Monterey County

The Bixby Creek bridge and the Big Sur coastline.

Monterey County contains a sizable part of the Central Coast of California and the southern half of Monterey Bay. The area is known for its wildlife and rugged coastline, much of it protected in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest US national marine sanctuary and home to a fantastic number of mammals, seabirds, fishes, invertebrates and plants.


Other destinations

The iconic Lone Cypress on the 17-Mile Drive near Carmel.


While best known for the wild coastline of Big Sur and the historic Monterey Bay, Monterey County includes the rugged Coastal Range and the inland corridor of U.S. Highway 101. Wine tourism is popular in the Salinas Valley around Salinas and in the Carmel Valley area.

Visitor information

Get in

Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo in Carmel, built in 1771 as the second of the 21 missions established by the Spanish in California.

The Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) is the main coastal route through the region, offering scenic views out onto the ocean. Highway 101 also traverses the region, traveling north-to-south further inland, east of the mountains. Travelers looking for the most scenic route will want to use Highway 1, while those in a hurry should choose Highway 101.

El Camino Real (The Royal Road), a historic route connecting all of California's 21 Spanish missions, passes through the county, roughly following Highway 1 in the north and Highway 101 further south.


The following sites are located outside of the county's cities and towns:

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