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About Salinas

Salinas offers a unique combination of climate, natural resources, and people.  Founded after Mexico seceded from Spain in 1822 and began granting rancho lands and named for a nearby salt marsh, the location was accidental. A wagon hauling lumber for a roadhouse broke down and rather than reload the wood, the proprietor built his stage stop at a “bend in the slough’, soon to be Salinas City.  Salinas became the seat of Monterey County in 1872, welcomed the railroad in 1873 and incorporated in 1874.

In 1924 Salinas boasted the highest per-capita income in the United States due to the 'green gold' we call lettuce. Explore the beauty of nearby Monterey Bay beaches and Moss Landing, home to the Elkhorn Slough Wildlife Preserve - birding, otters and whale watching. Historic missions of San Juan Bautista, Soledad, Carmel, and San Antonio de Padus are a must-see.  Discover Pinnacles Notional Park – America’s newest – home of California Condors and an eco-toursim adventure.

  Bardin Hotel from early 1900s near the site where Salinsa was founded
Main Street Salinas early 1900s courtesy of MCHS ©2014

Pinnacles National Park at sunset
photo courtesy of Kirk Kennedy ©2014


Historic sites include the Boronda Adobe History Center, hosting the largest archive of historic documents in the area, and the location of the Boronda Adobe, a beautifully restored home of an original settling family. Mission Soledad, in the heart of the wine country just south of Salinas is one of the most authentic in the California Mission chain.

Known for innovative agriculture, experiencing one of the many Certified Organic Farmers' Markets in the Salinas Valley is a must for any visit. A journey down River Road for a day of wine tasting is worth the drive for the incredible scenery, and discovering an eclectic mix of vintners presenting world-class wines is quite a bonus.  Bring a picnic and enjoy the views! 

  Shoppers buing fresh produce at the Farmers Market in downtown Salinas
photo courtesy of Trish Triumpho Sullivan ©2014
Moon over Vineyard photo by Kirk Kennedy
photo courtesy of Kirk Kennedy ©2014

Steinbeck Connection

John Steinbeck put Salinas on the world map through his novels and no trip to Salinas would be complete without a visit to his boyhood home, the Steinbeck House, where volunteers dressed in period costume serve lunch daily. A short walk down Central Avenue is the National Steinbeck Center Museum, a ‘novel experience’ with interactive themed galleries showcasing the famous author's literary works, his life, and global reach.

John Steinbeck's house
photo courtesy of Trish Triumpho Sullivan ©2014


Postal address and Visitor Center
222 Main Street, Salinas, CA 93901
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