A warm sunset lights the clouds above Point Lobos State Natural Reserve in Carmel, Calif.
The Monterey Peninsula evokes immediate associations—Tiger Woods at Pebble Beach, Steinbeck and Doc on Cannery Row, Clint Eastwood’s Carmel-by-the-Sea—but one of its most unexpected attributes is its wild side. Blocks from the sardine tank at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a dirt trail wanders atop a wave-battered cliff, the rocks below home to harbor seals and sometimes their pups, depending on the season. Bordering the painstakingly manicured grounds of Spanish Bay, south of Pacific Grove, runs an enticing wooden boardwalk, continually losing a battle to the sand blown in over the crags. And at the base of Carmel’s bakery-packed Ocean Avenue sits a soft beach lousy with off-leash mutts and magnificent views. For the rest of our Monterey Peninsula package, check out these articles:
Carmel-by-the-Sea: art galleries, elegant boutiques, and a dog beach
Carmel Valley: award-winning wineries and sunny weather
Monterey: the Monterey Bay Aquarium and more
Pacific Grove: Victorian homes and a lively main street
Pebble Beach: golf courses, fine dining, and 17-Mile Drive
Seaside and Sand City: sweet beaches and a happening art scene
Photography by Don Smith/Getty Images
This article was first published in February 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.