Big Sur Coastline

A Change of Scenery

Explore California’s Central Coast

Stay at home orders continue to stir the wanderlust in us all. Whether your vacation plans have changed, or you are planning your future travel excursions now, we are here to help inspire your trip. We are sharing five must see central coast stops for a change of scenery and fresh coastal air in 2021.

1) Big Sur

The Big Sur coastline is one of the most remarkable and breathtaking stretches of coast in the world. The enchanting and whimsical essence of Big Sur is one of a kind and often featured in movies, television series, and countless books.  The rocky and rugged Pacific Coast is accessible by car along Highway 1, with the Santa Lucia Mountains running parallel along the famous highway stretch. Explore the coastline by car, taking advantage of the scenic lookouts along the drive, or sightsee on foot on one of the many designated hiking trails.

Big Sur Coastline along Highway 1

2) Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail

Steps away from the Portola Hotel & Spa is the waterfront Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Stretching from Lovers Point in Pacific Grove to Sand City and beyond, the recreational trail is the perfect location for walking, running, and cycling. The scenic path provides easy access to Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, several shops, restaurants, and wine tasting rooms, making this trail the perfect activity to include on your Monterey getaway.

Coastal Recreational Trail

A coastal view along Monterey’s Recreational Trail

3) Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach is a popular location for surfing, walking, and picnicking. Located at the foot of Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the white sand beach is pet-friendly and a favorite of visitors and locals alike. Spot wildlife from the water’s edge, including sea otters, whales, or snowy plovers along the shore. Carmel Beach is a fantastic destination for catching the sunrise and the sunset.

Snowy Plovers at Carmel Beach

Snowy Plovers at Carmel Beach

4) Ghost Trees

Along the world famous 17-Mile drive in Pebble Beach, CA is the famed big wave surf spot, Ghost Trees. Located within the protected Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Ghost Trees rare winter swell can reach up to 60 feet. Catch a peek of this epic wave through the white Monterey Cypress trees, and marvel at the power of the Pacific Ocean.

Ghost Trees in Pebble Beach

Ghost Trees Surf Spot

5) Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Venture out and explore the majestic pine forests and sensational views of the Pacific Ocean at Point Lobos State Reserve.  Located a short drive from the Portola Hotel along Highway 1, Point Lobos is a fantastic park to spend a few hours exploring. Point Lobos offers various opportunities for sightseeing, photography, painting, nature study, picnicking, SCUBA diving, and jogging. Visitors also can view rare plant communities, endangered archeological sites, and unique geological formations, making Point Lobos an excellent destination for learning and exploration.

Point Lobos Nature Preserve

A cove along the walking trail in Point Lobos

Monterey County’s beautiful coastal landscape is one of the many reasons to visit and stay at the Portola Hotel & Spa. Help us preserve this magnificent destination and our planet when you travel to Monterey. Please travel responsibly.

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