Point Lobos Natural Reserve : Michelin's recommendations
This small but dramatic peninsula defines the southern end of Carmel Bay. Early Spanish explorers named the site Punta de los Lobos Marinos (point of the sea wolves) because the baying of resident sea lions reminded them of the howling of wolves. Deeded to the state in 1933, the site now comprises 1,250 acres, including 750 submerged acres of the nation's first underwater reserve.Whalers Cove, site of a 19C cabin for Chinese fishermen, now serves as a museum containing cultural history exhibits (open year-round daily 9am-5pm). The cove served alternately in the 19C as a whaling station, abalone cannery and granite quarry. Visitors can explore other sights along a variety of short, easy shoreline paths, such as Cypress Grove Trail (.8mi round-trip) and Sea Lion Point Trail (.6mi round-trip; bring binoculars); the former loops past the gnarled forms of one of the last two naturally occurring stands of Monterey Cypress trees left on earth (the other can be seen along the 17-Mile Drive). Bird Island Trail (.8mi round-trip) winds above the crystal aquamarine waters and blanched sands of tiny China Cove.