Discover Secret Historic Gardens
History is abloom at the lush courtyard gardens tucked behind the Spanish-era homes that comprise Monterey Historic State Park. Often bypassed due to tall obscuring walls, the mature gardens offer year-round blooms and quiet respite amid Monterey’s bustling downtown. At the 1847 Pacific House, the magnolia-shaded Memory Garden—designed in 1927 by noted landscaper Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr.—features a rippling Spanish tile–adorned fountain and original plantings of wisteria, citrus trees, and a sprawling Australian tea tree. The garden wasn’t always this genteel. The site once hosted ferocious bear and bull fights, an unfortunate spectator sport during California’s early years.
Enjoy a Bird’s-Eye View of the Monterey Peninsula
Thrilling, easily accessed panoramic vistas lure visitors to Jacks Peak Park, a 525-acre nature preserve that encompasses the highest point on the Monterey Peninsula and one of the last native Monterey pine forests in the world. From a hilltop parking lot, follow the .8-mile Skyline Nature Trail as it loops across a forested ridge with sweeping views of the region and numerous points of interest such as shale-embedded Miocene fossils detailed in an interpretive pamphlet available at the trailhead. Scenic, BBQ grill–equipped day-use areas make it a popular picnic spot; just remember to pack the burger patties and Monterey Jack. The park’s 1,068-foot peak honors David Jack, a prominent 19th-century landowner who has been credited with popularizing the creamy cheese.