Carmel to Santa Cruz

You will feel like a 16th century Spanish maritime explorer as you discover the beauty of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach, Monterey, Santa Cruz and the Monterey Bay coastline.

Share this
View MAP

1 Carmel Beach at Sunset in Carmel, California

With a name like Carmel-by-the-Sea, you’d expect to find gorgeous beaches in this small city on Monterey Peninsula. You will not be disappointed. The crystalline sand at Camel Beach is an ideal place for a sunset stroll as the Pacific Ocean’s waves roll beneath your feet. But when you are planning your trip, be aware that the summer months are not the best: most days are overcast and foggy. The ideal month is in September when it is still warm and usually sunny.

Del Mar Ave Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

2 Carmelite Monastery Chapel in Carmel, California

In 1602, the Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno sailed three ships along Alta California and named some of his discoveries San Diego, Santa Barbara and Monterey. Three Carmelite friars who were aboard named this area near Point Lobos after our Lady of Mount Carmel. Over three hundred years later, this Carmelite monastery was established by Bishop Bernard MacGinley. Since 1925, this location on Monastery Beach has been the home to the Sisters of the Sea, a community of cloistered Catholic nuns.

27601 CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

3 Father Junípero Serra Carving in Carmel, California

This bas relief by artist Paul Whiteman is of Father Junípero Serra. He was an 18th century Franciscan Friar who founded nine Spanish missions along the southern coast of California. His headquarters were at the nearby Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. This artwork was created in 1939 on the façade of the Bank of Carmel. The building is now the Carmel Classics store.

Dolores St & Ocean Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

4 Downtown Fairytale Design Stores in Carmel, California

After Carmel-by-the-Sea was founded in 1902, it soon attracted a large population of artists and writers. Their creative flair is still reflected in homes and stores, many resembling the gingerbread house in Hansel and Gretel. You will enjoy exploring the downtown art galleries and boutiques. Your dog will also like it because most retailers have a bowl of water outside and a treat waiting for your pet inside.

San Carlos St & 6th Ave, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

5 Rolex Clock at Fourtané Jewelers in Carmel, California

Carmel-by-the-Sea is about one mile square but you’ll make a mistake if you rush through its downtown because most of its art galleries and retailers are charming and offer unique merchandise. A great example is beneath this outdoor clock on Ocean Drive and Lincoln Street. Inside Fourtané Jewelers you’ll find over 150 vintage Rolex watches including several historic ones. They also have over 300 new timepieces by the luxury Swiss watchmaker. Together, this collection is one of the best in the world.

Ocean Ave & Lincoln St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

6 Harrison Memorial Library in Carmel, California

The Harrison Memorial Library was named after California Supreme Court Justice Ralph Harrison but is more noteworthy for its construction team. It was designed by Bernard Maybeck who was a 20th century architect responsible for several landmarks in San Francisco. He also mentored some of California’s finest architects while a professor at the University of California, Berkeley. The library was built in 1928 by Michael Murphy. He created over 300 homes and buildings in Carmel. His first was in 1902 when he was only 17.

Ocean Ave & Lincoln St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

7 WWI Memorial Bell Tower in Carmel, California

This Carmel War Memorial was designed and built by a famous architect named Charles Greene in 1922 as a tribute to World War I veterans. Every Memorial Day, the bell in this tower is rung during a ceremony that honors fallen soldiers and then a wreath is placed at its stone base. It is located on a median at Ocean Avenue and San Carlos Street in the heart of downtown.

Ocean Ave & San Carlos St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93921
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

8 Golf Swing Sculpture at Peter Hay Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California

There are eight golf courses in the small Pebble Beach community and four are owned by Pebble Beach Company including the Peter Hay Golf Course where this 15 foot golf swing sculpture stands. It was created by Richard MacDonald who is famous for his human figures in motion. The 10,000 pound sculpture was erected in 2000 to help celebrate the 100th U.S. Open Golf Championship.

