It’s perhaps a cruel joke that in the midst of California’s stay-at-home order, Friday, May 22, is National Road Trip Day.
Someone years back thought it would be a good idea to create such a day to mark Memorial Day weekend, traditionally one of the most traveled weekends of the year by Americans anxious to hit the open road at the start of summer.
California is now in the early part of Stage 2 of a four-stage plan by Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen the state during the Covid-19 pandemic. Some counties are moving faster along the stages than others, but in Monterey County, early Stage 2 means our residents are restricted to local travel only to shop for essential goods and services and outdoor exercise.
The beach cities have already seen an increasing number of visitors over recent weekends and the holiday weekend will be no different.
Below is a list of what visitors (and locals) will find is open and closed, thanks in part to the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau that compiled an extensive list.
A reminder for visitors is that the county still has a face-covering order. It’s not required while exercising but if things are crowded on trails and you can't maintain social distancing or if you’re wandering downtown areas or want to pick up food or enter a grocery store, you must wear a covering of some sort.
Restaurants: Those that are open are supposed to be take-away only. (If you find one defying the order and choose to dine there, be prepared to get cited for breaking the law.)
Lodging: There are 220 lodging properties open for essential travel only or those who need to shelter in place. Forty-six properties are closed. (The same goes for short-term rentals; they can house essential workers and those who need shelter, like homeless individuals or those needing a place to isolate or quarantine and cannot do so where they live.)
Parks: Many Monterey County Park trails are open, but with social distancing enforced and spaces for gathering closed. The majority of state parks remain closed (though our state beaches are open, for recreation only). Trails open to the local community include:
· Fort Ord National Monument (Seaside/Salinas/Marina)
· Garland Ranch Regional Park (Carmel Valley)
· Jacks Peak Park (Monterey)
· Lake San Antonio (near King City)
· Palo Corona Regional Park (Carmel) – only accessible at Carmel Valley Road entrance
· Royal Oaks Park (Prunedale)
· Toro Park (Salinas)
Big Sur: It's a mixed bag, with many popular parks and beaches still closed but some trails and day use areas reopened recently. For a list updated on May 19, see bigsurtrailmap.net, curated Big Sur information by creator Jack Glendening, a longtime trail advocate and mapper who volunteers with the Ventana Wilderness Alliance.
Beaches: Many Monterey County beaches are open for the local community to enjoy physical activity but no sitting or sunbathing, with proper social distancing at all times. Some parking lots are temporarily closed, with parking along some roadways prohibited. Monterey Municipal Beach has an advisory posted as of May 22 warning people of high levels of bacteria that could make anyone who comes into contact with water there ill. (This is unrelated to Covid-19.)
Note: Water recreation only on Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove. No picnicking in the park.
Boat Launches: All three of Monterey Bay's boat launches recently opened under certain conditions in Monterey, Moss Landing and Santa Cruz. Inland, Lake San Antonio and Lake Nacimiento are open with conditions.
Recreation services: Several outdoor recreation operations are offering services to promote health and wellness within the local community only, according to the MCCVB. Biking and kayak rental businesses are open with social distancing and sanitation procedures in place. Golf courses have reopened with modified operations to follow proper safety and health requirements. A few businesses offering services include:
· Adventures by the Sea (Monterey) – biking and kayaking
· Big Sur Adventures (Monterey) – e-bike rentals
· Black Horse and Bayonet Golf Courses (Seaside)
· Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course (Carmel Valley) – golf only
· Pacific Grove Municipal Golf Links (Pacific Grove)
· Pebble Beach Golf Links (Pebble Beach)
· Spyglass Hill Golf Course (Pebble Beach)
· Quail Lodge & Golf Club (Carmel Valley) – golf only