MONTEREY COUNTY

County Offices
168 West Alisal Street
Salinas 831-755-5115
www.co.monterey.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
243 El Dorado Street
Monterey 831-648-5350
www.montereychamber.com

Services
The Transportation Agency for Monterey County (TAMC) has worked diligently to  ensure that residents have consistent access to a safe and efficient transportation network. Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) also offers comprehensive bus service to the greater Monterey and Salinas areas. In the summer months, MST also operates “WAVE” a continuous, circular express route from downtown Monterey through Pacific Grove to a variety of popular locations. On the roadway, coastal Highway 1 runs from San Francisco to Los Angeles while Highway 101 transverses the valley corridor of the county.

For travel outside the region, the Monterey Peninsula Airport is located just four miles from Monterey and 19 miles from Salinas. With several regional airlines serving the airport directly, connections are available to an unlimited list of global destinations. Offering comprehensive flight schedules and a host of domestic and international airlines, the Oakland, San Francisco, and San Jose International Airports are all located within a two-hour drive from home. On the rails, Amtrak’s Coast Starlight train stops in Salinas daily on its north and south route to Los Angeles and Seattle.

Education
In addition to 24 local public school districts and an impressive selection of private, parochial, and charter schools, Monterey County is home to an outstanding collection of junior colleges and four-year institutions. As part of the outstanding California State University system, California State University-Monterey Bay serves students with a 1,365-acre campus and twelve undergraduate majors. Additional opportunities for higher education include Central Coast College, Monterey College of Law, the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey Institute of International Studies, and Hopkin’s Marine Station of Stanford University.

For students seeking a convenient and affordable first step towards a four-year degree, several community colleges are located throughout the county. As one of the 107 colleges in the California Community College System, Monterey Peninsula College ensures students an easy transfer to a four-year institution.

Also a popular choice, Hartnell Community College serves over 8,000 students in the Salinas Valley each year with Associate’s degrees in arts and sciences, certifications, and career programs.

 

Quality of Life
Nestled along the pristine shores of Monterey Bay, Monterey County enjoys an  ideal location a little more than halfway between the metropolitan cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco. Here, residents are afforded an unparalleled coastal lifestyle complete with a wide range of natural environments, abundant recreational activities, exquisite arts and culture, one-of-a-kind shopping destinations, and unique community festivals. For outdoor adventures, Andrew Molera State Park, Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Point Lobos State Reserve offer camping, hiking and picnicking facilities, while Marina, Monterey, and Salinas River State Beaches are popular destinations for fun in the sun.

For golf enthusiasts, Monterey County is a virtual paradise. Graced by gorgeous weather and superb scenery, the greens and fairways in Pebble Beach are among the most highly rated courses in the world. In addition, dozens of other public and private courses are scattered throughout the county.

For shoppers, Cannery Row, The Barnyard Shopping Village, Carmel Plaza, and the Del Monte Center all offer a pleasing mix of department stores, popular name-brand outlets, and specialty shops. If you enjoy artistic delights, few places can rival the streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea, brimming with 90 art galleries and hundreds of unique boutiques.

Heading inland, Salinas Valley, known as the, “Salad Bowl of the World,” treats residents to rolling fields, fresh picked produce, farm tours, and award-winning wineries.

 

Big Sur
County Offices
831-755-5115
www.co.monterey.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-648-5350
www.montereychamber.com

Well known for its stunning beauty, the  unincorporated community of Big Sur lies along one of the most famous stretches of the Pacific coast. Big Sur’s northernmost tip is located four miles from Carmel at Point Lobos. Henry Miller– writer, artist, and one of Big Sur’s most famous residents–described the area as “….region where one is always conscious of eloquent science…the face of the Earth as the Creator intended it to look.” Big Sur’ main thoroughfare, Highway 1, offers many roadside turn-outs that overlook the majestic beauty of the coastline.

The Bixby Bridge, a world-famous, 714-foot, single span bridge, is one of the community’s most cherished landmarks. Completed in 1932, the bridge has played an integral part of California’s first Scenic Highway. The Henry Miller Memorial Library is also located in Big Sur. The facility is home to records celebrating the life and work of Miller. The community’s largest annual event is undoubtedly the Big Sur International Marathon. Held each April, the marathon draws athletes from around the world and offers runners the unique experience of running, “In the very edge of the Western World.”

 

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Municipal Offices
831-620-2000
http://ci.carmel.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-624-2522
www.carmelchamber.org

Carmel-by-the-Sea is located in a   lush, green setting just off Highway 1, five miles south of Monterey and 26 miles north of Big Sur. Resembling a quaint, European-style village, Carmel is best known for its winding tree-lined streets, fine restaurants, cozy inns, and unique boutiques. With its breathtaking natural beauty, the community has historically drawn artists from around the world. Today, nearly 90 art galleries are located throughout the village.