Ondulado Rd & Portola Rd, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

9 Ghost Tree at Sunset on 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, California

The 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Monterey is one of California’s most scenic routes along the Pacific Ocean. If you reach Pescadero Point around sunset, then this Ghost Tree looks especially haunted. The dead cypress is rumored to attract a supernatural “Lady in Lace.” She has been seen wandering along this Pebble Beach shore on foggy nights. And the massive waves out front have killed even experienced surfers. So enjoy the Ghost Tree’s shadowy and eerie beauty if you dare.

Pescadero Point 3290 17 Mile Dr, Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

10 The Lone Cypress at Sunset on 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, California

The Lone Cypress on the 17-Mile Drive is not only a landmark but also the logo for nearby Pebble Beach Golf Links. For about 250 years, this single Monterey cypress has been perched on this granite promontory with a commanding view of the Pacific Ocean.

3220 17 Mile Dr Pebble Beach, CA 93953
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

11 Chinese Fishermen Mural in Monterey, California

In the mid to late 1800s, Portuguese used this beach to launch their boats into Monterey Bay in order to harpoon whales. The land was purchased in the early 1900s by John McAbee who then leased his building to Chinese fishermen after their village was destroyed in 1906. Today, these blocks and mural on McAbee Beach are all that remain of that early 20th century history.

600 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

12 McAbee Beach Along Monterey Bay in Monterey, California

There are several large and popular beaches in Monterey but I prefer to find the small gems like the sandy shore at McAbee Beach. It is only a quarter acre in size but it is the perfect place for scuba divers, kayakers, families or a solitary stroll. And if you get hungry, it is only a short walk to the restaurants along Cannery Row.

600 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

13 Monterey Canning Company in Monterey, California

Chinese fisherman arrived along Monterey Bay during the 1850s but it wouldn’t be until 1908 when the first commercial sardine cannery opened followed quickly by others. They thrived during WWI but began to disappear when the fish did towards the end of WWII, leaving the waterfront abandoned. Then, in 1968, the Sardine Factory restaurant opened and soon more entrepreneurs converted old buildings like the 1918 Monterey Canning Company into magnets for tourists.

711 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

14 John Steinbeck Statue in Monterey, California

This life-size sculpture of John Steinbeck sits on top of the Cannery Row Monument that was erected in 2014. He was an author and Nobel Prize winner who wrote many of his famous novels when he lived nearby in Pacific Grove during the 1930s. Two of his novels, “Cannery Row” (1945) and “Sweet Thursday” (1954) featured characters that were based on his friends from Ocean View Avenue that’s now called Cannery Row. Some of those people were also memorialized in bronze by artist Steven Whyte below this writer’s statue.

698 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

15 John Steinbeck Plaza in Monterey, California

Cannery Row in Monterey, California, is relatively small. Yet there are lots of restaurants, shops and history to explore along this 26 acre waterfront including a world-class aquarium. When your feet get sore or the kids get cranky, head towards the John Steinbeck Plaza. A few steps to the right of this photo there is a park-like setting providing a great, panoramic view of Monterey Bay.

698 Cannery Row Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

16 Pacific Biological Laboratories in Monterey, California

If you ever read John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel “Cannery Row,” then you know this business as the fictional “Western Biological Laboratory.” Ed Ricketts, who was a marine biologist and the founder of the real Pacific Biological Laboratories, was the character Doc in the book. During the l940’s, Steinbeck, Henry Miller and other local artists used this laboratory for their social meetings. Steinbeck’s wife, Carol, was a secretary and bookkeeper here.

800 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

17 Mack and the Boys Mural in Monterey, California

John Steinbeck claimed to write fiction but what made his novel “Cannery Row” so powerful is that most of the characters were based on real people who lived and worked around the canneries during the 1930s and 1940s. This life-size mural by John Cerney is based on a black and white photo of Gabe Bicknell who was the character “Mack” and his homeless friends that he called “the boys.”

