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- 06 Apr 2020, 3 nights
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The Monterey area is a perfect balance between nature and city.... More...
Discover some of the best scenery and road trips on the USA's Californian coast in Monterey. Just a short trip south of San Francisco, this arty seaside town combines history, art and nature. The colourful waterfront buildings, which were once canneries and fisherman's huts, are now places to grab a bite while looking out over the Pacific. Outside of town you'll find small vineyards, hiking trails along the coastal cliffs and a Spanish mission house that doubles up as a local history museum.
Hostels in Monterey range from classic roadside motels, cute lodges and a former tree nursery in one of the town's most historic locations. You can start your day in traditional American style with a free breakfast of pancakes and end it with a backyard barbecue. Some Monterey hostels make the most of the Californian sunshine with outdoor swimming pools. There's usually free Wi-Fi at Monterey's hostels and lots have free parking for those road-tripping down the coast.
In downtown Monterey, the area around Alvarado Street is the main spot for shopping and eating. The quaint Spanish colonial-style buildings are home to independent shops, craft beer bars and traditional diners serving American comfort food. Fisherman's Wharf is just a few minutes' walk to the north. From here you can take a boat tour around the peninsula, pick up some souvenirs or try local calamari and chowder in the seafood restaurants.
Monterey still has a working harbour, which is the perfect place to see the bustling heart of the town. Get there as the boats land their catch and you might spot wild sea lions and otters frolicking in the water. At night, the former sardine-packing factories of Cannery Row come to life with vibrant bars, clubs and restaurants. Hiring a car for a trip to 17-Mile Drive around the Monterey Peninsula is a scenic way to spend a morning, passing sights like the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and the Del Monte Forest.
Most people fly into San Francisco International Airport, where you can catch the Monterey Airbus. This direct service can take anywhere from 45 minutes to just over 2 hours, depending on traffic. The nearest Greyhound bus station is in Salinas, with a connecting bus that takes around an hour. Monterey is easy to walk around and there's a free vintage trolley that runs between downtown Monterey, Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row.