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See Monterey like a Nat Geo Explorer

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Outdoor Activities

From nature walks to good eats, take advantage of these insider tips to this California hot spot.

By Tierney Thys

Monterey is California’s hot spot for ocean lovers. It’s home to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can come face-to-face with otherwise elusive marine life like ridiculously cute sea otters, giant ocean sunfish, and hypnotic jellies. You can explore the very same tide pools that captivated John Steinbeck. If your stomach’s seaworthy, you can even venture offshore into water so chock-full of whales, sharks, seals, squid, sea otters, and seabirds we call it the Blue Serengeti. Monterey was the original capital of California, so it has a special place in the state’s history. Add to all this its rich literary tradition and fantastic restaurants, and Monterey is the poster child for how a community can pull together to restore ecosystem health and create a thriving tourist destination.

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