Travel to the Monterey Peninsula – Episode 731

categories: Central Coast

Things to do in Monterey (Podcast)

Hear about things to do in Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, and the rest of the Monterey Peninsula in California as Chris the Amateur Traveler and return guest Jeff Ohlfs talk about this terrific vacation spot.

Both Jeff and I grew up near Monterey and have been traveling there regularly for decades.

The Monterey Peninsula has been attracting tourists since the 1800s. Monterey was the territorial capital of Alta California under Mexican rule. It was over the Old Customs House where Commodore Sloat raised the U.S. flag to claim the area for the U.S. during the Mexican-American War. It was also in Monterey where the California state constitution was written.

Since the discovery of the “Bay of Pines” by Europeans under Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo, the attractions of this area have been evident. Father Junipero Serra built the Carmel Mission in the area, which is also his final resting place.

In his book Two Years Before the Mast, author Richard Henry Dana, Jr. described the town he saw in 1835:

The bay of Monterey is wide at the entrance, being about twenty-four miles between the two points, Año Nuevo at the north, and Pinos at the south, but narrows gradually as you approach the town, which is situated in a bend, or large cove, at the southeastern extremity, and from the points about eighteen miles, which is the whole depth of the bay. The shores are extremely well wooded (the pine abounding upon them), and as it was now the rainy season, – the grass, the leaves, and all; the birds were singing in the woods, and great numbers of wildfowl were flying over our heads. Here we could lie safe from the southeasters. We came to anchor within two cable lengths of the shore, and the town lay directly before us, making a very pretty appearance; its houses being of whitewashed adobe, which gives a much better effect than those of Santa Barbara, which are mostly left of a mud color. The red tiles, too, on the roofs, contrasted well with the white sides, and with the extreme greenness of the lawn upon which the houses – about a hundred in number – were dotted about, here and there, irregularly.

Monterey’s best-known attraction these days is the wonderful Monterey Bay Aquarium which is built in an old sardine cannery building in the area local author John Steinbeck wrote about in the book Cannery Row. These days Cannery Row is high-end hotels, restaurants, and souvenir shops.

From Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey to Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove is a beautiful area of coastline and coastal path with rugged rocks, seals, sea lions, and sea otters. For a more well-known drive, you can take the paid 17-mile Drive around to Pebble Beach and the Lone Cypress.

Pacific Grove has a number of Victorian houses, many of which have been turned into beautiful inns. It also has a grove of trees that are set aside for the annual visit of the Monarch Butterflies. Each year the town celebrates the return of the butterflies with the Butterfly Parade.

Carmel is a wooded, upscale, town filled with restaurants, shops, and wine tasting rooms from the 300+ wineries that can now be found in Monterey County.

We take some side trips from Monterey down Highway One to Big Sur, over to Salinas the home of John Steinbeck and the California Rodeo and the California Airshow, down to Pinnacles National Park, up to Mission San Juan Bautista, and over to the surfing beaches at Santa Cruz.

Learn about one of my favorite corners of the world, the Monterey Peninsula.

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Skylight Frame

This episode is also sponsored by Skylight Frame which is an easy-to-use smart frame. Get it for Mom for Mother’s Day and the whole family can keep it updated with new photos just by sending an email. Get $10 by going to and using the code traveler.

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Show Notes

Best California State Parks – Episode 669
Travel to Joshua Tree National Park – Episode 594
Guide to the Monterey Peninsula
Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival
Colton Hall
California’s First Theatre
Monterey – The History from Fisherman’s Wharf to Lover’s Point
Whale Watching in Monterey
9 Romantic Things to Do in Monterey
Monterey Bay Coastal Trail – Monterey and Pacific Grove, California
Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
Monterey Peninsula – Hotels on the Beach
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
Natural Bridges State Beach
7 of the Best Things to Do, Buy or Eat in and around Monterey, California
Peppers Mexicali Cafe
Duffy’s Tavern
Compagno’s Market & Deli
Monterey Food Tour
The Path of History
17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach
De Tierra Winery
Monterey Wine Festival
Carmel River State Beach
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Andrew Molera State Park
Highlands Inn
Laguna Seca
John Steinbeck
Stevenson House
Vision Quest Ranch
California International Airshow Salinas
Monterey Jazz Festival
Pinnacles National Park
Fort Ord National Monument
Shadowbrook Restaurant
Mission Santa Cruz
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park
Things to do in Santa Cruz, CA – “Coney Island of the West”


Fan wrote about Travel to Egypt – Episode 728

Hi, I’m currently in Egypt and listened to the episode, but thought that it needed a better explanation of Luxor’s West Bank. It’s not just the Valley of the Kings and the Temple of Hatshepsut. There are several other sites to visit including Habu Temple, Ramesseum, Valley of the Queens, Valley of the Artisans, and the Tombs of the Nobles. Each one is a separate ticket unless you buy the Luxor Pass. And the way Valley of the Kings works now is there is a dozen or so tombs open and your ticket gets you admission into three. You can choose. There are also three additional tombs that you must pay extra for: Seti I, Ramses V and VI, and King Tut’s.

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won numerous awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine. He move to California in 1964.

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