeness crab. Live music often plays in Cannery Row's Steinbeck Plaza, where you'll find a bronze bust commemorating the influential American author.

You might want to set aside a day for whale watching on a charter launched from Fisherman's Wharf. Here, you'll also find eateries ranging from rustic seafood stands and chowder houses to charming trattorias.

Top off your day with a stroll along soft sands on Del Monte Beach or Monterey State Beach where you can spot sea urchins and starfish in its tide pools.

 

Attractions Near Monterey


Discover more memorable ocean vistas with visits to nearby Pebble Beach and Carmel-by-the Sea. To reach these quiet sites, take the scenic 17 Mile Drive south - an attraction in itself!

Make a pit stop for coffee or shopping in Carmel Village. If you brought your dog along, he'll be welcome by many Carmel merchants, as it's an especially dog-friendly town.

For thrills and spills on a classic beach boardwalk, head north on Highway 1 to Santa Cruz. Families will enjoy the quaint amusement park, while adults can watch a free summer concert at night. 

Inland about half an hour, and right off of US 101 is Salinas. Here, you can take a fuller literary tour by visiting the National Steinbeck Center and the Steinbeck House, which features a restaurant in the author's boyhood home. 

Monterey offers so much in family-friendly attractions and memorable moments for everyone. Plan to make a stop there during your California excursion and stay at one of our cozy Monterey vacation rentals!