Also known for its outstanding selection of performing arts, Carmel is home to California’s first outdoor amphitheater, the Forest Theater. A popular venue for local productions, the theater hosts Carmel’s Shakespeare Festival each summer. In addition, the city’s city center for the arts, The Sunset Cultural Center, hosts the Carmel Bach Festival as well as year-round symphonies, chamber concerts, and various other performances.

Boasting a rich historical flavor, Carmel is home to such sites as the Carmel Mission Basilica and Museum. Located on Rio Road off Highway 1, California’s second mission was built in 1771. Carmel is also home to the crown jewel of the state park system, Point Lobos State Reserve. Located four miles south of Carmel, the reserve is a panoramic mile-long coastal strand of bold headlands, irregular coves, and rolling meadows.

 

Carmel Valley
County Offices
831-755-5115
www.co.monterey.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-659-4000
http://www.carmelvalleychamber.com/

Carmel Valley is an unincorporated  township comprised of fertile valleys and sprawling ranches, located 12 miles east of Carmel. Located off Carmel Valley Road, this bucolic hamlet enjoys a rare small-town, rural atmosphere. Nestled in this uniquely pastoral setting, Carmel Valley boasts a charming, friendly downtown area.

As the center of Monterey County’s wine country, this area is home to several tasting rooms, fine resorts, and elegant restaurants. With its inland location and 283 days of sunshine each year, Carmel Valley had become known as the “sunbelt” of the Monterey Peninsula. Generally, the weather in Carmel Valley is warmer and sunnier than the rest of Monterey County.

Offering prime terrain and weather for golf, Carmel Valley is home to three championship golf courses; Carmel Valley Ranch Resort, Quail Lodge, and Rancho Canada. The Carmel River runs through the middle of Carmel Valley until it blends with the Pacific Ocean at Carmel Bay. Carmel Valley is home to Garland Ranch Regional Park. Situated in a pastoral, green meadow alongside the shimmering Carmel River, the park is home to rolling grasslands, dense oak woodlands, trails for hikers and horseback riders, and several animal habitats.

 

Castroville
County Offices
831-755-5115
www.co.monterey.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-633-2465
www.northmontereycountychamber.org

Founded in 1863, Castroville is the  second oldest town in Monterey County. The town’s farming heritage began with hay, grain, and dairy farms, but it was the artichoke that made the area famous. Today, Castroville is best known as the “
Artichoke Capital of the World.”

Ranchers first began growing artichokes in Castroville as long ago as 1924. Today, March through May is peak artichoke season, ending with the colorful extravaganza of the annual Artichoke Festival each spring. Residents of Castroville enjoy the legendary artichokes as well as other fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year. Scattered across the region, roadside stands offer everything from artichokes and lettuce to fresh, juicy strawberries.

Castroville is also known regionally as the home of the unique Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge. Here, hikers can access a tranquil isolated beach as well as the mouth of the Salinas River, which is just south of the Salinas River State Beach. This refuge is acclaimed as a paradise for bird watchers. In fact, in the course of the year over 230 bird species seek out the tranquility and safety of the refuge.

Biking enthusiasts appreciate the Castroville-Marina Bike Trail. This modern trail takes bikers on a scenic journey from the shore to the heart of North Monterey County.

 

Chular
Chular is conveniently located along  U.S. Highway 101 in Salinas Valley, the heart of Monterey County’s agricultural industry. With just 1,000 residents, the community retains an intimate spirit and is still classified as an unincorporated urban center. The town took its name from an expansive Native American rancheria that was first discovered and identified by Spanish padres during the time they were constructing California missions throughout the region.

In 1874, the markings for the town were laid out by local, David Jacks, on a portion of his area ranch. With the introduction of the railroad to Salinas Valley, Chular became a peaceful and attractive place to settle. Today’s residents are still proud to call Chular home. They enjoy an unparalleled small-town lifestyle in the heart of the open countryside.

 

Gonzales
Municipal Offices
831-675-5000
www.ci.gonzales.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-675-9019
http://gonzales-ca-chamber.org

Located at the heart of the 90-mile  long Salinas Valley, 17 miles south of Salinas and 29 miles north of King City, Gonzales is shadowed by the Gabilan Mountains to the east and San Lucias to the west. While the city was incorporated in 1947, its roots date back to 1872 when Southern Pacific Railroad laid tracks through the area.

