Santa Cruz — Northern End of Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay on the coast of California stretches from Santa Cruz in the north to Monterey in the south. The distance between Santa Cruz and Monterey is about 43 miles, and the drive between the two cities can theoretically last as little as 47 minutes. If you stop at the places of natural beauty and historical interest along the route, the drive will take a few hours.
Antonelli Pond — Santa Cruz
The 100-year-old artificial Antonelli Pond in Santa Cruz and the surrounding riparian zone are a breeding ground for great blue herons, egrets, raptors, deer, raccoons, and coyotes. If you want to spend time fishing or exploring the pond’s walking paths, Hipmunk has economical rates at several Monterey hotels in the area.
Natural Bridges State Beach — Santa Cruz
There is one remaining natural bridge on Natural Bridges State Beach. A grove of eucalyptus trees on the beach is home to the Monarch Butterfly Nature Preserve. As many as 150,000 monarch butterflies spend the winter in the trees every year.
Monarch butterflies spend every winter in eucalyptus trees in a canyon at Natural Bridges State Beach. The canyon is a beautiful place to explore throughout the year.
Monterey — Southern End of Monterey Bay
Monterey is a city of many California firsts — the first capital, printing press, newspaper, publicly funded school, public library, and theater. Located at the southern end of Monterey Bay, Monterey is a popular central California vacation destination. The Best Western Plus Beach Resort is the only hotel on the beach in Monterey. This reasonably priced, pet-friendly property is the perfect base for exploring the city’s many attractions. Enjoy dramatic views from Monterey Plaza Hotel and Spa at Cannery Row. Stay in a themed suite directly over the water.
Cannery Row and John Steinbeck — Monterey
Cannery Row was the setting for two John Steinbeck novels: “Cannery Row” (1945) and “Sweet Thursday” (1954). “Cannery Row,” which takes place during the Great Depression of the 1930s and 1940s, is the story of the people living on Cannery Row, a street lined with sardine canneries. Visitors can find many shops and restaurants on present-day Cannery Row, some of them in the former cannery buildings.
Monterey Bay Aquarium — Monterey
Monterey Bay Aquarium, located where Cannery Row meets the Pacific Ocean, is a public nonprofit aquarium founded in 1984 on the site of a former sardine cannery. The aquarium has more than 600 species of sea life on display, among them jelly fish, stingrays, squid, octopuses, and cuttlefishes.
Visitors can watch aquarists feed and train sea otters, learn about the care and feeding of blackfooted penguins, and observe the open sea feeding of sardines, sharks, tuna, turtles, and other creatures.
Share Your Monterey Bay Anecdote
If you’ve made the drive between Santa Cruz and Monterey, did you drive clockwise (south) or counterclockwise (north)? What sights were your favorites along the route?
Daisy Mariposa is a freelance travel writer who has worked with various clients, including Hipmunk. She holds occupational certificates in both travel management and international business, and has worked as a travel agent. Daisy has traveled to half the states in the U.S. and to more than 33 countries, island nations, and island dependencies. She is a Certified Specialty Travel Writer and Travel Copy Writer for one organization and holds Industry Elite status in Travel from another.