Monterey is about the weather, or general lack of extreme weather.

Long before premium class flights bought with frequent flyer miles and hotel suites redeemed on points, my passion has been weather. Specifically, extreme weather. I am a weather geek.

Monterey has had extreme weather the past two days. Other places have their tornadoes or hurricanes or floods or blizzards, and most places have high heat many days of the year.

Monterey rarely has extreme weather.

The temperature in Monterey hit 90 F degrees (32 C) the last two days. This might seem rather commonplace for most places in the U.S., but this is uncommon for the Monterey Peninsula of central coast California. I think it has been several years since two days in a row reached 90 on the coastline of the Monterey Peninsula.

Thermal Magic

Last week I was talking with the receptionist at Balneari Prats in Caldes de Malavella, Spain and she was under the impression that the weather in all California coastal beach towns like Monterey is warmer than Costa Brava beaches.

Her charming innocence may have passed on a thermal magic from the ancient hot springs of Caldes de Malavella, Catalonia to the air temperature weather of my home in California.

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I drank hot thermal water from this fountain ‘Font Raig D’en Mel” that tasted carbonated and almost too warm for a plastic cup. Romans and Iberian cultures settled this town of hot springs in Caldes de Malavella, Catalonia, Spain for its heated water emanating from deep in the earth.

This informational weather story is about how I arrived at JFK Airport in New York Friday afternoon, September 28 from Barcelona, Spain. I had spent 12 days in Spain and I sweated through most of them due to temperatures of 70 to 88 F (20 to 30 C) with a bit of humidity. There were clouds in the sky for many of my 2,000 photos.

I logged onto weather.com Friday at JFK Airport to see a “Special Weather Alert” for Monterey flashing across my phone screen. I had not seen any weather info for Monterey in 12 days. My first thought was a major Pacific rain storm was coming into California.

I laughed inside many times on the flight home to Monterey upon learning the special weather alert was a warning for temperatures to reach the 80s in Monterey.

We really do freak out in Central Coast California and San Francisco when high heat hits the coast. This is a place where most people living within a mile or two of the Pacific Ocean do not have air conditioners. We simply open our windows for the ocean breezes.

Costa Brava in late September was much warmer than a typical day on the coastline of the Monterey Peninsula in July or August when the local microclimate peaks in the number of days of fog for any month of the year. And 2012 was foggier than most years for the summer months of July and August in my subjective opinion as a resident in one of the sunnier spots on the Monterey Peninsula of California.

For about two months this past July and August the temperature generally did not rise above 68 F degrees (20 C).


Monterey Peninsula, California. The offshore portion of this Google satellite map shows Monterey Bay Canyon. The canyon extends from Moss Landing in the center of Monterey Bay nearly 100 miles into the Pacific Ocean and has a comparable depth to the Grand Canyon.


Monterey Peninsula, California is located 100 miles south of San Francisco and 300 miles north of Los Angeles.

The cool waters of the Pacific Ocean and the microclimate of Monterey Bay means the outside temperature most days of the year has a very narrow range of temperature change on the Monterey Peninsula.

There is generally a year round range of temperature on any given day of 50 to 68 F (10 to 20 Celsius) during the colder months from November to March and 54 F to 75 F (12 to 24 Celsius) in the warmer months from April to October. September and October tend to be the warmest months of the year for the Monterey Peninsula while the months with the most days of fog tend to be July and August.

Many tourists are shocked at the Monterey Peninsula weather when they arrive for their August summer vacation. Monterey sells loads of sweatshirts in summer.


Carmel Beach

I expected hoards of people swarming the beaches of Carmel yesterday.

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Carmel Beach, Tuesday, Oct 2, 2012 on the second day of the biggest heatwave in 2012 when the air temperature is in high 80s before noon. Pebble Beach in background. Carmel Beach is a dog-friendly beach.

Monterey Peninsula rarely gets HOT!!!

Monterey, California has a unique location differentiating the climate here significantly from nearly anywhere on the planet in that it is rarely too hot, rarely too cold, does not rain too many days, yet has Monterey Pine trees and Monterey Cypress trees from the hills to the seashore.

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Carmel Beach Oct 2, 2012 on a day when it hit 90 degrees before noon.

My parents visiting from Las Vegas felt right at home yesterday in 90 degree heat. They wanted to see Carmel houses and walk under the shade of trees.

Two of the houses one street up from the beach were for sale at USD$4 million. Nearly half the homes in the town of Carmel are investment properties and not year-round occupied dwellings.

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Cool stone house in Carmel. The tree on right is a Monterey Cypress.

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Carmel coast home and Point Lobos rocks in distance.

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The Lodge at Pebble Beach in left background, Pebble Beach Golf Links are coastline from center to right seen from south end Carmel Beach.

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Carmel Bay looking north to Carmel Beach. Monterey is three miles away over the ridge.

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Pacific Grove looking to Lovers Point on a 90 degree day on the Monterey Peninsula.

Some places have blizzards, some places have hurricanes or typhoons or cyclones, some places have floods.

Monterey Peninsula has a short-lived heatwave every few years like our latest heatwave this week with two consecutive 90 F (32 C) degree days.

Truly this is unusual enough weather for Monterey folk to get excited.

Life returns to our weather norm with 70 F degrees today. I feel the cool ocean breeze coming in through the window with the sound of waves on the beach drifting up to my hillside home in Monterey.

And we will soon forget about the Monterey Peninsula heatwave of October 2012.

Ric Garrido, writer and owner of Loyalty Traveler, shares news and views on hotels, hotel loyalty programs and vacation destinations for frequent guests. You can follow Loyalty Traveler on Twitter and Facebook and RSS feed.

About Ric Garrido

Ric Garrido of Monterey, California started Loyalty Traveler in 2006 for traveler education on hotel and air travel, primarily using frequent flyer and frequent guest loyalty programs for bargain travel. Loyalty Traveler joined BoardingArea.com in 2008.

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  1. I learned 20 years ago from a similar 4-wheel drive beach sand fiasco that the trick is you have to let air out of the tires to enable driving in the sand. Otherwise once you stop, you sink and pray the tide is not coming in before help comes to tow you out.

  2. I believe the tide was coming up and they called a tow truck and that got stuck, but then another tow truck came and got them out. Crazy thing to see. And the car was brand new (still had dealer plates)

  3. When is the best time of year to visit? I remember one of your blog posts saying early December for clear weather. I have 2 free nights from the Hyatt credit card offer that was I was thinking of burning at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands Inn.

  4. I feel sorry for those Highlands Inn guests with un-air-conditioned rooms…make that all Monterey area hotels, for that matter.

  5. I go every year during Thanksgiving week and the weather is awesome, I dont know about the other 51 weeks of the year.

  6. When I moved back to Monterey from Eureka in 2001 the area was having an even hotter heatwave. I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Monterey (a Hilton at the time) and the room was 100 degrees. There was an air conditioner, but after three hours it had only cooled the room to about 93.

    I just suffered through a hot meal at a Monterey restaurant today and it is only in the low 70s.

  7. @A Kimyai – The best weather is generally considered to be mid-March to mid-May and mid-September to mid-November. These are the times with the least days of fog and less likely to rain.

    Winter is great here as long as you come between Pacific storms. December, January and February have the most rainy days and Pacific storms can mean rain for several days straight. That being said, when it is not raining in the winter, there is a possibility the temperature climbs into the mid 70s to mid 80s. Some of our warmest days of the year happen in winter. And the sky is gorgeously clear on sunny days after the rain storms.

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