Monterey is a delightful place to stop before heading south along the coast road from San Francisco. Immortalised by Steinbeck, it used to be the sardine capital of the world before overfishing killed the trade in the mid 1940s. Tourists became the new sardines, the canneries transformed into shops, bars and restaurants.
Essential sights include the superb Monterey Aquarium and, close to the town centre, the scenic ‘17 Mile Drive’ which parallels the white sand beaches and seabird colonies of the forested Monterey Peninsula, finishing at the dainty, artsy town of Carmel.
Big Sur is the name given to the 75 mile magnificent stretch of highway that snakes south from Monterey between the surf and the Santa Lucia mountains.