Monterey County encompasses some of the West Coast's most beautiful coastline with charming seaside spots such as Monterey, Big Sur, and Carmel. It's a great choice for outdoor enthusiasts, with romantic lookout points over the Cyprus-dotted hills and the vast Pacific Ocean, kayaks available to rent along the Bay, and many trails available to hike through ancient redwood forests. Tucked into all of this gorgeous nature are some of our favorite boutique hotels. These petite stays play to the area's strengths, focusing on their natural surrounding and offering quirky extras. Check them out in this slideshow:
The 39-room Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful hotels in the United States -- if not the entire world -- and offers a romantic, intimate stay amid gorgeous natural surroundings. The hotel is built into the cliffs of Big Sur, and the organic architecture is breathtaking, seeming to grow out of the ground beside the hotel's surrounding redwoods. The award-winning spa focuses on rejuvenating services and even has a shaman on-site; the restaurant, Sierra Mar, is one of the best in Big Sur; the hotel's cliff-top pools are stunning; and free amenities (such as yoga and stargazing) are abundant.