Monterey County is located on the Central Coast of California just south of the San Francisco Bay Area, about 45 miles from San Jose and 106 miles from the City of San Francisco. It was created in 1850 as one of California's original counties as it became a state the very same year. Parts of the county were given parceled to San Benito County in 1874.
The rich Salinas Valley extends through the heart of the County, making Monterey the third largest agricultural county in California. It is merely one of the state's top romance and golf destinations.
To the west of Monterey County is the Pacific Ocean, the Monterey Bay, and Monterey National Marine Sanctuary. Other counties that surround Monterey include Santa Cruz, San Benito, Fresno, Kings, Kern, and San Luis Obispo Counties.
The County also offers the longest coastline of any California county and attracts more than 3 million visitors annually to destinations such as Fisherman’s Wharf, the Cannery and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. In addition, the wine industry produces upwards of $238 million per year and attracts visitors to the wine trail.
The county was named by Sebastián Vizcaíno in 1602 in honor of the Count of Monterrey. The county is comprised of 3,771 square miles. Major crops include lettuces and other green vegetables, produce and wine grapes. The Monterey Bay once was a popular sardine canning region. Its history can be experienced in a hands-on Steinbeck Museum in Salinas.
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