Pacific Grove

Point Pinos Light, the oldest working lighthouse on the West Coast

Pacific Grove is in Monterey County in the Central Coast region of California. It is next to the Pacific Ocean on Monterey Bay just west of the city of Monterey. Popular for its quaint, small-town charm the town reputedly has more Victorian homes per capita than anywhere else in America. Pacific Grove is also the wintering-over spot for thousands of Monarch butterflies, from which its nickname, "Butterfly Town, U.S.A.," is derived.


The first European to land in Pacific Grove was Juan Rodrigues Cabrillo, in 1542. The first settlement in the area, however, was in 1855, when the Point Pinos Lighthouse began operation. It still stands and is the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Lighthouse Road, one of the two main streets in Pacific Grove, was originally constructed to bring supplies from Monterey to Point Pinos.

Many Chinese immigrants settled near the shore beginning in 1863, forming a "Chinatown." Most worked as fishermen out of the harbor in Monterey.

The bulk of Pacific Grove was initially a summer Methodist camp. Worshippers each had a plot of land on which they erected tents. Over time, they began erecting more permanent structures, and some relocated to the area. Most of the structures in Pacific Grove date to the Victorian era, and many are small, dollhouse-like homes. Until 1890, there was a fence around Pacific Grove, providing a visual border between this small religious community and its neighbors.

Get in

Access to Pacific Grove is via Monterey or Carmel. Take Monterey-Salinas Transit bus route 1, 1x or 2 from Monterey. Pacific Grove is a short, ten-minute taxi ride from Monterey Peninsula Airport (see Monterey).

Get around

Pacific Grove is a small town, and much of it can be seen on foot or by bicycle.

Local buses from Monterey-Salinas Transit are a convenient way to travel to Monterey and elsewhere on the Peninsula, although all connections are via downtown Monterey.



Perkins Park along the Pacific Coast



Go next

Routes through Pacific Grove

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