You could be excused for not knowing much about Pacific Grove. Its neighbors are so well known that it's easy to overlook the little town on the end of the Monterey Peninsula while being dazzled by busy, former cannery town Monterey or relaxing in precious, cute Carmel. By comparison, Pacific Grove is like a shy girl standing off the side at the prom: pretty but unnoticed.
Take a closer look and you'll find a less-touristed place to visit, a town full of pretty Victorian-era architecture and surrounded by spectacular scenery, with a down to earth ambiance. Located on the southwest corner of the Monterey Bay at the tip of the Monterey Peninsula, it has a stunning coastline that's easily accessible by automobile - some lovely small hotels and B&Bs - and a walkable, friendly downtown.
You could visit Pacific Grove while you're weekending in one of the other area towns, but if you're looking for a quiet, laid-back place to enjoy the area from, Pacific Grove may be your best bet.
What are you waiting for? Start planning your weekend getaway using the resources below.
Why Should You Go? Will You Like Pacific Grove?
- Take a sneak peek at the Pacific Grove Pictures.
- Pacific Grove is not as well known as its neighboring communities, and you might especially enjoy it if you've already visited the other Monterey Peninsula towns and are looking for something different.
- You may also like Pacific Grove if you prefer a quieter ambiance.
Best Time to Go to Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove weather is best in spring and fall, when the skies are clearer and crowds thinner. In summer (especially June), you're more likely to encounter fog and cloudy days when the ocean marine layer never clears.
Things to Do in Pacific Grove
Don't Miss: We think the drive along Ocean View Blvd. from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Asilomar State Beach is just as pretty as the 17-Mile Drive, and it doesn't cost a penny to take it. Bring a picnic, bring your camera or just bring a good book and read it while sitting and listening to the surf. This map shows the route.
For more ideas, check the top things to do in Pacific Grove.
Annual Events You Should Know About
- Feast of Lanterns, July: This festival has been around for more than 100 years. Events include a pet parade, entertainment, a beauty pageant and sand castle building contest.
- The Big Sur Half Marathon takes place every fall. Hotels are likely to get filled up and the course runs along the coastal scenic drive, blocking it to automobile traffic. Even if you aren't running, it's a good idea to know the date.
- Butterfly season runs from October through early March, when the colorful orange-and-black monarch butterflies stop for the winter. The town holds numerous events to celebrate their tiny visitors
For breakfast, locals head for Aliotti's Victorian Corner (541 Lighthouse Ave) for hearty breakfasts served in a lovely dining room, especially nice on a warm day when they open the windows. Red House Cafe (662 Lighthouse Ave) is also popular and well-regarded.
Where to StayYou'll find some nice small hotels and excellent bed and breakfast inns in Pacific Grove. Get all the inside information about where to stay - and why in the Pacific Grove Lodging Guide.
If you're on a tight budget, learn how to find a good place to stay, cheap.
Getting to Pacific Grove
Pacific Grove is on the western tip of the Monterey Peninsula. It's west of Salinas and 75 miles from San Jose, 115 miles from San Francisco, 190 miles from Sacramento and 325 miles from Los Angeles.
From San Francisco and the north, you can take Highway 1 all the way down to Monterey, or take US 101, Highway 156 west and Highway 1 south. Coming from the south, you can take Highway 1 up from Morro Bay and Hearst Castle or from US 101, exit at Salinas, following the signs toward Monterey. From Highway 1, take Highway 68 west.
Nearby Monterey has a small airport that receives some commercial flights (MRY), but the nearest big airport is in San Jose (SJC).