Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau and participating hotel and charity partners are proud to partner with Kind Traveler to support the important work of Ranch Cielo in investing in all young people in Monterey County facing challenges for success. Through our partnership, we're empowering a new generation of responsible travelers to positively impact our local community by giving back to Rancho Cielo. 

Give + Get with Kind Traveler: Unlock exclusive offers from Kind Hotels in Monterey County when you donate $10 to support Rancho Cielo in Monterey County, or a charity of choice. 100% of donations to charity. 

Participating Kind Hotels

Local Impact Partner

Kind Factors

Discover Monterey County

California’s postcard beauty is on full display in Monterey County. Situated on 99 miles of jagged coast roughly two hours south from San Francisco, this breathtaking enclave, composed of twelve distinct regions, is known worldwide for natural splendor and cultural refinement. From the dramatic panoramas of the Big Sur coastline to the fairytale cottages of the charming city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey County is a truly inspired California getaway. A visit to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium and a trip through time on historic Cannery Row merely scratch the surface of things to do here. Browse a full calendar of year-round events including the Monterey Art Festivals, discover the abundant wildlife of Monterey Bay & Moss Landing, play an unforgettable round golf at the iconic Pebble Beach Resorts, cruise the magnificent 17-mile drive, or dine on the local bounty of the Salinas Valley, complete with award-winning wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands at the best restaurants in Monterey County - whatever you do, savor every moment of your adventure in Monterey County.

How to Travel Kindly in Monterey 

Monterey County understands the importance of traveling Kindly, as do we. Visitors are inspired to take it all and leave nothing behind. Here are some Tips for Responsible Travel to help you experience a sustainable vacation.

  • Choose an eco-friendly tour operator or accommodations.
  • Consider local conservation or social projects that you could visit or support during your trip.
  • Buy local goods and produce instead of imported goods.
  • Hire a local guide.
  • Do not buy products from endangered species, hard woods or ancient artifacts.
  • Respect local cultures, traditions and holy places.
  • Use public transport, rent a bike or walk when convenient.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle and shopping bag to reduce the amount of one-time use plastics.
  • Always leave a place better than the way you arrived, this includes “pack in, pack out” and “leave no trace” practices.
  • When you leave your hotel room, turn off the lights and all electronics.
  • Consider leaving the “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door so that housekeeping staff won’t clean your room every day.
  • Stick to marked trails to avoid harming native flora, and consider taking a bag to pick up trash along your hike.
  • Take time to immerse yourself in the local music, art and cuisine.
  • Embrace the cultural differences that make it unique.

Taking these measures is especially impactful for the wellbeing of Big Sur and protecting this one-of-a-kind landscape. The recent increase in the number of visitors is challenging the safety and wellbeing of residents, visitors and the fragile natural environment. All of us can make a positive difference to protect and nurture Big Sur.

Monterey County is working hard to make its communities the very best places to live; to support healthy lifestyles, create jobs and surround its visitors and residents with a healthy environment. 

Where to Stay Kindly

Discover four exceptional Kind Hotels to choose from in Monterey County, each exemplifying beauty, sustainability, and the expression of Monterey's distinct regions. In Big Sur, Post Ranch Inn is an award-winning resort high atop the cliffs offering a serene escape. Just a stone’s throw away, Alila Ventana Big Sur is a luxurious five-star resort set on 243 hillside acres under the shadow of Redwoods. Up the coast, The Sanctuary Beach Resort is nestled on 19 acres of pristine Pacific shoreline, inviting you to escape and enjoy the best of the California Coast. If it’s a slow-paced sipping-style vacation you have a taste for, then you will delight in the serene character of Bernardus Lodge & Spa, an authentic Wine Country retreat in Carmel Valley.

Local Impact Partner 

Rancho Cielo is a comprehensive learning and social services center for underserved and disconnected youth in Monterey County who share a vision of their future success. Their goal is to empower self-sufficiency, and the self-esteem it generates for all young people. Rancho Cielo invests in youth facing challenges for success through diploma education, vocational training, counseling, and life skills development in a safe and affirming environment. For a unique opportunity, we encourage you to visit The Dining Room at Rancho Cielo. This casual, friendly setting provides the backdrop for a wonderful dining experience for you at the hands of their student trainees. Under the direction of Executive Chef Estevan Jimenez ("EJ"), the Drummond Culinary Students prepare and serve the meals to guests, who also get to indulge in spectacular views from the glassed indoor/outdoor patio. 

