Monterey County is a destination full of natural beauty. Each season there are both big and subtle changes that are worth seeing on your next visit. Check out our list of Monterey nature occurrences that you must see on your next visit!
Although you can sees Gray Whales from December to May in Monterey, they peak in numbers in Mid-January. It's the perfect time to go whale watching, and catch sites of dolphins and orcas too!
If you make your way to Jacks Peak in February, you'll be sure to see beautiful wildflowers on its trails. It's an excellent time and place for a nature hike and you can expect to see California Poppies, Wild Pansies, California Buttercups, Footsteps of Spring, Star Lilies, and more!
One of the most special blooms of the year happens in Garrapata State Park in Big Sur. Calla Lily Valley is a beautiful ravine full of Calla Lilies. This occurrence doesn't last long so be sure to visit in March when they are in full bloom!
The ‘Magic Carpet' or ‘Purple Carpet' is a beautiful springtime phenomenon that happens here on the peninsula. In April, the Ice Plant, a purple flower, starts to bloom along the coastline. The pathways and sea cliffs get covered in this flower, which creates a "Purple Carpet." It is a stunning site that brings both tourists and locals to Ocean View Blvd. in Pacific Grove.
In the month of May, Humpback Whales start to appear in Monterey. These animals migrate from their feeding grounds near Alaska to their breeding grounds in warmer waters in California and Mexico. Book a whale watching tour in May to see these beautiful creatures along with dolphins, orcas, and gray whales!
One of the best things about summer in Monterey are the gorgeous sunsets. There are many places to watch the sunset, but a few favorites are Asilomar State Beach, Carmel Beach, and Del Monte Beach.
In the summer, the Sooty Shearwater, a seabird, makes its way to Monterey. What is so special about this bird is that it holds the record for the longest migration of any bird. Traveling all the way from New Zealand and across the Pacific Ocean, they make their way to Monterey County to feed. You can see flocks of these birds by the hundreds in the Monterey Bay off Moss Landing.
Blue Whales are the largest creatures that have ever lived on earth, and we are lucky enough to have them visit the Monterey Bay. They are only in the area for a short time before they migrate south for the winter, so be sure to book a whale watching tour to see these massive creatures in August.
Believe it or not, but summer is not our warmest season of the year. Right around September we get, what locals call, our "Secret Season." Monterey normally has a mild climate ranging in the 60s during the day, but visit us in September and October for warmer days.
During the fall, Monarch Butterflies migrate from Canada, and make a stop in Pacific Grove. Because these creatures cannot withstand freezing or extremely warm temperatures, the Monterey Peninsula is the perfect place for these butterflies to migrate. You can start to see Monarchs in October at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove.
One of our favorite things about fall is seeing the Gingko Trees in downtown Monterey change colors. If you visit in November, you'll witness these golden yellow trees behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. Also check out the other beautiful trees in downtown Monterey that change color.
If you want to catch the sunrise, but hate waking up early, the best time to watch it is in December. With the sunrise happening between 7:00am -7:20am, you won't have too much trouble getting out of bed. Now, you may be thinking, "Sunrise on the west coast?" but that's just one of the many things that makes Monterey County so special. Head to Lovers Point, and you'll be able to watch the sunrise over water! It's one of the few places in California you can do this because of its east facing location.
Year Round Monterey Nature and Wildlife
No matter which season you visit, it will still be a great time to see otters, seals, dolphins, and much more Monterey nature and wildlife. The Portola Hotel & Spa is conveniently located near Fisherman's Wharf, where you can do whale watching tours, and view some marine life, like seals and otters. Beaches and other attractions are only a short drive away, so book your stay by visiting our website or calling us at (888) 222-5851.