Cities for Art & Design Lovers in Monterey Bay Region 

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  • Recommended for You
  • 1


    81 reviews

    This is where I would ideally retire to! It's quiet, safe and puts you in touch with nature. Check out all the local boutiques and even the library is beautiful! A plethora of art galleries!!

  • 2


    124 reviews

    I love Monterey, it is a great place to spend some time when driving on the California Coastal Route. A must stop, the Aquarium is one of the best and the Pacific Ocean never looks better. You even get to see Otters.

  • 3

    Santa Cruz

    129 reviews

    Santa Cruz where the mountains meet the ocean... So many eco-climates in this town it is amazing. World renown surfing beaches, but there are also beautiful beaches for the beach goer who wants calm waters. You can hike in the redwoods, visit a vineyard, and go boutique shopping all on the same day... Santa Cruz has great restaurants many using ...

  • 4

    Pebble Beach

    30 reviews

    Pebble Beach is mostly a golf course and a road. It's a quasi-gated community since the roads in are controlled by the Park Service who charge a fee for entry unless you know someone on the inside (but they don't really check). The drive is amazing and has several pull offs where you can stop to watch the whales, sea ...

  • 5


    17 reviews

    Cute little resort town. We had a low maintenance casual lunch at a pub for burgers & sodas with a view of the water. Little main street area was fun for us to buy taffy & fudge etc. My son made a Build a Bear-like Sea Otter at a little store. Had a local seaside town feel.

  • Other places you might like...
  • 6

    Pacific Grove

    16 reviews

    Pacific Grove is a picturesque little town sandwiched on the Monterey Peninsula between Monterey and Carmel. It has a beautiful rocky shoreline, foggy and cool climate, and is largely inhabited by retirees and older people. It is famous for Lover's Point, where each year the Monarch Butterflies come by in swarms, or its several antique gabled Bed and Breakfast hotels, ...

  • 7

    Moss Landing

    8 reviews

    Moss Landing is a tiny town north of Monterey on Hwy 1. If you travel up 1 instead of turning right toward 101, you'll go by Moss Landing. I like stopping here for lunch and to look at the otter rafts that take refuge in Elkhorn Slough.

  • 8


    11 reviews

    It's just a small podunk town, and a historical stagecoach stop, inland from Hwy 1 south of San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. But you'll find enough here to amuse yourself for the day. Go tidepooling at the rocky, windy beaches and visit Point Pigeon Lightstation. Then head downtown for artichoke-cheese bread from Norm's before petting the baby goats and ...

  • 9


    4 reviews

    Nice little beach town south of Santa Cruz. The beach is long and broad with brownish sand. On a clear day you can see all the way to Monterrey.

  • 10

    Carmel Valley

    16 reviews

    This is a beautiful location that usually gets missed because of it's proximity to Carmel, Big Sur, and Monterey. The drive through these roads are unbelievable. Plus, it's getting more known for it's wine and other "fun" stuff.

  • 11


    14 reviews

    Calling itself "Garlick Captial of the World" the smell a garlick smell permeates the air. Most of the world's pickled, minced and powdered garlick comes from Gilroy. It's a place to pause at, look around and, unless one is here for the annual Gilroy Garlick Festival, leave.

  • 12

    Boulder Creek

    3 reviews

    A hellhole, infested with rednecks. This place should be so great. It's a beautiful woman with a personality disorder. Is it drugs, or disenchanted former loggers, or the not-so-hidden white power factions? It's just not a healthy place. It is hard to fathom why this town is so crunky. The redwood trees are beautiful, the proximity to the fantastic Big ...

  • 13


    7 reviews

    Marina is almost a suburb of the more popular Monterey. As you come in on Hwy 1 going north, you're probably looking toward the beach, so you don't notice the strip malls and cheap housing on the other side of the highway.

  • 14
  • 15


    11 reviews

    Its a nice place... Kind of remote but as far as I can tell not much else to it other than being close to monterey and carmel. I still liked it though. And with Steinbeck having grown up there I dont know much else to it.. but I get a sense of old time americana from the area. I can ...

  • 16


    13 reviews

    Seaside is a dinky little beach town next to Monterey. There's nothing else going on there.

  • 17

    San Juan Bautista

    3 reviews

    Something about this town keeps bringing me back, pulling me off Hwy 101 to its old-fashioned Wild West downtown. Everyone flocks to the old Spanish colonial mission that starred in Hitchcock's classic thriller "Vertigo". But there are other reasons to stick around afterward, like the antiques shops, quaint garden restaurants and a state historic park. Pick up a loaf of ...

  • 18


    1 review

    they grow great strawberries

  • 19


    6 reviews

    Davenport is beautiful and wild. Walk along the bluffs overlooking the ocean and you will more likely than not see migrating whales spouting. If you descend to the beaches bring some layers as it gets cold anytime, and dont forget to pack your trash out. Be very careful swimming here, the water is treacherous as well as very cold. The ...

  • 20


    1 review

    Decent little town, good for a quick stop for supplies before your hike at the Pinnacles.

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