Monterey was first colonised by the Spanish in 1770 when it was founded as the military and administrative centre of a territory that extended east to the Rockies and north to the Canadian border. Although something of a backwater, it was the site of the Battle of Monterey on 7th July 1846 during the Mexican-American War. It was on this date that the U.S. flag was raised over the Monterey Custom House and California was claimed for the United States.
The compact town centre has some of the best vernacular buildings of California's Spanish and Mexican colonial past, most of which stand just a few blocks from the more modern waterfront. Today most visitors flock to the waterfront area where disused wharves and canneries have been converted into boutiques, restaurants and shopping malls.
Monterey Bay Aquarium has one of the world's most spectacular displays of marine wildlife, including a two-storey sea-otter exhibit and a fascinating underwater kelp forest. In addition, nearby 17 Mile Drive is a highlight of the California coast, offering beautiful coastal scenery, delightful beaches and some excellent golf courses.
Suggested itineraries featuring Monterey
Our itineraries will give you suggestions for what is possible when you travel in Monterey, and they showcase routes we know work particularly well. Treat them as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely by one of our specialists.
Map of Monterey
Places & hotels on the map
Places near Monterey
- Carmel less than 5 miles away
- Big Sur 24 miles away
- San Francisco 87 miles away
- Napa Valley 121 miles away
- Sonoma 122 miles away
- Pismo Beach 123 miles away
- Sacramento 139 miles away
- Yosemite National Park 156 miles away
- Sequoia National Park 186 miles away
- Kings Canyon National Park 188 miles away
- Santa Barbara 195 miles away
- Lake Tahoe 201 miles away
- Mendocino 215 miles away
- Death Valley National Park 268 miles away
- Los Angeles 272 miles away
Accommodation choices for Monterey
We’ve selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Monterey. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.