Your Coastal Refuge in the Monterey Bay: Asilomar Hotel

Old world charm and coastal adventures.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

Beautiful beaches, whales, forested hills, and famous writers all converge at Monterey Bay in central California. Just two hours south of San Francisco, Monterey Bay feels a world apart from the fast-paced life of the city. When a break from the everyday grind is what you need, book yourself a stay in the old-world charm of the Asilomar Hotel.

Designed by Julia Morgan—the renowned architect whose work also includes the Hearst Castle—the Asilomar Hotel was built in the Arts & Crafts style between 1913 and 1928, and is a designated National Historic Landmark. The 107 acres of beachfront property include a restored dune ecosystem, and the hotel's location in Pacific Grove gives visitors easy access to all the adventures of Monterey Bay. 

It's great for groups, too, with on-site conference rooms and plentiful sleeping accommodations between their standard rooms and spacious cottages.

The Monterey Bay area has changed a lot since John Steinbeck wrote his iconic work "Cannery Row," but there's still a mix of grit and beauty to be found for those who are looking. Seafood restaurants lining the pier offer free samples of everything from chowder to crab cakes, and a touristy marina has every imaginable type of gift shop. But getting into the outdoors is where Monterey really shines. 

Book a boat tour in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and catch a glimpse of whales, seals, sea lions, and otters. Hop on your bike right at Asilomar Hotel and take a biking tour of the coast along beautiful Sunset Drive, or, to push your legs even harder, pedal the entire 17 Mile Drive through ritzy Pebble Beach. 

Adventure by Mitch Pittman

The Asilomar Hotel is also a great home base to check out the world-famous coastline of Big Sur. Spend a day exploring with stops at McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, then return to the Asilomar Hotel to dine in one of their two restaurants before relaxing in the year-round, heated outdoor pool.

Sound a little too busy for your weekend of relaxation? We totally get it. Here's what you do instead: from your room at the Asilomar Hotel, walk the short trail to Asilomar State Beach. Set up a chair on the sand or in a secluded rocky cove and watch the waves crash in and out. Enjoy the sight of sea lions lazily riding the surf, and maybe bring your binoculars to check out the seabirds. Fly a kite, if the mood strikes you. 

But really, just soak it in. Because that's one of the best parts about the Asilomar Hotel...wildness is just a moment away.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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