Visiting Pacific Grove is like taking a delightful step back in time. Once a summer retreat for church groups, today it still emanates a sense of tranquility. Victorian houses dot the 2.5-square-mile (6.5-square-kilometer) city, deer wander through the streets and, in fall, the skies fill with thousands of monarch butterflies. Amble along the pretty streets, walk along the seafront boulevard and search for wildlife in Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Pacific Grove is best enjoyed on foot, so put on your most comfortable footwear and stroll in the sunshine. Walk along the 3-mile-long (5-kilometer) Ocean View Boulevard, a cliff-top promenade where you can spot plants and dozens of species of birds. Sit on one of the benches and enjoy the views of Monterey Bay. Spend some time in the pretty little Marine Gardens Park.
Walk to the end of the boulevard, marked by the Point Pinos Lighthouse. Famed as one of the oldest continually operating lighthouses in the country, it has guided ships to safety with its 50,000-candlepower beacon since the mid-1800s. Visit the interesting little museum inside the lighthouse.
Pacific Grove is perched on the edge of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, a haven for wildlife and nature. Venture to Lovers Point to glimpse sea otters diving for abalone. Go rock-pooling to spot crabs, starfish and limpets.
In autumn, the skies above Pacific Grove fill with tens of thousands of orange-and-black monarch butterflies as they pass through on one of the world’s most astounding migrations. See them hanging in great bunches from eucalyptus trees in Monarch Grove Sanctuary and George Washington Park. To learn more about the region’s nature, visit the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History.
Pacific Grove is 42 miles (67 kilometers) south of Santa Cruz and 113 miles (181 kilometers) south of San Francisco. Navigate this tiny city easily on foot or by bicycle.