By Ilona Kauremszky

Q: What’s free in Monterey County?

A: Finding out the budget-friendly hot spots is always an interesting request. Located between Los Angeles and San Francisco along the central coastline of California, visitors have been attracted to this county ever since the 1880s. Artists and adventure-seekers are attracted to the pristine beauty and the historic communities that hug the 160-km coastline.

Here’s a list of thrills that won’t cost you a cent: Get a taste of what life was like in the early days of old Monterey on the Monterey Path of History tour, which visits more than 40 historic buildings and sites (Free self-guided and docent-led tours available).

Climb a real, full size 1956 steam engine at Dennis the Menace Playground, designed by Dennis the Menace creator’s Hank Ketcham. Walk (cars are charged a fee, pedestrians are not) into Pt. Lobos State Reserve and hike to the cove said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. Bike, rollerblade or jog along the scenic Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, a 29-km stretch of paved pathway that runs alongside Monterey Bay.

Inspect the sea lions on the rocks at the end of the Coast Guard Pier. Lastly, follow in the footsteps of John Steinbeck’s characters in “Cannery Row” by exploring the tide pools of the Monterey Bay coastline, especially near Asilomar State Beach.

For more information on any of the above, contact the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau by calling them toll-free 888-221-1010 or by visiting or You can also order a free Monterey County travel guide that describes attractions, events and hotels in the area.


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