Sharing in Salinas Valley’s rich soil, agriculture remains the predominant industry in Gonzales. The row crop method of farming began in 1930 and the land surrounding the city still grows lettuce, strawberries, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, celery, and grapes. A number of agricultural related industries are also found in Gonzales, including winery services and packing companies. In recent years, Gonzales has been elevated to the status of the “Wine Capital of Monterey County.”  The population of Gonzales has doubled in the last ten years and the community is poised for future growth. Residents are afforded every amenity. Centennial Park provides youth baseball fields as well as a public pool, while Central Park offers picnic grounds, playground, sand volleyball pit, barbecue areas, and basketball courts. In addition, Meyer Park offers many amenities including a collegiate-size soccer field.

 

Greenfield
Municipal Offices
831-674-5591
www.ci.greenfield.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-674-5591
www.ci.greenfield.ca.us

Proud of its centralized location, Greenfield is known as the “Heart of the Salinas Valley.” In 1905, an ambitious irrigation system was designed to draw water from the Arroyo Seco River rather than the centrally located Salinas River. This gave Greenfield its unique South County position. Today, Greenfield is the youngest of the settled areas in South County.

Current housing and business developments and a redevelopment agency are making Greenfield one of the fastest growing communities in California. A point of community pride, the 7,152-square-foot Greenfield Library features a large community meeting room, children’s room, a study room, a homework center, and a media room.

A number of recreational sites are located in close proximity to Greenfield. The scenic Arroyo Seco Recreation Area to the west provides access to Carmel Valley and Oak Park, to the east, offers residents the use of picnic tables, tennis courts, and a swimming pool. Pinnacles National Monument borders the nearby town of Soledad and San Lorenzo Park, the San Antonio Mission, and Lakes San Antonio and Nacimiento lay to the south. Other popular destinations are Memorial Hall, Maggini Park, Jekel Vineyard, and Scheid Vineyards in King City.

 

King City
Municipal Offices
831-385-3281
www.kingcity.com

Chamber of Commerce
831-385-3814
www.kingcitychamber.com

Located in Monterey County’s  southern region along Highway 101, King City boasts a rich agricultural heritage. A visit to the San Lorenzo Park and Agriculture Museum on the banks of the Salinas River provides an insight into the agrarian past of King City. Here, California’s old west and the lifestyle of its cattle ranchers and wheat farmers are explored through interesting exhibits and unique displays of antiquated farming tools and equipment.

Today, the area still boasts some of the richest soil in the world and is defined by its endless miles of thriving crops. The city’s economic base continues to be dependent on agriculture, with food processing and packaging as primary sources of employment.

Offering a delightful small-town feeling, King City boasts fantastic residential amenities. The recreation department for the city offers a full range of sports for all ages, tennis courts, racquetball courts, a Little League park, soccer fields, municipal parks, and a swimming pool complex. The city also operates a recreation center open daily that provides activities for children in the summer. In addition, the community celebrates Valley Heritage Day each July 4th.

 

Marina
Municipal Offices
831-884-1278
https://cityofmarina.org/

Chamber of Commerce
831-272-4557
www.marinachamber.com

Incorporated in 1975, the City of Marina is the youngest of the Monterey Peninsula communities. The city enjoys an idyllic, coastal location, situated on a series of gently rolling hills just minutes from Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel. Marina’s scenic terrain complements the city’s several parks and public recreation facilities.

Most notably, Marina is home to Marina State Beach, one of the county’s most popular shoreline destinations. The area offers an endless stretch of sandy beach as well as a meandering boardwalk through the scenic Marina Dunes Natural Preserve. Locke-Paddon Park, in Marina, is one of the few remaining wetland preserves in North America and is a popular destination for bird watchers, hikers, and naturalists.

Marina is also home to the former Fort Ord. With its 8,000 acres now deeded to the Bureau of Land Management, the area includes a large conservancy offering public hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails. Visitors will also enjoy blooming wildflowers in the spring as well as waterfowl, shore birds, and other wildlife. The beach and the surrounding areas, with their breezy coastal climate, are also popular with air sport enthusiasts. While Marina State Beach is known for hang-gliding, the Marina Municipal Airport offers sail planes, ballooning, skydiving, and helicopter rides.