Mindful Adventures

Monterey County's diverse parks range from tiny jewels beloved by birdwatchers to the vast, unspoiled spaces of the Los Padres National Forest, a national treasure expanding 1.75 million acres of diverse parkland, including many unspoiled, primitive wilderness areas. The Los Padres National Forest offers over 300 miles of rugged Big Sur hiking trails, as well as some of the best unspoiled Big Sur campsites. Fort Ord National Monument, a 14,000 acre parcel has more than 86 miles of trails that can be explored on foot, bike or on horseback. Whether your interest is braving Sniveley's Ridge Trail, spying a condor at Pinnacles National Park, up-close-and-personal stargazing at Fremont Peak State Park or the peace and tranquility of Pacific Grove's Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary, you'll find Monterey County's parks are the perfect place for outdoor fun.

The waterfront Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail stretches 18 miles, from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove in the south. This popular paved path hugs the coast, following the same route as the old Southern Pacific Railway. The rec trail is a great way for families and their furry friends to reach the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, the American Tin Cannery shopping and outlet mall, Fisherman's Wharf, and much more - avoiding busy roads and parking hassles. Along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, visitors can rent bikes and surreys (canopied quadricycles capable of seating up to six people), in-line skates and kayaks from several local businesses including Adventures by the Sea and Monterey Bay Kayaks. There are several places to stop and get a bite to eat on the trail, or you can pack a picnic and spread a blanket out on one of the trail's many grassy areas. All the while, you will enjoy beautiful views of Monterey Bay, where you can watch sea lions and sea otters in their natural environment. Be sure to save time for a beach picnic or a leisurely sunset stroll at dog-friendly beaches like Asilomar State Beach and Monterey State Beach. Just remember to leave only paw prints in the sand. 

In 1958, the City of Monterey officially re-named Ocean View Avenue "Cannery Row" in honor of John Steinbeck and his novel that described a colorful past set amid the cannery culture of the time.  Now, Cannery Row's buildings are updated, shinier versions of turn-of-the-century canneries. They house an eclectic blend of specialty shops, local artists' galleries, and more than 25 restaurants and world-class attractions that make Cannery Row a top tourist destination. The main attraction on Cannery Row, and a favorite for visitors to the Central Coast, is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Constantly surprising with new exhibits and programs, and with a steadfast dedication to marine education and conservation, the aquarium is consistently ranked among the top attractions in the world. Meanwhile, The Monterey Museum of Art features eight galleries devoted to exhibitions of American and early California painting, photography and contemporary art. Skip the hassle of circling around for parking and catch the MST Monterey Trolley. The free trolley runs daily throughout the summer months (Memorial Day through Labor Day) with stops at popular destinations including Downtown Monterey, Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. 

Vino connoisseurs and artisans know the special bounty to be found in Carmel Valley wineries, tasting rooms and wine bars that are found along the dramatic valley floor. Here, the love and respect for the terroir are found in wine produced in the well-drained, gravelly terraces of the Carmel Valley wine appellation (granted an official AVA designation in 1983). Try Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot varietals, which make up 70% of the Carmel Valley AVA. Pay a visit to Massa Estate to enjoy wines produced from 100% certified organically grown grapes bottled in their Carmel Valley, California winery. 

Amongst the county’s 18 weekly farmers' markets is The Old Monterey Farmers Market, established in 1991, which runs year-round, rain or shine. You can travel the world in just three blocks here, finding arts and crafts, handmade jewelry, furniture, clothing, international food, local organic produce, flowers, and pastries.

Getting There

  • Monterey is served locally by Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) with direct flight connections from ten major airports in the western U.S.  MRY also has reach to over 95 domestic and international destinations with just one connection. Carmel-by-the-Sea is just a 12-minute drive from MRY. The Monterey Peninsula is a one hour drive from San Jose International Airport (SJC), a two hour drive from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), and a five hour drive from Los Angeles. 
  • Amtrak's Coast Starlight train cruises through Salinas each day on its route between Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, providing a leisurely and scenic way to travel with packages to fit every budget. It's a great way to see the grandeur of the Central Coast at eye level. Free bus service is provided from Salinas to downtown Monterey, a 30-minute ride. There is also a Greyhound station in Salinas with connecting service to Monterey.
  • The Monterey-Salinas Transit provides bus service to the greater Monterey and Salinas areas, as far south as Paso Robles and Big Sur and as far north as Santa Cruz and San Jose. Service originates from two primary locations–the Monterey Transit Plaza, in downtown Monterey, and the Salinas Transit Center, in downtown Salinas. From these locations, the bus lines branch out like spokes on a wheel.