52 Irving Ave Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

18 Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California

Since 1984, the Monterey Bay Aquarium has occupied the old Hovden Cannery building that opened in 1916 and was the last cannery to close along the waterfront in 1973. This main attraction at the end of Cannery Row exhibits thousands of sealife which swim in 100 tanks of water that is continuously pumped in from Monterey Bay. In addition to delighting nearly two million visitors a year, the aquarium also partners with several organizations in marine research and protection.

886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

19 Pacific House in Old Town in Monterey, California

The Monterey State Historical Park is a collection of historic buildings from the early 19th century. The Pacific House, which was built in 1847 as an army headquarters, is now a museum. Their exhibits explain the local history when Spain and then Mexico ruled Alta California before it was liberated at the end of the Mexican-American War. The museum also tells the story of the indigenous Indians who lived here for thousands of years before the first Spanish explorers arrived in 1542.

10 Custom House Plaza Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

20 Casa del Oro in Old Town in Monterey, California

This building was built in 1845, one year before the U.S. Navy won the Battle of Monterey and declared California’s annexation from Mexico in the nearby Custom House. In 1849, this adobe structure became a general store run by Joseph Boston. During the Gold Rush, prospectors called it Casa del Oro, which means House of Gold, because they stored their treasure in the Jos. Boston & Co.’s vault. This and several other Old Town buildings are part of the Monterey State Historical Park.

210 Olivier St, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

21 Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, California

The Old Fisherman’s Wharf was built in 1870 to accommodate fishing, commercial and passenger ships arriving in Monterey. Despite a couple of incidences when the pier needed to be repaired, it thrived until the end of WWII when the sardine industry began to decline. Since then, it has been revitalized as a tourist attraction.

1 Fishermans Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

22 Harbor House Store on Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, California

Harbor House Gifts is an example of the type of souvenir and clothing store you will find along Old Fisherman’s Wharf. You will also discover candy shops, art galleries, restaurants and bars. It is a bit touristy but worth visiting during your vacation to Monterey, California.

1 Fishermans Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

23 Strolling along Old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, California

On a warm, sunny afternoon it is great fun to walk hand-in-hand on Old Fisherman’s Wharf to visit the shops and restaurants. It is even more fun to climb aboard one of the ships that leave the end of the pier for whale watching or a short cruise around Monterey Bay.

47 Fishermans Wharf #1, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

24 Sea Otter Floating on Back in Monterey, California

It was a treat to see this California sea otter floating on his back in the marina between the Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Municipal Wharf #2 in Monterey, California. Also called the southern sea otter, this endangered species spends most of its life in the water. I was surprised to learn that an adult male can reach 100 pounds.

160 Municipal Wharf 2 Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

25 Fish Carts on Municipal Wharf #2 in Monterey, California

In the early 20th century, Monterey Bay was a significant location for commercial fishing and canneries so a second pier was built in 1926 to help accommodate the marine traffic and as an outlet for wholesale fish markets. Today, only a few public fish markets remain on Wharf #2. If you prefer to catch your own, then you can fish along this 1,000 foot pier without a license.

160 Municipal Wharf 2 Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

26 Boats Moored in Marina in Monterey, California

The Municipal Marina in Monterey has over 400 slips to moor your recreational boat for a few hours or on a long-term basis. They also offer plenty of services for launching and servicing your watercraft. But be forewarned: visitors are accommodated on a first-come, first-serve basis and there is currently a long waiting list for year-round slip licenses.

250 Figueroa St, Monterey, CA 93940
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

27 California Sea Lion on Buoy in Monterey, California

This California sea lion appears to be basking in the glow of the “Sea Goddess” name. The Monterey coastline is a great place to see these enormous marine animals that can exceed 750 pounds. Approximately 12,000 live and/or migrate through the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary each year.

Lighthouse Ave & Pacific St, Monterey, CA 93944
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

28 Athlete Dragging Weight on Beach in Monterey, California

I have often used the phrase “I feel like I am dragging a boat anchor” when describing a frustrating day at work but it never occurred to me that people choose to do it. Then I saw this athlete on Del Monte Beach pulling a weight through the sand and surf. I wonder if he described his day as moving mountains.

