Monterey: Top Attractions

Monterrey Harbor
Monterey Harbor  (Corel)

Casa Palmero Resort
Sun-drenched patios, manicured grounds, and an elegant Mediterranean vibe reel you in at Casa Palmero, setting the standard for personal service, privacy, and comfort in Monterey. Located along the first and second fairway of the revered Pebble Beach Golf Links, accommodations here top out at the Main House, which includes a heated outdoor pool, living room, dining room, and billiard room.

Post Ranch Inn
Tucked into the cliffs of Big Sur, this small, luxurious inn offers the ultimate romantic getaway. Conveniently set just off Highway 1, the inn's location is perfect for cruising through postcard-perfect towns, exploring the natural world, or simply enjoying the property's pools, spa, yoga classes, and its world-class restaurant. Surrounded by rustic elegance and the dramatic beauty of the Pacific coastline, you can't help but appreciate the hotel's organic architecture.

Ventana Inn
The ultimate in relaxation and luxury, the Ventana offers a rustic atmosphere dosed with a healthy quotient of romance. On the hillside of Big Sur spread across 243 acres fronting the Pacific, the hotel offers a myriad of spacious suites, villas, and guestrooms. You never have to leave the grounds since the inn boasts a famed restaurant, two pools, Japanese hot baths, a spa, yoga classes, and breakfast.

Inn at Spanish Bay
This hotel, framed by the Del Monte Forest on one side and the Pacific coastline on the other, appeals to relaxation hounds and world-class golfers. A luxurious enclave surrounded by groves of Monterrey pines, most of the inn's rooms and suites have balconies or porches—all the better to drink in the views over afternoon cocktails.

Links at Spanish Bay
Picture this: undulating fairways of lush green edging the sea, steady ocean breezes blowing in off the ocean, rustling beach grasses, and sand stretching out on all sides of you. Welcome to the Links of Spanish Bay. Designed to imitate the original Scottish golf courses dating back to the 1500s, the Links is keen on environmental awareness and preservation. With a championship rating of 74.1, the 6,821-yard course is not for the faint of heart.
Links at Spanish Bay: 831.647.7500,

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Consistently voted as one of America's top courses, Pebble Beach hosts some of golf's most prestigious tournaments. Even Jack Nicklaus says that if he had only "one more round to play, [he'd] choose to play it at Pebble Beach." Set against the rugged Pacific coastline, the course is challenging to players of all levels. And for spectators, cliff-side fairways and sloping greens compete with beautiful vistas and ocean breezes to distract your attention from watching the championship play. The 6,737-yard course has a championship rating of 73.8.
Pebble Beach Golf Links: 800.654.9300,

Located in the heart of Carmel Valley, this private 330-acre estate includes a Mediterranean style mansion, elegant guesthouses and an owner's cottage. They're all surrounded by lush English gardens and manicured lawns. But you needn't be lulled into mere relaxation here; for a bit of activity, enjoy the pools, tennis, archery, and the four-hole golf course. Most notably, though, the estate boasts a working thoroughbred equestrian farm complete with a polo field and racetracks.

17-Mile Drive
It's what road trips were made for. But there's one problem—it's "only" 17 miles. At first blush, this distance seems too short. But you are on vacation….take the pedal off the metal and enjoy yourself. The assets of this drive will help distract you from the lack of speed. From the famed lone cypress and thousands of wildflowers to seals and sea otters, this is a must-drive. Along the way, you'll pass through the serene majesty of the Del Monte Forest, the jagged beauty of the Pacific coastline, and past the lush fairways of legendary golf courses.
17-Mile Drive: 831.647.7500,

Big Sur and Pacific Coast Highway
From Carmel to San Simeon, Big Sur offers, quite simply, one of America's best drives, period. Highway 1 itself offers a vacation within a vacation. At the northern end of the central region, Andrew Molera State Park offers jogging, biking, and horseback riding. The southern end is anchored by the earthy Esalen Institute. In between is heaven on earth, a road dotted with sweeping beaches and parks (like Point Lobos State Reserve), hiking trails, and waterfalls. Not to mention grandstanding views and heart-stopping, plunging cliffs.
Additional Info: 916.653.6995,

Esalen Institute
In need of some realigning, relaxation, and rejuvenation? East meets West at Esalen, a retreat center that offers over 400 body-wellness workshops. Glorious vistas and tranquil vibes implore you to shed a few layers of awareness and stay awhile. Rustic wood, stone, and glass pervade this mineral-bath mecca where indoor and outdoor baths, hot springs, and massage rooms are sprinkled throughout the property.
Esalen Institute: 831.667.3000,

Published: 26 Apr 2005 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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