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Highways 1 and 101 nearly converge in Monterey County. Here, rugged California headlands shelter numerous campsites in Pfeiffer Big Sur, Julia Pfeiffer Burns, and Andrew Molera state parks at world-famous Big Sur. The jagged shoreline of Point Lobos State Reserve, an underwater ocean preserve, is home to a variety of sea mammals.  Monterey has a small town aptmosphere, but is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

Here there are many things to do and see, including a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, fishing in the bay, whale watching tours, kayacking through kelp forests (where you can see otters) and enjoying the splendors of God’s creation.

Monterey has both a rustic charm and crass tourista feeling.. Cannery Row has plenty of shopping and is worth a visit and there are some nice stores to be found there but it takes some searching. I did find it a bit odd to see Southwestern themed stores and a Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory there..seeing how I am from Denver.

The Monterey Bay aquarium is everything I heard it was..give yourself 3 hours at least.. And eat there at the aquarium, the food was fresh, well prepared and reasonable in cost.

Plan your day so you can drive on to Big Sur..the 20-30 miles south on Hwy 1 abound with photo ops. However gas up before you leave Monterey..Big Sur gas prices run about a dollar higher than the rest of the area.

For more civilized pursuits, the quaint community of Carmel-by-the-Sea offers inviting shops and restaurants and the 1770 mission, San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo.

Cruise 17-Mile Drive, a loop along the coast from Carmel through Pebble Beach to Pacific Grove. Continue up the peninsula to Monterey. Visit the Maritime Museum; the Custom House, the state’s oldest government building; and Fisherman’s Wharf, where you can stroll among fish stalls, shops, and restaurants. Drive Lighthouse Road to Cannery Row. Here, old cannery buildings house shops, galleries, and restaurants. John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row was set here when the bay flowed with "silver rivers of fish." Today, the fish are at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, home to more than 6,500 marine animals. The aquarium’s Outer Bay exhibit, a million-gallon indoor sea behind a vast window, opens this year. Monterey Bay is a national marine sanctuary. 

Santa Cruz is at the northern end of Monterey Bay nestled against the Santa Cruz mountains. The town is known for its beach boardwalk, world class surfing, mountain biking, lively downtown, and progressive politics. It is home to the University of California at Santa Cruz.

 

Big Sur is located on HWY 1 in ancient groves of redwood and oak trees in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. Big Sur, California is famous for its pristine natural beauty and dramatic, rugged coastline and has been an inspiration to writers, artists, and seekers of a more simple life.Numerous hiking trails are located in the 1,006 acre park and a scenic highlight is Pfeiffer Falls Trail which winds over rustic bridges across Pfeiffer Redwood Creek and ends at a 60-foot high waterfall. From this trail, some of the finest redwood groves in the Big Sur region can be viewed. Wildlife is abundant in the park and condors soar overhead, often stopping to rest in the top of a redwood tree right outside the entrance to the main lodge.


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