 

Monterey
Municipal Offices
831-646-3760
www.monterey.org

Chamber of Commerce
831-648-5350
www.montereychamber.com

The City of Monterey is a vibrant, historic community situated on majestic coastline in the southernmost curve of Monterey Bay. Boasting a colorful history, Monterey was the capital of the state’s Spanish territory in its early days. Today, the city’s “Path of History” tour encompasses the city’s impressive collection of carefully restored historic buildings and Spanish adobes. The city’s most famous landmark, however, is undoubtedly the blue-green waters of Monterey Bay. The most popular attractions are located along this shoreline, including Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, the very lively downtown district, and the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Internationally known for its mild Mediterranean climate, spectacular vistas, championship golf, historic attractions, and festive annual events, Monterey draws thousands of visitors from across the country each year. Newcomers to the city will find themselves fortunate enough to enjoy these amenities every day. In September, Monterey hosts the Monterey Jazz Festival, a 12-concert, three-day event. The city’s Maritime Museum celebrates Monterey’s seafaring heritage. Other attractions include Laguna Seca Raceway, a legendary racetrack that hosts five major events each year.

 

Moss Landing
County Offices
831-755-5115
www.co.monterey.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-633-4501
www.mosslandingchamber.com

Moss Landing, joining with the communities of Castroville and  Prunedale, serves as the gateway to Monterey County from the north and is referred to as part of North Monterey County. Captain Charles Moss founded Moss Landing when he built a cargo shipping facility here in the 1850s that serviced the gold boom in San Francisco. This area also flourished as a whaling station.

Likened to a New England fishing village, today, Moss Landing is still a working port with a busy harbor, but also features public beaches, boat ramp, storefronts, and a wide variety of popular restaurants. A community known for its abundant antique stores, more than 20 antique shops are open for business year-round.

In addition, Moss Landing is home to the annual Moss Landing Antique Street Fair. Each year exhibitors from across California converge to exhibit and sell their treasures. Elkhorn Slough, North Monterey County’s National Estuarine Sanctuary, lies just inland from the yacht harbor and commercial fishing of Moss Landing. A tranquil aquatic wildlife sanctuary, the slough is home to more than 250 species of birds. The community is also home to the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and Moss Landing Wildlife Area.

 

Pacific Grove
Municipal Offices
831-648-3100
www.ci.pg.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-373-3304
800-656-6650
www.pacificgrove.org

Locally known as PG, Pacific Grove is a charming Victorian village located at the northernmost tip of the Monterey Peninsula. Known for its favorable, old-fashioned atmosphere, Pacific Grove has been nicknamed “Butterfly Town USA.” Taking pride in the thousands of Monarch butterflies that migrate to George Washington Park and Monarch Grove Sanctuary each year, in October the city celebrates with a Butterfly Parade and Bazaar. The community is also home to the yearly “Good Old Days Celebration.”

Once a Methodist retreat, Pacific Grove still provides a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere. Ocean Boulevard, perched along the coast, provides some of the city’s most impressive ocean views. The city’s Museum of Natural History, one of the finest of its size in the nation, houses life-size sculpture of a gray whale as well as exhibits on local wildlife, Native Americans, and geology.

Pacific Grove is home to the Point Pinos Lighthouse, distinguished as the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast. The housing stock in Pacific Grove is defined by the city’s large selection of graceful, old Victorian homes. Most of these impressive structures date back as far as 1880. Lining the streets of Pacific Grove’s downtown area, most homes display plaques that are engraved with the original owners’ names and construction dates.

 

Pebble Beach
Pebble Beach is an unincorporated  residential and resort area located on the southern tip of the Monterey Peninsula, west of Monterey and north of Carmel-by-the-Sea. The words “Pebble Beach” are synonymous with golf. Here, golf is not just a pastime, it is star-studded, championship caliber, and legendary. Pebble Beach is home to seven world-famous public and private courses, with the most famous being Pebble Beach Golf Links. The other grand names of golf are Spyglass Hill, Poppy Hills, the Links at Spanish Bay, and the private Cypress Point. This gated community is nestled in the lush Del Monte Forest.

The Lone Cypress, one of California’s most famous landmarks, is found along the shores of Pebble Beach. This remarkable old cypress tree stands against the Pacific Ocean clinging to a seemingly bare rock. Over the years, this single tree has come to symbolize Pebble Beach and has inspired many regional artists. Pebble Beach is also known for its scenic 17-Mile Drive. A private toll road, this stretch of roadway explores some of the most impressive housing and spectacular vistas in Monterey County. Drivers will also pass Bird and Seal Rocks, home to countless shoreline birds and herds of sea lions.

 

Salinas
Municipal Offices
831-758-7381
www.cityofsalinas.org

Chamber of Commerce
831-751-7725
www.salinaschamber.com

Salinas serves as the county seat of Monterey County. Located in what is referred to as the Salinas Valley, Salinas is located on Highway 1 and is accessed by traveling on Highway 68 east from the Monterey Peninsula. Offering a distinct inland environment, Salinas is surrounded by rolling hills, agricultural fields, and rivers.

