Monterey Bay's Fascinating Facts

February 23, 2024
Monterey Bay's Fascinating Facts - Monterey view

Monterey Bay isn't just one of the most beautiful spots on California's coast! This destination also has a fascinating history that captivates visitors looking for information about landmarks and natural attractions. You can start planning your upcoming visit using these Monterey Bay fun facts!

1. Monterey Bay Is Home to Splendid Submarine Canyon

Nestled in the center of Monterey Bay, Monterey Canyon is the largest submarine canyon on any North American coast. With a rim-to-floor relief maxing out at more than 5,500, it rivals the Grand Canyon in size! The Monterey Canyon is important for geologists and researchers because it allows them to gather data on tsunamis and other geohazards. The canyon attracts marine researchers because it is a hotbed for diverse sea life.

2. Some of the Biggest and Smallest Marine Species Live in the Bay

Monterey Bay has an incredible level of biodiversity spread across thousands of species. In fact, the underwater environment here is so diverse that it is home to everything from swarms of microscopic plankton to blue whales! As a result, the bay is an important source of information about ecological conservation for researchers. Of course, people who are simply fascinated by nature also enjoy the many underwater excursions and cruises available around Monterey Bay.

3. Whale Watching Is One of the Best Pastimes Here

Whale watching

Did you know that California's Monterey Bay is considered one of the world's top spots for whale watching? It's allowed to the fact that the Pacific waters of the bay are teeming with nutrients that attract a number of different whale species. When taking a whale cruise, it's common to see blue, grey, and humpback whales coming into the bay to feed at different points in the year.

4. It Houses a National Marine Sanctuary

Spanning more than 6,000 square miles, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the largest protected ocean area connected to the continental United States. The distinction helps ensure that the sanctuary's glistening tide pools, seamounts, and kelp forests are preserved for both animals and humans to enjoy for many more generations. This protected area is so rich in biodiversity and ecological significance that it is known as the "Serengeti of the Sea" by researchers.

5. Otters Love It Here

Cute otters

While the magnificent whales that breach over the waves of Monterey Bay garner lots of attention, the bay also has some lesser-known inhabitants. The cutest creatures to hang around the bay are sea otters! During cruises and other excursions, it's quite common for tourists to see playful otters floating on their backs in the tides without a care in the world. You might even see parent otters caring for their young!

6. Diving Conditions Are Incredible Here

Divers come to Monterey Bay from around the world to take advantage of a combination of clear water and abundant marine life. Once submerged, a world of kelp forests and vibrant schools of fish will open up for you. Diving depths at various diving points can reach 20 feet to 60 feet. Popular dive spots within the bay's sanctuary include Whaler's Cove in Point Lobos State Park, Breakwater in Monterey, and the Pinnacles at Carmel Bay.

7. John Steinbeck Was Inspired by Monterey Bay

Woman with a view of Monterey

Author John Steinbeck's deep personal connection to Monterey is reflected in his celebrated body of work. Best known for his works focused on Cannery Row life during the Great Depression, Steinbeck was a Salinas native who depicted Monterey County in a number of books that included the famed "East of Eden" and "Cannery Row." Of course, Steinbeck wasn't the only artist inspired by Monterey Bay. Literary fans may know that Robert Louis Stevenson used the Point Lobos State Reserve to inspire Spyglass Hill in 1883's "Treasure Island." Hollywood has also come calling in Monterey Bay more than once. The Monterey Peninsula has been used as a filming location for dozens of films, including "Basic Instinct" and "Star Trek: The Voyage Home."

Experiencing All That Monterey Bay Has to Offer

These Monterey Bay fun facts truly only scratch the surface of the fascinating history of this region! While reading interesting facts about the region is always fun, there's nothing like seeing its full beauty in person. Much more can be learned when visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, attending the annual Monterey Jazz Festival, or touring one of the many historical landmarks near Monterey CA!

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