About Monterey County, California
Monterey County is located on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on the Central Coast of California. It was founded on June 3, 1770, and functioned as the capital of Alta California under both Spain and Mexico. Monterey is home to many of California’s firsts, including the first theater, brick house, publicly funded school, public building, public library, and newspaper. The county has about 71 wineries with 31 tasting rooms, and it grows more Chardonnay grapes than any other California wine region. There are 10 distinct wine appellations in Monterey County. Monterey County is famous for its tourism in its coastal regions and agriculture in the region of the Salinas River valley. The county’s largest city and county seat is Salinas. Monterey County has an estimated population of 448,627 as of the 2024 US census, and most of its inhabitants live near the northern coast or in Salinas Valley. The southern coast and inland mountainous regions are sparsely populated.