A Traveler’s Guide to the Monterey Bay Area

Are you considering California for your next contract? The Monterey Bay Area is breathtaking and encompasses a large region of California, just south of the San Francisco Bay. Monterey Bay has two main cities, Santa Cruz at the north of the bay and Monterey at the south. Santa Cruz, California is known for its expansive beaches and its high-stroke surf culture. Its long wharf stretches out into the bay and is flocked with restaurants and shops on each side. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is home to vintage roller coasters, including the 1911 Loof Carousel and the Giant Dipper roller coaster. Downtown, there are vintage clothing stores, cafes, and galleries. Santa Cruz is also home to Natural Bridges State beach, which is known for its bridge-shaped rock formation. At the south of the bay, Monterey is known for being home to many of California’s firsts. Monterey housed California’s first theater, brick house, publicly funded school, public building, public library, and California’s first printing press, which printed California’s first newspaper, The Californian. Monterey is also known for its bountiful wildlife and it has one of the most productive marine ecosystems in the world! Whether you’re going big with Santa Cruz and its population of about 65,000, or wanting something smaller, like Monterey and it’s population of 29,000, the Monterey Bay Area has something to suit even the pickiest of travelers.

The Culture

The culture of the Monterey Bay Area reflects the history of California, as Monterey was the original capital of the state. Monterey Bay is packed full of historical sites and events for history buffs of all ages. It has so much more to offer than history, though. The Monterey Bay Area is known for its artistic spirit that inspires artists of all kinds. The area is packed with museums, galleries, and performing art venues for artists to share their creations. The Monterey Bay Area is home to many diverse cultures. It was first inhabited by Native Americans, then settled by the Spanish, and it later became home to many Chinese, Portuguese, Japanese, and Italian immigrants. The impact of the variety of cultures that have mixed can be felt all throughout the Monterey Bay Area.

The Scenery

The Monterey Bay Area is described as some of the most beautiful coastline in the country, and potentially even in the world. The coastline is the perfect place to spot wildlife and relax by the water. Monterey Bay is home to many species of marine mammals, including sea otters, harbor seals, and bottlenose dolphins; as well as being on the migratory path of gray and humpback whales and a breeding site for elephant seals! Killer whales are also found along the coast. Many species of fish, sharks, squid, birds, and sea turtles also lie in the bay. Several varieties of kelp grow in the bay, some becoming as tall as trees, forming what is known as a kelp forest. The bay covers 160 square miles and is one of the largest bays along the Pacific Coast of North America! The Monterey Bay Area also has 183 named mountains, the highest and most prominent being Junipero Serra Peak, standing at 1,789 meters tall. Junipero Serra Peak is a part of the Santa Lucia Mountains of California and is named after Franciscan Friar Junipero Serra, founder of the California Missions. The Monterey Bay Area is home to 244 summits, ridges, ranges, trails, and other mountain features, too!

The Weather

In the Monterey Bay Area, the summers are short, comfortable, dry, and mostly clear. The winters are cold, wet, and partly cloudy. Over the course of the year, the temperature typically varies from 44 degrees Fahrenheit to 68 degrees Fahrenheit and is rarely below 37 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the tourism score, the best time to visit the Monterey Bay Area for warm-weather activities is from early July to early October. The warm season lasts for about two months, from August to October, with an average daily high temperature of 66 degrees Fahrenheit. The hottest month of the year in the Monterey Bay Area is September, with an average high of 67 degrees Fahrenheit. The cool season lasts for about 4 months, from December to March, with an average daily high temperature below 61 degrees Fahrenheit. The coldest month of the year in the Monterey Bay Area is December, with an average low of 45 degrees Fahrenheit. The Monterey Bay Area gets on average 21 inches of rain each year and rarely ever seen snow.


With two major cities like Santa Monica and Monterey at the tip and tail of the Monterey Bay Area, there are plenty of attractions to go around. Whether you’re taking a tour through historic Monterrey or riding a roller coaster on the Santa Monica Beach Boardwalk, there’s guaranteed to be something fun for everyone! Here are some can’t miss attractions:

Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk— The old-fashioned funfair fronts the beach and features classic rides like a big dipper roller coaster and a spinning carousel. And don’t forget to try all the typical boardwalk treats, like kettle corn, saltwater taffy and deep-fried Twinkies. It’s the top Santa Cruz attraction.

Ride a steam train through the redwoods— One of the most unique things to do in Santa Cruz is to head to Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz mountains where you can take a steam train through the redwoods, offering a perspective like none other.

Explore the local farmers markets— Santa Cruz has five different farmers markets, showcasing the best of the region’s produce. There’s also live music and it’s a fun place to spend the afternoon

Visit the Mystery Spot— The Mystery Spot calls itself a gravitational anomaly where the laws of physics go haywire. Others will call it a tourist trap. Either way, the lighthearted optical illusion attraction can be a fun way to spend an hour, taking improbable photos of your friends in mid-air.

Go wine tasting in the Santa Cruz Mountains— A lesser known region is the Santa Cruz Mountains, which is right on the doorstep of the city. It has a similar laidback feel to Sonoma (as opposed to glitzy Napa) and the mountain views from the wineries are stunning. Some of the most popular wineries are Regale Winery, MJA Vineyards and Beauregard Vineyard.


Go on a whale watching tour— Monterey is without a doubt one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. The Monterey Submarine Canyon allows for whales and dolphins to be seen close to shore, even with the naked eye.

Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium— The world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is housed in a structure on Cannery Row, by the ocean. Visiting the aquarium is one of the most popular things to do in Monterey, for both kids and adults. At the aquarium, you can observe a variety of marine habitats, from kelp forests to the open sea and the rocky shores. From sharks and sea bass to the giant Pacific octopus and the colorful inhabitants of tide pools, you can view lots of interesting creatures.

Stroll Cannery Row— Today’s Cannery Row is full of restaurants, shops, and hotels, but once it was the center of a large-scale sardine canning industry. The setting for John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, Cannery Row used to be called Ocean View Avenue.

Enjoy Old Fisherman’s Wharf— Old Fisherman’s Wharf has a rich history, and it’s one of the top places to visit in Monterey. It was built in the mid 1800s to receive passengers and freight. In 1919, the first restaurant opened at the wharf, serving breaded fried abalone steaks.

Look for wildlife, marine life, and birds— The Monterey Coast Guard Pier is a great place from which to look for marine life and sea birds. It is a great place from which to see and hear sea lions, and you may see otters playing in the water, harbor seals, and a variety of birds.

Getting Around— The Monterey Bay Area is equipped with expertise in public transportation, like buses and free trolleys during peak seasons. There are also bike rentals and perfect walking trails for those of you who are looking to be more active. And don’t forget, Uber and Lyft are always an option if you are without a car in the Monterey Bay Area!

The Monterey Bay Area is a warm and welcoming  place and it’s waiting for you to make it your next travel contract destination! Whether you’re looking for a new adventure, or just wanting to be close to the beach, you can’t go wrong with this location. The Monterey Bay Area has so much to offer, so why not take the opportunity to explore it? Pamela’s List is the perfect agency to book a high paying, trustworthy travel contract with and can get you out to the California coast in no time! With Pamela’s List, you can make top dollar while you scratch things off your bucket list.

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