Quirky galleries, deliciously fresh seafood, and dramatic hikes and drives: discover what the locals love about these seaside towns with Moon Monterey & Carmel. Inside you'll find:
Flexible, strategic itineraries including long weekends in Monterey, Carmel, and Santa Cruz, and a three-day road trip from Big Sur to Cambria
Top sights and unique experiences: Visit the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium or take a whale-watching tour to catch a glimpse of sea otters, harbor seals, and migrating whales in the wild. Stroll along soft sand beaches or browse artisan galleries and boutiques in Carmel's idyllic downtown. Cruise along the Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur and pull over to soak up the breathtaking ocean view, or wander the halls of the opulent Hearst Castle. Catch happy hour at a historic brewery, or dine on fresh seafood as the sun sets over the bay
Outdoor adventures: Explore the stunning coastline on a kayak or stand-up paddleboard, dive into a kelp forest, or rent a surfboard and catch a wave.
Honest advice from Monterey local Stuart Thornton on when to go, how to get around, where to eat, and where to stay, from budget motels to historic inns
Full-color photos and detailed maps throughout
Handy tools including tips for seniors, visitors with disabilities, and traveling with kids
Helpful resources on COVID-19 and traveling to Monterey and Carmel
Background on the culture, history, weather, and wildlife
Full coverage of Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Cambria, San Simeon, Morro Bay, and Salinas
Experience the best of Monterey & Carmel with Moon's practical tips and local insight. Hitting the road? Check out Moon Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip. Looking for more outdoor adventures? Try Moon Northern California Hiking.
About Moon Travel Guides: Moon was founded in 1973 to empower independent, active, and conscious travel. We prioritize local businesses, outdoor recreation, and traveling strategically and sustainably. Moon Travel Guides are written by local, expert authors with great stories to tell—and they can't wait to share their favorite places with you.
For more inspiration, follow @moonguides on social media.
About the Author
Stuart Thornton fell in love with California while working the Big Sur Ranger Station after college. At work, he provided visitors with all sorts of information about the region, from the best places to camp to the best meal in the area. On his days off, he took his own advice and regularly sought out the top spots for hiking, backpacking, surfing, and snorkeling along that striking coastal region.
Stuart later moved to nearby Monterey to become a staff writer for the Monterey County Weekly, where he is still a contributor. He is the proud author of Moon Coastal California, Moon Santa Barbara & the Central Coast, Moon Spotlight Cambria & San Simeon, and Moon California Road Trip. In addition, Stuart has contributed to National Geographic Education, and Relix Magazine.
Stuart spends his time off searching for the next secluded beach, uncrowded wave, or mountaintop vista. Learn more about his adventures and projects by visiting stuartthornton.com.
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