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A predominantly agricultural town at the north end of the fertile Salinas Valley, Salinas – affectionately termed the "salad bowl" of California – is notable for its mild Central Coast climate. Fields of lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, and grapes spread in every direction. The town itself has a peaceful, yesteryear feel, not least thanks to its Victorian architecture in the recently restored Old Town. Most notably, Salinas is synonymous with Nobel prize-winning author John Steinbeck (1902-68), who based such epics as "The Grapes of Wrath" and "East of Eden" here. The contemporary glass-walled National Steinbeck Center and the beautiful Steinbeck ...

A predominantly agricultural town at the north end of the fertile Salinas Valley, Salinas – affectionately termed the "salad bowl" of California – is notable for its mild Central Coast climate. Fields of lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, and grapes spread in every direction. The town itself has a peaceful, yesteryear feel, not least thanks to its Victorian architecture in the recently restored Old Town. Most notably, Salinas is synonymous with Nobel prize-winning author John Steinbeck (1902-68), who based such epics as "The Grapes of Wrath" and "East of Eden" here. The contemporary glass-walled National Steinbeck Center and the beautiful Steinbeck House (the author's birthplace) offer an immersion in Steinbeck lore. You can complete the Steinbeck circuit by viewing his grave in Gardens of Memories Cemetery. Of late, numerous artists have settled, adding vitality to the monthly First Fridays Art Walk. Galleries abound. So, too, do antique stores. And there's a lively performing arts scene, including at restaurants and pubs that host live music. Once you're finished exploring town, Monterey beckons just eight miles west.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Salinas is the county seat of Monterey County and is located in central California, eight miles from the Pacific Ocean.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring, summer, autumn