A moment's rest
Whatever your fancy,
Monterey has a place to unwind
Don't want to go far and don't care about literary stimulation? Monterey Bay has plenty to offer, from more than 15 state parks and beaches just around the bay itself, to the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, to dozens of golf courses (can you say "Pebble Beach"?).
The surf on the bay offers swimming, fishing, surfing, diving, sailing or just plain lazing around, and the entire coast, from San Francisco through Monterey to Cambria in San Luis Obispo County, makes up the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the largest such sanctuary in the world.
The gateway to the sanctuary is the Monterey Bay Aquarium (886 Cannery Row). Visitors to the aquarium come face to face with more than 350,000 water creatures in exhibits including a million-gallon indoor ocean, a three-story kelp forest, and re-creations of shallow tide pools.
In nearby Pacific Grove, the West Coast's oldest still-active lighthouse shines from the northernmost tip of Monterey Peninsula. Point Pinos light was constructed in 1855, and is surrounded by a golf course.
Pacific Grove has gained the nickname "Butterfly Town" because thousands of orange and black Monarch butterflies spend the winter there. The Butterfly Sanctuary is located on Ridge Road near Lighthouse Avenue.
The Maritime Museum of Monterey (5 Custom House Plaza) houses extensive exhibits of the seafaring history of the West Coast. The museum is associated with the Monterey History and Art Association.
Still more history lives at Colton Hall (Madison and Pacific Streets), now a museum, where California's first constitutional convention was held in 1849. Admission is free.
Monterey's rich history can be traced easily on the Path of History. The two-mile walking tour passes more than three dozen noted sites, including Fisherman's Wharf, once the center of Monterey's booming shipping trade and now a collection of shops and restaurants. You can follow the path yourself -- using the tile sidewalk markers -- or take a guided tour from the State Park Visitors Center at the Maritime Museum (For information, call (408) 649-7118).
Next door in Carmel, where actor Clint Eastwood once served as mayor, Monterey State Historic Park features museums and early displays of California's history. Carmel itself sets the standard for seaside village quaint -- save for the hordes of tourists on its narrow, shaded sidewalks.