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Pacific Grove, CA

About Pacific GroveBack in 1875 this delightfully picturesque community was a Methodist summer camp, with tents huddled under Monterey pines. The last chautauqua was held in 1926, but many historic buildings remain and Pacific Grove's residential neighborhoods are filled with charming Victorian-style houses, many with lovingly tended flower gardens.

Just north of Monterey, Pacific Grove is the northern starting point for the popular and spectacularly scenic 17-Mile Drive. Ocean View Boulevard, which runs along the water in the center of town, is perfect for an early morning stroll. A paved walking path winds along the rocky shoreline past clumps of spiny, fleshy-leaved aloes and green carpets of ice plants all the way to Point Pinos.

Well-groomed Lover's Point Park, at Grand Avenue and Ocean View Boulevard, is a great place to do your morning stretching, have a picnic on the grass or just while away a sunny afternoon on a bench gazing out over the water. You can clamber around the rocks at the point but watch your footing, as it's easy to slip. Because of its east-facing location, Lover's Point is one of a handful of spots along the California coast where the suns rises rather than sets over water.

A stairway leads down to Lover's Point Beach, a small patch of sand with waves that are usually gentle enough for wading and paddleboarding. There's a beach volleyball court, a couple of picnic tables and a snack bar that's open seasonally. Low tide exposes tide pools where you can spot crabs, sea anemones and other marine dwellers.

From Lover's Point Park, walk or bike the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail. It runs from Pacific Grove and Monterey all the way to Castroville. The former Southern Pacific Railroad right of way has separate pedestrian and biking lanes and offers plenty of scenic bay views.

The Pacific Grove Farmers Market sets up on Central Avenue between Forest and Grand avenues on Monday afternoons from 3 to 7 (3-6 during the winter months). Vendors at this small market offer organic produce, honey and specialty foods.

Within the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, 1 block west of Lighthouse Avenue and 17-Mile Drive on Ridge Road, is an area where visitors have the opportunity to spot orange-and-black monarch butterflies. The location is a stop on the monarch's seasonal migration route. The butterflies gather between October and mid-February. Contact the sanctuary for information about the likeliest times to see them; phone (831) 648-5716.

A long-running Pacific Grove tradition is the Good Old Days Celebration weekend, which takes place along Central Avenue in early or mid-April. This family-oriented event features an arts and crafts show, a parade, games and contests for kids, kiddie rides, live entertainment and lots of food vendors. Central Avenue also is the site of the Holiday Parade of Lights in late November or early December, a parade complete with marching bands, lighted and holiday-themed floats, dance teams and an appearance by Santa Claus.

Visitor Centers Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce Information Center 100 Central Ave. Pacific Grove, CA 93950. Phone:(831)324-4668

Self-guiding ToursWalking tour brochures with information about Pacific Grove's Victorian homes and historic buildings are available at the information center.

ShoppingAmerican Tin Cannery Premium Outlets, 125 Ocean View Blvd., includes factory-direct and specialty stores.

Things to Do Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Point Pinos Lighthouse

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Pacific Grove, CA

Top AAA Diamond Hotels

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Best Western The Inn & Suites Pacific Grove

660 Dennett St. Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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Lovers Point Inn

625 Ocean View Blvd. Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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Monarch Resort

1111 Lighthouse Ave. Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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Centrella Inn

612 Central Ave. Pacific Grove, CA 93950

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