One of the most modern attractions in Salinas is the National Steinbeck Center. This 37,000-square foot museum and cultural center was built to celebrate and honor the life and works of the area’s own legend, author John Steinbeck. Visitors to the center enjoy interactive exhibits, a changing gallery, an entire wing of agricultural displays, a gift shop, and an inviting restaurant.

Known as the “Salad Bowl of the World,” the Salinas Valley produces numerous fruits and vegetables including broccoli, lettuce, artichokes, strawberries, and carrots. As the fuel behind Monterey County’s economy, agriculture is the county’s leading industry grossing $2 billion annually. Salinas residents benefit from this agricultural environment through roadside stands, “you pick” farms, farmer’s markets, wineries, and local restaurants that serve the freshest produce available.

Community annual events include the California Rodeo, the California International Air Show, the Steinbeck Festival, and Cherry’s Jubilee.

 

Sand City
Municipal Offices
831-394-3054
www.sandcity.org

Chamber of Commerce
831-394-6501
www.thechamberoffice.org

The burgeoning community of Sand   City is situated just north of Seaside and enjoys a great location overlooking the waters of Monterey Bay. A community that harmonizes residential neighborhoods with prime commercial districts, Sand City is home to popular shopping areas like Sand Dollar Plaza and Edgewater on Monterey Bay. These retail centers are even more successful because they represent the only regional retail centers on the Monterey Peninsula. The city also boasts a light industrial park that consists of relatively small manufacturing businesses. Although the resident population of Sand City is just over 200, more than 4,000 people travel here for employment.

Sand City derives its name from the rolling, sandy dunes that line the community and the sand-mining operations that once took place along the shoreline. Remnants of dunes that once stretched as far inland as the Salinas Valley, this unique sand dune landscape rises as high as 50 feet in some places. Additionally, the city boasts 1.5 miles of pristine coastline as well as a scenic coastal recreation trail.

Looking to the future, Sand City is being re-planned for an ultimate permanent population of 1,300. The city is taking advantage of its ideal bayside location as it continues to cultivate its reputation as a retail and resort destination.

 

Seaside
Municipal Offices
831-899-6700
www.ci.seaside.ca.us

Chamber of Commerce
831-394-6501
www.thechamberoffice.org

Seaside is second only to Monterey  as the most populated city on the Monterey Peninsula. The city prides itself as the most friendly to business, and the community that is most service minded. Perched atop rolling hills with an elevation ranging from four to 400 feet above sea level, the city offers outstanding views of Monterey Bay and the peninsula skyline. The city also shares the sandy terrain of nearby Sand City and Marina. With its favorable location and amenities, the city is rapidly growing as both a residential and commercial community. Seaside was the chosen location for the newest university in the acclaimed California State University system, California State University-Monterey Bay.

The city’s thriving business sector is supported by small, family-owned businesses and several authentic ethnic restaurants. The city also claims the second largest automobile center in the world. To meet the needs of residents for prime facilities, the city offers 16 public parks, Laguna Grande Lake, hiking trails, athletic fields, and a wildlife habitat.

Characterized as a family-friendly community, Seaside is also home to the Boys and Girls Club of Monterey Peninsula, the Seaside Youth Center, and the award-winning Bayonet and Blackhorse Golf Courses. Weekends commonly bring a variety of activities that involve the entire community, from the Monterey Bay Rib Cookoff to Fall Fun Fest and Bed Races, or the Seaside Jazz Art Show.

 

Soledad
Municipal Offices
831-223-5000
www.cityofsoledad.com

Chamber of Commerce
831-678-3941
http://soledadchamber.com

As one of California’s most rapidly  growing communities, the City of Soledad has evolved into a thriving educational and tourism center in recent years. Situated in the lush Salinas Valley between the Gabilan and San Lucia mountain ranges, Soledad’s history dates back as far as the 18th century. Incorporated in 1921, the city was named for the nearby Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad. Several historic sites throughout the city still stand in remembrance of the city’s colorful past. Other attractions include the caves and cliffs of Pinnacles National Monument and the restored adobes of the Soledad Mission.

Soledad is also well known for its wineries. Several tasting rooms can be found in the downtown area while several vineyards dot the beautiful countryside. In recent years, the area’s agricultural economy has expanded into other industries and Soledad has evolved into a vibrant well-rounded community.

Keeping pace with the city’s growth, new housing communities offer a variety of styles that are popular with growing families. Families enjoy Blas Santana, Vosti, and Lum Parks. Soledad also claims the largest free public library in the county.

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