Salinas is a vibrant town known for its flourishing farm-to-table food scene, historic buildings and John Steinbeck attractions. It's also a great base for exploring California's natural beauty, putting you within driving distance of sun-drenched beaches and mountainous national parks.
Things to do in Salinas
Salinas is anchored by a characterful downtown district filled with historic buildings. Most of the action is centred along Main Street, which is lined with cafes, wine bars and farm-to-table restaurants. Giorgio's at 201 is an upscale choice, serving Californian cuisine in an elegant setting.
Literature buffs will recognise Salinas as the birthplace of John Steinbeck, an iconic American author. The National Steinbeck Centre celebrates the legacy of the Nobel Prize-winning writer, whose works include “The Grapes of Wrath”. The museum is filled with memorabilia, including the original campervan Steinbeck drove when road-tripping around America.
Salinas lives up to its Salad Bowl of the World" nickname. It's surrounded by working farms, as well as wineries and craft breweries. The Farmers Union Pour House is a local favourite, serving over 20 different tap beers in an atmospheric 19th-century building. The Monterey Coast Brewing Co is another staple, pouring small-batch craft beer.
Head east and you'll hit Pinnacles National Park. It offers numerous family-friendly activities, including 50 kilometres of hiking trails to explore. Keep an eye out for endangered California condors soaring overhead. You can also camp overnight, rock climb and explore hidden caves.
Getting around Salinas
Downtown Salinas is best explored on foot, while buses and taxis are available. Rental cars offer the freedom to explore Monterey County at your own pace. Salinas is a one-hour drive from San Jose and two hours from San Francisco.