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Beautiful Monterey

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Located along California’s beautiful Central Coast region just 120 miles south of San Francisco, 70 miles south of San Jose and 345 miles north of Los Angeles, Monterey is one of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations, playing host to just over 8 million annual visitors from across the U.S. and abroad.

The Native Americans were the original inhabitants of the area, and in the early-1500s the Spaniards began arriving in what was now California in search of new territory, to expand enterprises, and establish religious missions, among other desires. In the early 1600s a strong military presence by the Spanish marked the landscape, and 1770 marked Monterey’s official founding and its position as a major port city. 

By the early 1800s, California had come under Mexican rule and a few decades later switched hands again to the Americans, who in 1849 named Monterey as the state capital. Right about that time, the city’s Fisherman’s Wharf took on increasing role as a major West Coast hub for trading vessels and whaling ships from around the world.

As the city and surrounding area continued to expand, the number of denizens did as well—aided in part by a large influx of folks during the California Gold Rush era—and both have continued to flourish ever since.

To give you a bit of a visual perspective, Monterey County is comprised of four regions and 12 incorporated cities: Monterey Peninsula (Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Carmel Valley, Seaside, Marina, Sand City, Del Rey Oaks and Pebble Beach); Big Sur; North County (Marina, Moss Landing, Prunedale and Castroville); and the Salinas Valley (Salinas, Soledad, Gonzales, Greenfield and King City).

Together, it is approximately the size of Delaware with a population hovering somewhere near 450,000 people, the city of Monterey itself possessing a population of just over 30,000.

For city and county this size, Monterey has a great deal to offer. From golf to historic attractions, shopping, wildlife exploration, culinary and wine adventures and events, music festivals and nightlife, family fun, sporting events, and more you will find a wealth of each here.

A great resource for your exploration of the Monterey Bay area is by embarking upon any one of the city’s guided and self-guided tours offered through their history website. On the site and tours, visitors can explore the city’s historic missions, 19th century buildings, heritage sites and landmarks, distinctive museums, and more.

Each of the area’s many historic structures reveal a unique aspect of the region’s early history and development.

The Monterey Custom House, built in 1827, still stands today as the oldest public building in the state. And the Pacific House Museum is a wonderful repository of Native American, Spanish, and Mexican history in this area, as well as its former “lives” as a courthouse, tavern, hotel and US Army storage facility since it was built in 1847.

Believe it or not, the Cemetery Historic Tour also provides a fascinating look at the many personalities including early pioneers, architects, business men and women, artisans, writers, actors, and others that helped shape every aspect of the landscape here.

The  Presidio of Monterey Museum not only serves as a repository for Monterey’s military history dating back to the early Native Americans through today, but most of its exhibits focus on the present day development of the Presidio as a military training base.

This is just the beginning of all the history, past and present, that awaits visitors to Monterey.

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