Beach Way & Tide Ave, Monterey, CA
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

29 Calvary Episcopal Church in Santa Cruz, California

In 1769, Franciscan missionaries arrived on a creek that they named Santa Cruz which means Holy Cross Creek. That’s how the city got its name. It was also the inspiration for the name Calvary Episcopal Church. The congregation was founded in 1849 during the Gold Rush. This building was constructed in 1864 by its first pastor, Reverend C.F. Loop.

532 Center St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

30 Santa Cruz Beach in Santa Cruz, California

The main beach in Santa Cruz is everything you could hope for in a sunny California coastline. There are nets for volleyball, a walking path, an amusement park, a long wharf with restaurants and shops, plenty of sand, and the waves rolling in from Monterey Bay. You can also join this seagull for a stroll.

Westbrook St & Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

31 Cocoanut Grove in Santa Cruz, California

This yellow building that anchors the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk was called the Casino of Swanton when it opened in 1904. During Prohibition, it hosted famous Big Bands and was renamed the Cocoanut Grove using the spelling from a 1929 Marx Brothers’ movie. Today this State Historic Landmark is a conference center which rents out its banquet and ballroom facilities for private and corporate events.

Westbrook St & Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

32 Sky Glider Ride at Amusement Park in Santa Cruz, California

The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which opened in 1907, is the oldest operating amusement park in the state. It offers video games in the Casino Arcade, mini golf and table games in Neptune’s Kingdom, a laser tag arena, a funhouse, a bowling alley, and rides for all ages like this Sky Glider. Best of all, the ocean breeze coming off of Monterrey Bay is included free in your admission price.

603 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

33 Giant Dipper Roller Coaster in Santa Cruz, California

The Giant Dipper is the iconic ride at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk amusement park. This classic wooden roller coaster has thrilled over 60 million people since it was built in 1924. The top speed of the 2,600 foot course of hills and valleys is 55 miles per hour. It was designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark in 1987.

Beach St & Leibrandt Ave, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

34 La Bahia on Santa Cruz Beach in Santa Cruz, California

I am always saddened when I see a once grand building like La Bahia that has fallen into decay. There have been two attempts to renovate this 1926 oceanfront property but both have fallen through. In September, 2014, new plans were approved to convert the existing 44 apartments into an expanded 165 room hotel that could become the centerpiece of the city’s main beach. Fortunately, those plans include saving the Spanish Colonial bell tower.

215 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

35 Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf in Santa Cruz, California

This half-mile wooden pier called the Santa Cruz Municipal Wharf let’s you watch marine life including dolphins, whales and sea lions plus expert surfers riding the famous waves of Steamer Lane. Or if you want to float along Monetary Bay, you can rent various watercrafts by the hour. You’ll also find shops and nine restaurants.

21 Municipal Wharf Santa Cruz, CA 95060
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

36 Walton Lighthouse on Breakwater in Santa Cruz, California

The Walton Lighthouse stands 60 feet above the waters of Monterey Bay at the mouth of the Small Craft Harbor in Santa Cruz. It was named after its major benefactor, Charles Walton. He donated the construction money in memory of his brother Derek who died at sea during WWII. This is the fourth light that has aided marine navigation at the Santa Cruz Harbor since 1964.

616 Atlantic Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions

37 Men Walking on Seabright State Beach in Santa Cruz, California

There are two magnificent beaches on either side of the entry to the Santa Cruz Small Craft Harbor. The one closest to the Harbormaster and boat launch ramps is Twin Lakes State Beach. This is the Seabright State Beach which starts near the Walton Lighthouse on the breakwater. This exquisite stretch of sand allows dogs on a leash and campfires in the fire pits.

616 Atlantic Ave Santa Cruz, CA 95062
Enlarge/Slideshow See On Map Directions
TOP