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Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur

Mr. Harper's Travel Guide

Set on the Monterey Peninsula where the Del Monte Forest meets the Pacific Ocean, Pebble Beach is an idyllic haven. It is a place of sweeping beaches and aquamarine waters, of sea lions, sea otters, pods of migrating whales, and low-flying pelicans scanning the water ...

Set on the Monterey Peninsula where the Del Monte Forest meets the Pacific Ocean, Pebble Beach is an idyllic haven. It is a place of sweeping beaches and aquamarine waters, of sea lions, sea otters, pods of migrating whales, and low-flying pelicans scanning the water for anchovies and squid. The cool Pacific air keeps temperatures so delightfully moderate that golfers can wear slacks and sweater vests all year long. 

Nearby, Carmel-by-the-Sea provides a wonderful escape for much of the year. The pedestrian-friendly central shopping and dining district along Ocean Avenue comprises no more than 10 square blocks; the coastal hamlet atmosphere remains enchanting; and the beach is sublime. 

The breathtaking stretch of California coastline south of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea that leads down to Big Sur is home to a towering, redwood-covered mountain range that drops dramatically to the Pacific along a gorgeous stretch of Highway 1, one of the world's most deservedly celebrated scenic highways. 

Big Sur's population is sparse, and the area still retains the rugged qualities that long ago lent it artisan/bohemian allure, attracting literary iconoclasts such as Henry Miller, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac. In the mid-20th century, Miller may have found in Big Sur an antithesis to the "air-conditioned nightmare" of modern life; today, though, modern comforts are readily available. A host of state parks in the area offers ample opportunity for exploring on foot, by bike or by horseback. The Esalen Institute, founded in the 1960s as an alternative-education mecca, continues to cultivate well-being with its hot springs, massage offerings, meditation workshops and myriad other avenues for self-exploration.

bird icon Hotels & Restaurants in Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur

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