Salinas is a small but sophisticated city a short way in from Monterey Bay on California’s Central Coast. Agriculture has been a way of life in the Salinas Valley for a couple of hundred years and these farms formed the backdrop for many of Salinas-native John Steinbeck’s novels. The diversity of things to do in and around Salinas makes it seriously flexible: Food-lovers can tuck into the local organic produce and wines, sports fanatics can catch a rodeo event or race at Laguna Seca, while just about everyone will fall in love with the wild beauty of the Pacific coast and fertile countryside inland.
1. National Steinbeck Center
The National Steinbeck Center opened on Main Street back in 1998. Steinbeck was born and grew up in Salinas, and he drew inspiration for his novels from the Salinas Valley and its rural towns. The attraction has the largest Steinbeck archives in the USA and the displays inform visitors about the themes and philosophy behind the writer’s works. Artefacts to browse at the Center include film clips, first editions and photographs. At the start of May every year the Steinbeck Festival puts on lectures, live music and a craft beer festival.