Lower Presidio Historic Park.mp4

Historic Hidden Gem

Visit the hidden gem Lower Presidio Historic Park in Monterey

Smack in the middle of Monterey, and featuring a phenomenal view of the bay and the harbor, Lower Presidio Historic Park is truly an undiscovered gem. In fact, some historians have called it “the most historically significant site on the West Coast of America.” Indeed, historical events here span eras of Native Americans, the Spanish and Mexican periods, through to invading Americans and the stationing of Buffalo Soldiers and development of the Defense Language Institute.

The park’s less-visited status might be because the entrance into the park looks quite formal, located on a protected preserve of the U.S. Army. This place is open and very welcoming to the public—and it’s well worth a visit. The hilltop, marked by the impressive Sloat Monument—a massive granite eagle—has featured prominently in much of the state’s evolution.

Placards throughout the park provide history and context as you wend your way up the path. There’s a museum that’s free to visit on weekends, with a docent on site. Opposite the Sloat Monument and across the parking area, you’ll find the Lower Presidio’s Harbor Trail, a short and easy path documenting details of Monterey’s First Peoples—the Esselen and Rumsien Ohlone—and of the Bouchard Monument, named for a Navy commander from Argentina who was viewed by Californians as a rebellious pirate (!), and the Junipero Serra Monument.

The vista from here is nothing short of sublime, whether the coast is clear or distant fog is rolling in … sailboats bob in the sea, and the colorful wharf buildings brighten up the setting.

BEER BUZZ: Dust Bowl Brewing Company in downtown Monterey is a must-stop Tap Depot for those who like a great atmosphere with their tasty beer (24 taps, to be precise). The front patio is where you go to play some corn-hole and the back patio here is casual and warmed by a fire-pit and heaters on cooler days. Eclectic varieties of beer include Peace, Love, and Haze, Taco Truck Amber, and the Cherry Pie Picker (Stout).

MORE BUZZ: If you like an authentic local coffee roaster, head to the best coffee in Monterey at Captain and Stoker. This is not a hidden gem, because the coffee is that good. So you’ll stand in line, but it’s worth it for that classic cup of … what’s it gonna be, The Captain, or The Stoker?

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Sugarloaf Ridge State Park waterfall hike in Sonoma Valley

    Sweet as Sugarloaf

    Right in the heart of wine country there’s plenty more than wine flowing right now, with an oft unheralded waterfall that has surged to an exuberant spectacle from all the recent rain.

    View
  2. Muiraculous Beauty

    Ready to make your non-California friends jealous? Have a bonfire at Muir Beach while watching the sunset. This is Northern California living at its most braggadocious.

    View
  3. From Town to Falls

    Mount Tam’s Cascade Falls is a bit under the radar, tucked back off a residential area in Mill Valley. Some people drive up to the tiny parking lot nearest to the falls. Do an easy 3-mile (round-trip) hike right from downtown Mill Valley, weaving through quiet streets and secret trails.

    View
  4. oak manor labyrinth

    Loma Alta's Hidden Labyrinth

    Oak Manor Labyrinth in Marin’s Loma Alta Open Space is a hidden gem with huge views. The 2-mile out-and-back hike to reach it is a bit steep in parts, but the payoff is a 360-degree joy to the wild (with a bit of cityscape).

    View

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Best in Snow

    There’s snow better destination for outdoor fun and events. Plumas County is a northern Sierra Nevada dreamland, with vast outdoor spaces, places, and races! Snowshoe Lassen Volcanic National Park, downhill ski at charming Coppervale Resort, and have a blast at the quirky Longboard Races.

    View
  2. Hike from Point Fermin Park to Angels Gate Park

    Park it Here

    Do a 2.5-mile scenic hike from Point Fermin Park to Angels Gate Park in Los Angeles. It’s got big trees, big ocean views, and a food and beer bonus!

    View
  3. Skull On!

    Temescal Canyon not only has epic views, it's got a waterfall right now, one that only shows after big rains. Head out on this 4.6-mile loop.

    View
  4. Two people walking towards Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point Orange County

    Getting Salty

    Long walks on the beach are great, but what about long walks to the beach? This 7.7-mile (round-trip) to the beautiful Salt Creek Beach in Dana Point is one of the best in Orange County.

    View