|San Francisco California|
Two of the most visited west coast destinations on the California coast south of San Francisco are Monterey and Carmel. Both seaside communities are picture perfect and a great place to take pictures as well. In addition to the scenery and excellent restaurants are several very interesting historic sites. This area of California is very historic particularly in regards to the Spanish colonization of what was then referred to as Alta California. In fact, for many years Monterey was the seat of the Spanish California government. A Monterey vacation has plenty to offer.
|Pebble Beach Golf Course|
Another excellent stop to consider is the Steinbeck Center located in Salinas California, just a short drive east of Monterey. The Steinbeck Center honors the writing and career of John Steinbeck who grew up in Salinas and spent a good deal of time in Monterey. One of Steinbeck's most popular novels of course was The Grapes of Wrath. The following link tells more about the Steinbeck Center with photos. The Steinbeck Center.
Further on down the coast is Carmel-By-The-Sea. Carmel happens to be the site of California's second Spanish mission built, the first being in San Diego. The Carmel Mission was first erected in Monterey in 1770 and then rebuilt in Carmel a short time later under the direction of Father Junipero Serra. This mission as well as the one in San Juan Bautista are still conducting mass. The Carmel Mission is named San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. The mission in Carmel is on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a National Historic Landmark. The Carmel Mission serves as a place of worship and also hosts concerts, art exhibits, lectures and many other community events. For more information on the Carmel Mission along with photos see our article San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.
|Carmel California Beach|
On this same topic, Monterey is home to the world renown Monterey Bay Aquarium. I've visited this museum several times and enjoyed each and every visit. The museum was established in 1984 and is on the site of a former sardine factory on Monterey's Cannery Row. The Monterey Bay Aquarium can easily fill a half day of your visit.
Another fun drive while visiting the Monterey Peninsula is the 17 Mile Drive. The drive goes through Pacific grove and Pebble Beach and as you can imagine a great place for photos. The 17 Mile Drive will take you right past the Pebble Beach Golf Course which has to be one of the most beautiful golf settings in the world. You can begin the 17 Mile Drive at the Pacific Grove gate and exit at the Carmel gate to the south. It's one of the most leisurely and scenic drives you can take.
One stop on your way south from the San Francisco area, a bit out of the way perhaps but well worth it, is Moss Landing. Moss Landing is about 15 miles north of Monterey and is home to the very popular Phil's Fish Market. Great fresh seafood and it's right on the ocean. The most visible land mark that will help you find Moss Landing is the power plant. Near the power plant smoke stacks is Moss Landing Road. If coming from the north make a right hand turn. If from Monterey then turn left. Drive over the bridge and you'll see Phil's on the left hand side. Phil's Fish Market has been featured on the Food Network and is well worth the stop. Weather permitting there is both indoor and outdoor seating.
(Article and photos copyright Western Trips)
View Larger Map