I was recently asked to share my opinion on what's great about living on the Monterey Peninsula. To each person who spends time living on the Monterey Peninsula, there's a special and unique sense of ownership. Whether it's the ocean, the charming neighborhoods, or the vast stretches of wilderness, there is something for everyone here. In this article, I discuss some of the benefits of living on the Monterey Peninsula. Enjoy the read and let me know what stands out to you!
The Weather is Gorgeous Year-round
Most discussions of living on the Monterey Peninsula begin with the beautiful year-round weather. Here in the coastal region of the Monterey Peninsula (Carmel Highlands, Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, Monterey, Seaside), we average between 50-70 degrees year-round. Our winter lows for nights/mornings go low 40s, and our higher spikes go 80s. Occasionally we can see a record high day in the 90s. Along the coastline, it can be a foggy day in the 60s, yet fifteen minutes east into Carmel Valley it can be a clear sunny day in the 80s.
You can buy a charming cottage with ocean views near downtown Carmel, and enjoy walking to coffee and the beach. Or, you can find your dream home in the sun-drenched foothills of Carmel Valley, enjoying rolling vineyards and beautiful resorts like the Carmel Valley Ranch. This consistently enjoyable weather attracts millions of visitors year-round. We have a good number of second-home owners from states like Texas, that come here just to escape the heat of summer.
The Protected Waters of the Monterey Coastline
Just south of Carmel is Point Lobos State Natural Preserve, an international tourist destination. Not only is the wilderness of this part of the Monterey Peninsula coast protected, the ocean is too. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects the ocean and kelp forests clear out over 30 miles off the coast. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best aquariums in the world. It has so many awesome activities (my son recently got to go diving with their underwater explorers program). The ocean temperature is usually in the 50s and we like to go swimming / kayaking at Lover’s Point Beach.
The Majestic Big Sur Wilderness
A little further south we have the vast wilderness of the Las Padres National Forest. Big Sur is home to the most stunning wilderness destinations, each offering a unique experience. Ventana Wilderness, Andrew Molera State Park, Garrapata State Park, Pfeiffer Campground and Beach — stunning coastal beauty and fresh air just a short drive down the coast. You can enjoy a fine dining and 4-star hotel experience right on the coast, or trek inland to immerse yourself in the quiet solitude of nature.
Set in the Midst of 4 Major Regions
In addition to the spectacular coast, you also enjoy all other major climate regions in California. The Monterey Peninsula is centrally located and a relative short distance to Mountains, the Central Valley and Deserts. California has the largest number of state parks of any state in the country. Not only that, it also has the most National Parks. For example, I personally lived and worked in Yosemite National Park for a year when I was 21 years old. It's a family destination for us every year, a short retreat into the healing evergreens of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Likewise, we have world-renowned Lake Tahoe for summer water activities and the winter snow season. In contrast, we have the Mojave Desert for vast, open outdoor adventures, to really get away. Joshua Tree is spectacular.
Teeming with a Diversity of Wildlife
It is no secret that California is a nature lover’s dream. The lush and vibrant coastal habitats of the Monterey Peninsula are teeming with the most divers array of wildlife. Visitors from across the globe come to appreciate the hiking trails, natural parks, tide pools, redwoods and whale-watching tours. For example, it is not uncommon to encounter seals and sea otters, whales, seagulls, eagles and hawks, deer, squirrels, foxes, coyotes, and so much more — including the occasional mountain lion! The natural beauty of the Monterey Peninsula is not just a tourist attraction. For those of us living here, sharing this area with wildlife is simply a part of everyday life.
Produce Farms & Vineyards - Culinary Paradise
California is also one of the produce capitals of the world, and if you are into fresh food, then living on the Monterey Peninsula is paradise. Sustainable organic farming is all around us, and yes farmer’s markets are trending in every town. We have the top-quality version of almost every food source. This includes our Monterey Wharf and Moss Landing fisheries for seafood, organic fruit and vegetable farms of the Salinas Valley, organic meat and dairy, sustainable bee farms, the list goes on, all in close proximity. Of course, we also have some of the finest wine regions in the world, just a short getaway to Paso Robles and Napa Valley.
Proximity to Tech & Culture Capitals of the World
That’s the cool thing about living on the Monterey Peninsula - we have access to everything! We are situated between two of the cultural / economic epicenters of the world - Los Angeles and the Bay Area, along with the tech-capital of the world in the Silicon Valley. For example, my brother is a writer and an actor, and lives in Los Angeles. He enjoys being there for the immense creative potential all concentrated in such a relatively small geographic space. My mom is a nationally syndicated writer, and she recently downsized to a gorgeous home on a few acres with stunning views in Carmel Valley. Like my brother, she is an artist, however she prefers to sit on the porch with her laptop and write from the privacy of her valley retreat, overlooking the mountains and wilderness below.
Global Events & Luxury Attractions
The Monterey Peninsula is also home to some of the most popular events in the world, with Laguna Seca Raceway, Monterey Jazz Festival, Big Sur Marathon, Pebble Beach AT&T & US Open Golf events, Concours d'Elegance car show, and more. These attractions draw visitors from across the globe. If you want civilization and culture, you certainly have it in abundance all around. And yet you can retreat an hour inland and be completely off the grid on 20 acres, if you prefer.
A Rich and Storybook History
It's true that living on the Monterey Peninsula gives access to the latest amenities. Yet you're also situated in an area rich with cultural history. From the adobes of Monterey, Colton Hall and Custom House Plaza, to Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, the hundreds of historic structures in Pacific Grove, with many craftsman and Victorians still preserved in exquisite condition, to the Carmel Mission and the Artist and Writer colony that gave birth to famed Carmel-by-the-Sea, there is so much character infused into the towns and landscape. Part of why it is so awesome is because there is a concentrated effort to preserve that history and charm. We have historic preservation standards in place in Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel, all with an emphasis on maintaining the integrity of the original designs. For example, I just sold a historic home in Pacific Grove, a proud craftsman estate that has been beautifully updated inside, but still maintains the original curb appeal and period woodwork of the 1930s build. You can see that recent sale here.
You Really Can Have it All
In conclusion, to me the reason why living on the Monterey Peninsula is such a blessing is because the quality of life is like nowhere else in the world. You have everything at your fingertips, and can really craft a living situation tailored perfectly to your life. You may be partial to the quaint, charming historic neighborhoods with some of the top-rated school districts in the country. On the other hand, perhaps you are called by the vast stretches of beautiful, protected wilderness. Maybe you enjoy the premier fine dining, golf and resort experiences. Or having access to the stunning beaches, blue waters and sunset views of Monterey Bay and the Pacific Ocean. However you define "quality of life, living on the Monterey Peninsula will likely allow you to have it all!
What are some of the reasons you love living on the Monterey Peninsula? I would enjoy hearing some of the positives that stand out to you!