Monterey is a place to feed your soul with stunning scenery, gorgeous coastal views, and luxurious beaches. A visit to Monterey is a great opportunity to relax, slow down, and enjoy the beautiful California landscapes. Take in all the sights around Monterey with these scenic drives, natural reserves, and sweet villages.

17-Mile Drive

For most travelers, the main reasons to visit Monterey are the weather and the glorious views of the rugged California coastline. In fact, you should choose a Monterey hotel for its views as much as any other criteria.

One of the best ways to take in the scenery is to drive along 17-Mile Drive. This route along the Pacific coastline offers magnificent views of the ocean, the Del Monte Forest, and elegant mansions. The scenic byway starts just north of Carmel-by-the-Sea and has a $10 access fee. Several points of interest are marked along the way, where you can pause for a stroll or take memorable photos. Be sure to stop at the Pebble Beach Resorts for some of the most breathtaking views along the drive. The resort complex also has restaurants where you can get a bite to eat.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

This coastal park is considered “the gem of the California parks system.” Here, you’ll find rocky cliffs, forests, canyons, fields of wildflowers, and gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. There are caves to explore, places to hike, and scenic drives as well as swimming, scuba diving, and kayaking activities. The diverse wildlife at Point Lobos includes harbor seals, orcas, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, gray foxes, coyotes, and more. Whaler’s Cove is the best spot to sit and soak in the scenery, but don’t miss China Cove, which is a hidden beach that’s perfect for enjoying water sports.


This sweet storybook village is the perfect place to stroll, shop, and dine. Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history, which dates back to the early 20th century. The town has always been home to artists, writers, poets, and actors. Carmel is also a famously dog-friendly village, so if you’re traveling with a fur buddy, this is a great place to spend the day. Shop for artistic creations, sip coffee in a sidewalk café, photograph the picturesque streets, and enjoy the artsy atmosphere.

Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is a bit touristy with a hint of nostalgia. The wharf draws whale-watchers, fishermen, and tourists alike and offers a great collection of shops and restaurants. Enjoy fresh, local seafood dishes like clam chowder, take a bay cruise, go out on a sailboat, observe the local sea lions, have your caricature drawn, or learn the local history on a guided wharf walk.

Monterey is a delightful destination for a weekend getaway or a full vacation. There’s something for every member of the family, and beautiful views meet you at every corner. This is a place to restore your spirit and your love for the American landscape.