People may have first chosen to live around the Monterey Bay for its natural resources – the fertile land and the bountiful ocean – but over the centuries our perceptions of nature have changed from pure exploitation to wonder and enjoyment. Where our forebears saw fur coats and profits, visitors today see playful and character-filled sea otters and seals. Where once the bay was virtually picked clean of edibles, from abalone to sardines the Monterey Bay National Sanctuary and various shoreline nature presser help keep humans and nature in balance. Indeed, the bay here is home to nationally significant research facilities such as the Monterey Bay Research Institute, Hopkins Marine Station, and the Elkhorn Slough National Research Reserve. They cooperate with many groups and institutions, working together to understand and protect our oceans.

The California State Parks website offers information on places to hike or mountain bike through wildlands that have not changed much since the earliest inhabitants first established the easiest way up or down the grade.

The Point Lobos Reserve called the “the greatest meeting of land and sea”. This special park offers views and history related to the natural history of the Monterey area and is often referred to as the “crown jewel of the State Parks system.