Located on California’s Central Coast, Monterey is a city of firsts. It was home to California’s first public school, newspaper, printing press, public library, and theater. At one point it had a thriving fishing industry (natural, given that the city is only 26 feet above sea level), and throughout its history artists and writers have lived under its warm and sunny auspices. Novelist John Steinbeck might be the most known example; many of his books took place in Monterey.
If you’d like to visit Cannery Row or any of the other Monterey locations Steinbeck fictionalized, here are a few beachside hotels for you to consider. Monterey is not a particularly cheap town when it comes to beachfront lodging, but our choices hopefully reflect an agreeable mixture of luxury and value.
From $149/ night
Monterey Tides certainly lives up to its aquatic name, at least in color scheme: many of the rooms are decorated with deep sapphire blues, tastefully patterned carpets and neutral grays and whites. Not only is this hotel pretty, it’s relatively affordable for the area and offers beach access as well as a heated pool outdoors. Of course there’s cuisine to accompany this upscale experience: Vizcaino Waterfront Food + Drink serves three meals a day alongside cocktails, craft beers and tranquilizing views of Monterey Bay. Sounds relaxing, right? Ensure a placid time by booking a room with a sea or garden view!
From $176/ night
It may be a chain hotel, but this Best Western offers a less corporate aesthetic. Boutique-styled, this Victorian-inspired property is withing walkable distance of San Carlos Beach and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It also sits in the center of Cannery Row, offering easy access to many of the area’s attractions. You may have trouble leaving the cozy atmosphere, though: each room is equipped with a fireplace, while afternoon wine and cheese receptions invite light conversation and socializing. Looking for alone time instead? There are spa services to soothe your tired mind and muscles.
From $323/ night
Situated on an irresistibly scenic, rocky coastline, this inn lives up to its pastoral name. The setting appears to be as romantic as it sounds, given that past reviewers have rated it nearly a perfect 10 for traveling couples. (Coincidentally, it’s less than a half-mile from Lovers Point Park.) Beach views are a given here, as are other sights sure to inspire sweet nothings, like the inn’s surrounding gardens. Afternoon brings a wine and cheese reception, while night promises the soft embrace of goose-down duvets. That all makes for a pretty enticing, amorous getaway.
From $89/ night
This cozy, clean and AAA-approved inn offers much in terms of walkability: live music, whale watching and the Monterey Museum of Art are all nearby. While it may lack the more high-end looks of the other properties on our list, the Cannery Row Inn is an affordable option that’s but a two-minute walk from San Carlos Beach. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and Fisherman’s Wharf are also nearby, reachable in 10 minutes by foot. And there’s no shortage of space to relax: rooms come with a flatscreen TV, fridge, microwave and patio or balcony. Some rooms even come with a fireplace!
From $79/ night
At 11 minutes from the beach, the Lone Oak Lodge offers a compelling blend of value and location. It was among the most affordable, highly-rated properties in Monterey, and yet it doesn’t skimp on amenities: there’s an indoor hot tub, spa room, fitness center and dry sauna. Outside you’ll find a patio, BBQ area and even a place for scuba divers to rinse off. Free parking and wifi sweeten the deal further, making that pleasant 11-minute walk look even cheerier.