Sunset at Salinas River State Beach in Monterey County in the northern part of the central coast
Counties located within the Central Coast
|Population||2,249,558 (All 6 counties combined)|
The Central Coast is an area of California, United States, roughly spanning the area between the Monterey Bay and Point Mugu. It extends through Santa Cruz County, San Benito County, Monterey County, San Luis Obispo County, Santa Barbara County, and Ventura County. The Central Coast is northwest of Los Angeles County and south of San Francisco and San Mateo Counties.
Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties are considered part of Northern California. While San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties are often considered to be part of Southern California.
The Central Coast is the location of the Central Coast American Viticultural Area.
The central coast area was originally inhabited by Chumash and other Native American people since at least 10,000 BC. Many of these settlements were coastal, where the people exploited marine resources and dwelt near freshwater inflows to the Pacific Ocean. For example there were significant settlements near the mouth of Morro Creek and Los Osos Creek.
The region is known primarily for agriculture and tourism. Major crops include Wine Grapes, lettuce, strawberries, and artichokes. The Salinas Valley is one of the most fertile farming regions in the United States. Tourist attractions include Cannery Row in Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the theatres, galleries and white sand beaches of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the golf courses of Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula, the rugged coastline of Big Sur and Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
The area is not densely populated. The largest city in the region is Salinas, with approximately 150,000 people. University of California campuses are found in Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara, on the extreme north and south edges of the region respectively. California State University, Monterey Bay, founded in 1994, uses facilities donated when Fort Ord was converted from military to civilian uses. California Polytechnic State University, in San Luis Obispo, was founded in 1901.
Travel is almost entirely by private automobile. Because of its position roughly halfway between the major cities of Los Angeles and San Francisco, San Luis Obispo is home to America's first motel. The major highway is U.S. Route 101, which runs north-south from Los Angeles, through most of the major communities of the central coast, to San Francisco. State Route 1, a smaller but much more scenic route, connects the coastal communities, running through Big Sur, Morro Bay, and San Simeon. Amtrak maintains train service with the Coast Starlight and Pacific Surfliner routes along the Union Pacific Railroad Coast Line that also transports freight. There are no major airports, although Monterey, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria and San Luis Obispo have regional airports with commuter service. Greyhound buses serve most of the region.
Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) operates bus services throughout Monterey County as far south as Big Sur on the coast and King City in the Salinas Valley. MST also offers connection service to San Jose Diridon Station. Santa Cruz Metro Offers services within Santa Cruz County, including connections to San Jose and San Jose State and connection to MST service in Watsonville, heading south to Salinas.
Avila Beach hidden beach
Big Sur coast near Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Carmel-by-the-Sea - Beach scene
Hollister - Downtown
Monterey - Fisherman's Wharf
Pacific Grove - Asilomar Beach,
Salinas Valley - Agricultural area
Salinas - Downtown
Salinas - Harden Ranch
San Juan Bautista - Mission
Santa Cruz City Hall
Santa Barbara - Mission Santa Barbara Chapel
Santa Cruz - Pounding surf
Santa Cruz - Davenport Beach
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