Hotel at a Glance: Best Western Plus Monterey Beach Resort
The oceanfront Best Western Plus Monterey Beach Resort occupies some of Monterey’s best real estate, located on the beach with uninterrupted views of the water. Head to Café Beach Restaurant for panoramic vistas of Monterey Bay and California coastal cuisine; the eatery participates in the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program.
- A room with a view: Guest rooms overlook lush gardens and feature 42-inch flat-screen TVs.
- Cocktails and music: They go together at Sandals Lounge, which features seasonal live entertainment on weekends.
- Bonfire wood and s’mores kits are available for purchase at the front desk.
- Take a dip in the heated outdoor pool and hot tub.
- *Award winner: The resort won TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence in 2013 and is also Green certified.
Monterey, California: Scenic Beaches and Marine Wildlife on the Pacific Coast
The city of Monterey, California, is located at the southern end of Monterey Bay on the Pacific coast, about 120 miles south of San Francisco. The region, which includes the seaside communities of Carmel and Sand City, is considered one of the world’s most scenic areas thanks to its rugged cliffs and dramatic ocean views. Author John Steinbeck, who lived for several years in the neighboring town of Pacific Grove, immortalized this region of central California in works such as East of Eden and Of Mice and Men. In Cannery Row, Steinbeck depicted the Monterey fish-canning industry at the turn of the 20th century. Today, a tourist destination of the same name houses souvenir shops and eateries right where the sardine factories used to be.
One attraction that you don’t want to miss is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest in the world. Its mesmerizing displays include a living kelp forest filled with leopard sharks and wolf eels and a deep-water tank that’s home to schools of bluefin tuna.
To get even closer to the sea, hop on the Monterey Bay Coastal Bike Trail, which stretches for miles along the ocean; look out for sea lions sunbathing on the rocks and otters playing in the surf. A variety of whales pass by the shores of Monterey year-round; you might also spot a few dolphins from aboard one of the popular harbor cruises. For the best up-close encounters, however, do as the locals do and head to one of the scuba-diving sites nearby. Dive shops on Del Monte Beach offer rentals and lessons—the easily accessible reef system here is popular for first-time divers.