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9 Exciting Things To Do In Salinas

9 Exciting Things To Do In Salinas

Salinas is a small but sophisticated city full of friendly people and historic sites. Here are 9 exciting things to do in Salinas.


4 min read

January 31, 2022

A small but sophisticated city by the name of Salinas sits pretty in Monterey Bay, along California’s Central Coast. With friendly people, unspoiled farmlands, historic attractions, and beautiful sights on every corner, this small town exudes unique energy you can’t help but love. Fill an itinerary with things to do in Salinas and prepare to be enamored with the wild beauty of the Pacific Coast and fertile countryside inland—you won’t come across a city quite like this anywhere else.

Salinas Things To Do With Friends

The Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for several threatened and endangered species, including the California brown pelican.

1. Admire the animals at the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge

A small refuge with a big impact, the Salinas River National Wildlife Refuge is a mighty attraction to check out. The 367-acre land is filled with beaches, grasslands, coastal dunes, riparian habitats, salt marshes, and saline ponds which host a rich array of flora and fauna. While the refuge does provide hikers, photographers, and wildlife watchers a rich natural area to discover, responsibility should be your top priority when visiting with your outdoor-loving friends. P.S. This could be a fun trip to celebrate National Wildlife Day!

2. Check out the Salinas Valley Art Gallery

The Salinas Valley Art Gallery has played an important role in the community since it was founded more than 40 years ago. If you want to get a quick and comprehensive introduction to the local art scene, this is an awesome place to go in Salinas. You’ll find incredible works of artists, jewelers, photographers, glass artists, sculptors, potters, printmakers, and painters of different genres and eras—you’ll definitely leave this place inspired. 

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca features eleven turns that are highlighted by the circuit's signature turn, the downhill-plunging "Corkscrew."

3. Watch a Race at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca

Built all the way back in 1957, the WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway is a paved racing track in Central California used for both motorcycle and auto racing. Found on the bucket list of every racing fan from all over the world, this Salinas attraction is a must-see for every visitor. If you manage to plan your getaway at the same time as a race, make sure to book your tickets well in advance; this could be one of the most fun things to do in Salinas with your gang.

Fun Things To Do in Salinas With Your Family

4. Have Dinner at John Steinbeck’s House

Touring the homes of famous historical figures is nothing new. But having dinner in the same dining room they used to? Now that’s a fun excursion. This Queen Anne-style Victorian boyhood home of John Steinbeck was built in 1897, but its doors are still open for eager fans of the famous Californian. Taking a tour of the property and dining on its premises is a must-add experience to your list of things to do in Salinas—we promise it’s an adventure that the entire family will appreciate.

A peaceful 4,756-acre verdant space, Toro Park offers riding trails, softball fields, playgrounds, and volleyball courts.

5. Spend the Day at Toro Park

Are you a family that loves spending time outdoors? If you answered yes, then you should absolutely make time to drive up to Toro Park. Located just a few miles away from downtown, this sprawling 5000-acre park is an awesome place to go in Salinas. Besides great picnic grounds, there are many facilities for outdoor enthusiasts of every age such as a playground, softball fields, volleyball courts, and miles of hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding trails.

6. Meet the Animals at the Monterey Zoo

The mention of visiting the zoo gets every kid jumping with joy—just wait to see the reaction on their faces when they enter the wonderful Monterey Zoo. Not only is this Salinas attraction one of the best zoos in the United States, but it also provides an incredibly educational experience for anyone who steps in. Get up close and personal with the animals, learn about the importance of conservation, and awaken a newfound appreciation for wildlife as you explore this fun thing to do in Salinas.

Romantic Things to do Near Salinas with your Partner

Horses are among the most powerful, majestic, and loving creatures that make nature even more beautiful while riding them.

7. Ride Horses Along the Coast

Picture this: you and your partner are riding horses on the beach as the sun sets, the wind blows in your hair, and the waves crash just beneath the horses’ feet. Doesn’t it sound like a fairytale? Well, you can totally make it come true with the help of the Monterey Bay Equestrian Center. Providing equestrian adventures since 1981, this local company will help you make the most of your romantic adventures seamlessly. If you’re looking to blow your boo away on this getaway, riding horses along the coast should be at the very top of your list of things to do in Salinas. 

8. Play Golf at Salinas Fairways Golf Course

Are you and your date a sporty pair? Add Salinas Fairways Golf Course to your bucket list for an outdoorsy Salinas thing to do. A world-class Salinas attraction, this par 72 championship golf course designed by legendary architect Jack Fleming will satisfy golfers of all levels. If you’re already a professional, you’ll love having the choice of three teeing areas to play rounds at. But if you’re just starting out, make a memorable date out of your golfing expedition and sign up for a lesson with your date—this could be an awesome and romantic thing to do in Salinas.

Far removed from the real world, Carmel-by-the-Sea feels like stepping into a fairy-tale wonderland.

9. Drive to the Beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Up for a quick trip to the coast? Carmel-by-the-Sea is less than a 30-minute drive from Salinas. With pretty houses, pristine beaches, gorgeous art galleries, and plenty of small-town charm to be enamored by, this Central Coast city offers a wide array of things to do near Salinas you can enjoy with your significant other. We recommend spending an entire day here, starting out at the beach, exploring the shops and galleries downtown, and finishing off the trip with a memorable dinner. Fair warning: your last-minute mini getaway will inspire you to plan many more day trips to nearby California small towns, so be prepared to be hit by a strong dose of wanderlust right after.

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