Monterey County, officially the County of Monterey, is a county located on the Pacific coast of the U.S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 415,057. The county seat and largest city is Salinas.Monterey County comprises the Salinas, California, Metropolitan Statistical Area. It borders the Monterey Bay, from which it derives its name. The northern half of the bay is in Santa Cruz County. Monterey County is a member of the regional governmental agency, Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.
The coastline, including Big Sur, State Route 1, and the 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula, has made the county world-famous. The city of Monterey was the capital of California under Spanish and Mexican rule. The economy is primarily based upon tourism in the coastal regions and agriculture in the Salinas River valley. Most of the county's people live near the northern coast and Salinas Valley, while the southern coast and inland mountain regions are sparsely populated.