USA Radio

Monterey Peninsula & Pebble Beach

Play golf in one of the world’s most spectacular spots

Mother Nature worked overtime on the rugged Monterey Peninsula, a highlight of the legendary Pacific Coast Highway, the road that follows much of the California coastline. The peninsula is a surf-and-wind-sculpted wonder of cliff-lined beaches, sandy dunes, rocky shores and deep ocean bays. The old fishing town of Monterey, forever immortalised by Nobel Prize-winning novelist John Steinbeck, remains the peninsula’s biggest draw. Every September, it hosts the Monterey Jazz Festival, a huge three-night affair that attracts more than 500 greats from around the world and is the oldest ongoing jazz festival in the nation.

Once famous for whaling and sardine canning, Monterey was also California’s first capital and retains more than 40 buildings built before 1850. Today, Monterey’s most popular attraction is the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row, the alley of sardine canneries that thrived in downtown Monterey in the 1930s and ’40s and the setting for John Steinbeck’s 1945 novel Cannery Row. The hard-luck world he describes has vanished (most of the canneries closed by mid-century due to overfishing), replaced with shops and restaurants that make for an enjoyable stroll.

Nearby Salinas and its surrounding landscape (sometimes referred to as ‘Steinbeck Country’) was the birthplace and early home of John Steinbeck, best known for his 1939 classic The Grapes of Wrath. Here you’ll find the National Steinbeck Center’s exhibits linking his life with his literature, and frequent showings of films based upon his novels.

Considered by many to be the most thrilling, beguiling and breathtaking golf course on the face of the Earth, Pebble Beach’s ocean-hugging links are sacred ground for golfers. Now part of a trio of championship courses that includes Spyglass Hill and the Links at Spanish Bay, Pebble Beach opened in 1919. In the late 1940s, crooner Bing Crosby brought his pro-am tournament here, the ‘clambake’ that evolved into the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, played on Pebble, Spyglass and the nearby Poppy Hills courses during the second weekend of February.

The refined elegance of the Lodge at Pebble Beach offers the ultimate in holy-grail golfing convenience. Its 161 rooms have working fireplaces, and many skirt the right flank of Pebble’s 18th fairway, within earshot of the Pacific’s crashing waves. Also hugging the coastline is the more modern Inn at Spanish Bay, with 269 palatial rooms that feature antique furniture and splendid marble showers.

Non-golfers can enjoy the legendary 17-Mile Drive, a private toll road connecting Monterey to its peninsular neighbour, Carmel. A microcosm of the coastline’s romantic beauty, dotted with ocean-sprayed outcroppings where harbour seals and sea lions laze, the winding drive also takes in man-made marvels like multimillion-dollar mansions. 

This trip idea can be found in:

1,000 Places to See in the United States & Canada Before You Die®

Trip idea text ©Patricia Schultz. For contact information about the places mentioned and many more USA trip ideas, see Patricia Schultz's blockbuster book.

Welcome to Discover America!

Now that you have registered, you can save trip ideas to your suitcase.

Start exploring

Enter your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.

Please check your email.

Start exploring

The password on your account has successfully been changed. Please use your new password to login.

Start exploring

This website is set to 'allow all cookies' for the best user experience. By continuing without changing this setting, you are consenting to this. You may change your settings at any time at the bottom of this page.

More information about cookies

Cookies are very small text files that are stored on your computer when you visit some websites.

We use cookies to make our website easier for you to use. You can remove any cookies already stored on your computer, but these may prevent you from using parts of our website.

If you choose to disable non-essential cookies, the website will:

  • Allow you to log in and remember you are logged in, while in session
  • Determine your country of origin in order to serve you the most relevant version of the site

This website will not:

  • Restrict welcome messaging to the first time you visit the site
  • Track any activity on the site for analytics purposes

More information about cookies