Monterey was established along the central California coast, and served as the capital of Alta California from 1777 to 1846. The city was the home of California's first public library and public school, and even its first newspaper. Monterey is more widely known today for the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and John Steinbeck's Cannery Row.
Take a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway and explore the natural beauty of Monterey Bay and Big Sur. To find a sandy beach you can have (nearly) all to yourself, search for the somewhat hidden Garrapata beach. Watch sea otters, elephant seals, and pelicans at the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. You can even see some of these creatures up-close on a scuba dive. Walk the grounds of historic Monterey's Mission Basilica and learn about the history of Spanish and Mexican California.
Head to Loulou's Griddle in the Middle for a large stack of fresh berry griddlecakes or rich crab cakes and eggs. Dine on fresh and seasonal seafood at Monterey's Fish House. Start with oysters on the half shell or sautéed mussels and then move on to an oak grilled salmon or snapper.