Salinas () is a city in Monterey County, California, United States. With a population of 155,564 (as of 2019), Salinas is the most populous city in Monterey County, as well as its county seat. Salinas is an urban area located just outside the southern portion of the Greater Bay Area and 10 miles (16 km) southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River. The city is located at the mouth of the Salinas Valley, roughly eight miles from the Pacific Ocean, and it has a climate more influenced by the ocean than the interior.
Salinas serves as the main business, governmental and industrial center of the region. The marine climate is ideal for the floral industry, grape vineyards, and vegetable growers. Salinas is known as the "Salad Bowl of the World" for its large, vibrant agriculture industry.
It was the hometown of writer and Nobel laureate John Steinbeck (1902–68), who set many of his stories in the Salinas Valley and Monterey.
The land that Salinas sits on is thought to have been settled by Native Americans known as the Esselen prior to 200 AD. Between 200 and 500 AD, they were displaced by the Rumsen group of Ohlone speaking people. The Rumsen-Ohlone remained as the inhabitants of the area for approximately another 1,200 years, and in the 1700s, were the group of native inhabitants contacted and recorded by the first Spanish explorers of the Salinas area.
Upon the arrival of the Spanish, large Spanish land grants were initially issued for the Catholic Missions and also as bonuses to soldiers.