Local resident Robert Louis Stevenson described the Monterey peninsula as "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world." State Highway 1 winds past redwood forests, sheer cliffs, fishing piers, the blue Pacific, and white sandy beaches along the spectacular Big Sur Coast. It is one of the most scenic and dramatic stretches of road in the world. The Monterey Bay Peninsula has fairly constant 65 degree temperatures and more than 200 annual special events, making the area a popular destination. Most restaurants plan their menus around what is in season. A multitude of fine local California wines are available, as well as fresh seafood and regional produce.
The town of Monterey lies in the center of the peninsula and has three major areas: Old Monterey, with its historic adobe buildings, Cannery Row, and Fishermen's Wharf. The Monterey Bay Aquarium includes a 335,000 gallon Kelp Forest tank, a touch pool where you can pet bat rays, a two-story exhibit devoted to sea otters, and a "Drifters Gallery," with swirling, multicolored jellyfish. A Path of History connects the 37 sites of the Monterey State Historic Park. The sites can be entered as part of a guided walking tour that leaves hourly from the park's Stanton Center.