The Best Place To Watch Sunrise In Monterey, California

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It was my very first west coast sunrise and to this day, I still consider it to be the very best place to watch the sunrise in Monterey! In fact, I may believe that a sunrise in Monterey is the best place to view the sunrise in all of California!

Mom Is Rewarded by a Monterey Sunrise

In the early month of May, my family took our very first cross country family vacation. In fact, it was this vacation that launched this very website! I still consider it to be our first epic road trip and it was the place where I was bit by the US National Parks bug!

We began our epic journey from Tennessee to California in San Francisco. After spending less than twenty four glorious hours in San Francisco, we drove to Monterey just in time for a late dinner, but unfortunately, we missed the sunset. However, thanks to a 3 year old who was still on east coast time, I was awakened by 5:15 am the next morning. Sneaking out so as not to wake the rest of the family, we stepped out on the sidewalk of this quaint town with adorable buildings and street signs into the brisk cool morning. I crossed the street from our hotel to a very nice jogging and biking trail called Monterey Bay Coastal Trail.

Little did I know that this time my duty to get up with my little one would be rewarded with a beautiful Monterey sunrise! The moment I stepped onto the trail, I was met with this amazing sunrise! This is quite a sunrise for my very first west coast sunrise! WOW!

Monterey Hotels
Monterey Hotel

Cannery Row Monterey, CA

After enjoying the sunrise, my little guy and I made our way down to Cannery Row. It was early so most of the shops weren’t open yet, but it was peaceful taking an early morning stroll.  

Monterey Canning Co.

I didn’t know much about the history of Monterey, CA prior to my visit.  During WW1 Monterey became the home of a booming fish canning industry primarily canning sardines.

 “Cannery Row’s wartime production grew from 75,000 cases in 1915 to 1.4 million in 1918”(click text for source)

Cannery Row Monterey
Cannery Row Company

Another claim to fame for Monterey and specifically Cannery Row came when the famous twentieth century author, John Steinbeck, wrote a fiction novel named after the street.

Cannery Row follows the adventures of Mack and the boys, a group of unemployed yet resourceful men who inhabit a converted fishmeal shack on the edge of a vacant lot down on the Row.
Mack and the boys want to do something nice for Doc, the gentle and intellectual proprietor of a biological supply house, a fatherly and kind figure to all. They make elaborate plans to give Doc a party, but the plans go awry, and Mack and the boys must seek a way to make things right.
The book weaves in poignant tales of other colorful denizens of the Row and paints an unforgettable portrait of the once vital canning district on the brink of its disappearance.

Steinbeck Plaza Monument Monterey, CA

This monument in the center of Steinbeck Plaza pays tribute not only to Steinbeck, but to several other members of Monterey’s history, including, a Chinese fisherman and other local entrepreneurs.  Read more about the history of Monterey here and the statue here.

Steinbeck Monterey Monument

Very unfortunate there wasn’t time for visiting any of the tasting rooms, but it is a road trip and we have a long drive today.  Too bad!

Monterey Tasting Room
Monterey Tasting Room

There were so many amazing views and beautiful scenes to capture. After the rest of the family woke up and joined us, we toured on foot the rest of cannery row and spent several minutes viewing sea lions and seals before heading back to our hotel and down the road to our next exciting coastal vista!

Sadly there is a Divers Memorial here to commemorate two divers who died while working on the sardine pipes in the 1930’s and 40’s.

Monterey attracts divers from around the world. If you are interested in learning more about diving in Monterey read this Guide To Scuba Diving in Monterey, California. Here is a helpful review of wetsuits should you decide to give diving a try while in Monterey.

Monterey CA Scenic View

Despite numerous recommendations to go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, we unfortunately had a long drive ahead of us and our schedule did not allow for it. Instead, we spent the morning walking around the town taking in the sights and snapping some beautiful photos. If you have a bit more time, check out this 3 day itinerary for Monterey, Carmel, and Big Sur.

Though we only had a few hours in this quaint seaside village town, we made the most of our morning.  The crisp spring air accompanied by the beautiful sunrises, the playful sea lions, and the sounds of the ocean splashing on the rocks made it perfectly clear why John Steinbeck would choose such a location as a back drop for a novel.  It was just like a scene from a book! 

Have you been to Monterey? We’d love to hear about your experience. Leave us a comment or hop over to our Facebook page and let us know about your time in Monterey, California.

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21 thoughts on “The Best Place To Watch Sunrise In Monterey, California”

  1. Gorgeous photos – I loved Monterey when we visited California. We stayed just outside the city and spent most of our day there at the aquarium (which is amazing if you get chance to go back) but it is a lovely city to explore. Thanks for linking up with #citytripping

  2. Such beautiful photos! I’ve always loved Monterey and even ran a half marathon which routed us down Cannery Row! #citytripping

  3. That is one happy three-year-old, especially so early in the morning! I live closer to SF and keep saying that I’ll get down to Monterey (especially for the aquarium), it looks like a beautiful place with plenty to do! #CityTripping

  4. You’re going to have to find a way back to Monterrey. The aquarium really is fantastic, and there is plenty to do and see in the area. (Even without the wine trail!) And it’s all gorgeous! Your sunrise photos are beautiful, as are the coastal views. You’re making us want to go back again! #TheWeeklyPostcard

  5. When we drove the Pacific Coast, we skipped Monterrey due to time constraints. Now I feel I should have stopped! At least for a beautiful sunset. Love your pictures! #weekendwanderlust

  6. What a beautiful sunrise. I never intentionally get up for the sunrise, but when I’m up for it, I am always delighted and tell myself that I should watch the sunrise more often.

  7. Sunrise is the best time of day for photography if you can get up out the door that early. I guess having a little guy on east coast time will certainly help! You’ve captured some beautiful shots of Monterey. Thanks for linking in to #wkendtravelinspiration

  8. Great that you had a sunny day for Monterey. There certainly is plenty to do in Monterey and I missed some of the places you saw. I did enjoy the aquarium when I was there.

  9. Aw your California sunrise pictures are making me a bit homesick! Sadly, I’ve never been to Monterey, but we are planning a big Cali road trip for next year and it’s on my itinerary! Thanks for linking up with #TheWeeklyPostcard!

  10. I must confess I had no idea what Big Little LIes was as I have never seen it. I had to google it! LOL ?

  11. I didn’t get to spend much time in Monterrey either, so I need to go back! I went and did whale watching and that was amazing. I want to go back and visit the aquarium and the tasting rooms. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

  12. It is hard to beat the beauty of Monterey and its bay. In my opinion, it is one of the most spectacular places in California. At least, your son helped you to get those lovely morning shots. And, strolling the Cannery Row area seems like a good idea. I can get very crowded after midday. #TheWeeklyPostcard

  13. I cannot wait to get back out west! and yes, my kids always get up early even here (530 east coast time!) so we will be up for sunrises in Cali Im sure. And I agree with Corey, BIG LITTLE LIES all the way!

  14. This is going to sound really shallow given your John Steinback references, but I just started watching Big Little Lies and that’s all I can think of when reading this post! Haha. But seriously, Monterey is such a beautiful town (I lived in Cali for a few years) and those sunrise photos you captured are simply stunning. #theweeklypostcard

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