Wedged between Point Pinos and Monterey, Pacific Grove is a coastal community once home to the author John Steinbeck. It boasts the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the United States’ Pacific Coast, as well as a museum dedicated to the region’s native ecology.
Things to do in Pacific Grove
You can learn about the flora and fauna of California’s Central Coast at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, which was one of the first museums of its kind in the United States when it opened its doors in 1883. Meet “Sandy” the life-size grey whale and get up close to a California condor before learning about the life cycle of the migratory monarch butterfly. Native plants representing five different local bioregions are exhibited in the surrounding garden.
Don’t miss a visit to the Point Pinos Lighthouse, which was first illuminated in 1855 to guide ships along the rocky coastline. Its squat tower rises atop a whitewashed building that is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Browse the on-site exhibits detailing the history of the lighthouse before photographing the heart-shaped “Love Rock” from the nearby coastal trail.
Another popular hike leads through Lovers Point Park, which occupies a headland at the end of Polly Klaas Memorial Beach. The surrounding waters are protected as a State Marine Reserve and are frequented by surfers, swimmers and kayakers. Once you’ve built up an appetite, you can dine on classic Californian cuisine at the Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Point.
Getting around Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove is a five-minute drive from the centre of Monterey and 15 minutes from Monterey Regional Airport, which has flights to destinations across the United States. Buses travel through Pacific Grove and access most of its attractions.