831 Area Code

Area code 831 serves as a designation for Western central California within the telecommunications network.

California’s array of area codes spans a wide range, including 209, 213, 310, 323, 408, 415, 424, 442, 510, 530, 559, 562, 619, 626, 650, 657, 661, 669, 707, 714, 747, 760, 805, 818, 831, 858, 909, 916, 925, 949, and 951.

Time Zone:Pacific GMT -8:00 with Daylight Saving in the Summer
In Service Date:11-Jul-98
Area Code 831

Nestled along the picturesque coast of Central California, the 831 area code serves as more than just a telephonic prefix; it’s a gateway to a region brimming with cultural richness, historical depth, and breathtaking natural landscapes. Spanning from the rugged cliffs of Big Sur to the fertile fields of the Salinas Valley, area code 831 encompasses a diverse range of cities, towns, and counties, each with its unique charm and story.

This area code covers a significant portion of Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, and a part of San Benito County. Within its boundaries lie vibrant cities such as Santa Cruz, known for its iconic surf culture; Monterey, with its historic Cannery Row and the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium; and Salinas, the agricultural heartland immortalized by Nobel laureate John Steinbeck. The diversity extends beyond these well-known locales to include serene coastal towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea, bustling communities such as Watsonville, and hidden gems like Hollister.

The 831 area code is not just a number; it’s a symbol of the region’s rich tapestry of cultures, histories, and landscapes. From the ancient redwoods of Big Sur to the tech-savvy streets of Santa Cruz, this area seamlessly blends the natural beauty of California’s coast with a vibrant cultural scene and a storied past that dates back to the Native American tribes, Spanish missionaries, and the early settlers of the American West.

As we delve into the heart of the 831 area code, we uncover a world where past and present coexist, where the spirit of California’s pioneering history is alive, and where every city and county contributes to the region’s unique character. Whether you’re drawn to explore its historical landmarks, immerse yourself in its cultural festivals, or simply bask in the natural beauty that abounds, the 831 area code offers a multitude of experiences waiting to be discovered.

What Area Code is 831?

Area code 831, operating within the North American Numbering Plan, designates a compact region within the state of California. This numbering plan area (NPA) encompasses Monterey County, San Benito County, and Santa Cruz County.

Where is Area Code 831?

Area code 831, incorporated within the North American Numbering Plan, designates a compact region within the state of California. This numbering plan area (NPA) encompasses Monterey County, San Benito County, and Santa Cruz County. The creation of this area code occurred in 1998 through an area code split from area code 408.

The map below illustrates the coverage area of the 831 area code, highlighting the covered regions in green.

831 Area Code
831 Area Code

The History of Area Code 831

The story of the 831 area code unfolds against the backdrop of California’s evolving telecommunication landscape, marking an era of growth and change. Introduced on July 11, 1998, area code 831 carved its niche in the central coastal region of California, taking over the territory once served by the 408 area code. This division was a testament to the burgeoning population and the increasing demand for telephone lines, fueled by the region’s economic expansion and technological advancement.

The establishment of the 831 area code was a crucial step in California’s telecommunication evolution, reflecting the state’s broader trends toward specialization and increased accessibility. As the digital age dawned, the need for more telephone numbers became evident, prompting the creation of new area codes to accommodate the explosive growth in mobile phones and internet connectivity. The 831 area code, thus, emerged not just as a functional necessity but as a milestone in California’s journey toward technological modernization.

Delving into the historical context of the 831 area, one discovers a landscape rich in heritage and landmarks that predate this telephonic designation. The region is home to the ancient redwoods of Big Sur, standing as silent witnesses to centuries of history. Monterey, a city within the 831 domain, boasts Cannery Row and the historic Fisherman’s Wharf, echoing the echoes of John Steinbeck’s literary legacy and the sardine canning industry that once thrived there. Santa Cruz, with its historic boardwalk, offers a glimpse into California’s beach culture and amusement history, while Salinas opens a window to the agricultural roots of the state, captured vividly in Steinbeck’s narratives.

The inception of the 831 area code is more than a chronological milestone; it represents the region’s continuous growth and its pivotal role in California’s historical and cultural narrative. From the Spanish missions that dot the landscape to the Silicon Valley’s technological encroachments, the 831 area code bridges the past with the present, offering a unique blend of history, culture, and innovation. As we dial through the digits of 831, we connect not just with the people of this region but with the stories and landmarks that define its character and legacy.

Geographical Coverage

The 831 area code encompasses a diverse and scenic expanse of Central California, stretching from the serene coastal edges of the Pacific Ocean to the lush valleys and rugged landscapes inland. This area code’s geographical boundaries weave through an array of ecosystems, from the misty shores of Monterey Bay to the fertile soils of the Salinas Valley, encapsulating a region known for its natural beauty and agricultural prominence.

At the heart of the 831 area code lies a collection of cities and towns, each contributing its unique flavor to the tapestry of the region. Monterey, a coastal city steeped in history and marine beauty, serves as a central hub, famous for its aquarium and the scenic 17-Mile Drive. Santa Cruz, renowned for its boardwalk, surf culture, and vibrant arts scene, offers a quintessential California beach experience. Salinas, known as the “Salad Bowl of the World,” highlights the area’s agricultural wealth, while Carmel-by-the-Sea charms visitors with its fairy-tale cottages and stunning beaches. Watsonville and Hollister, though less known, play crucial roles in the region’s economy and cultural diversity, showcasing the rich agricultural landscape and local traditions.

Beyond these urban centers, the 831 area code is a gateway to some of California’s most iconic natural landmarks and geographical features. Big Sur, with its breathtaking coastline, towering redwoods, and secluded beaches, invites a deeper connection with nature. The Santa Lucia Mountains offer rugged adventures and panoramic vistas, while the Pinnacles National Park, though partially lying outside the 831’s direct coverage, is accessible and represents the area’s volcanic past and unique geological formations. Elkhorn Slough, one of California’s largest wetlands, provides vital habitat for marine life and bird species, highlighting the region’s environmental significance.

The geographical coverage of the 831 area code is a testament to California’s natural diversity and the intricate relationship between its communities and the environment. From the coastal sanctuaries of marine wildlife to the agricultural heartlands that feed the nation, the 831 region is a microcosm of natural beauty, economic vitality, and cultural richness. As you traverse this area, each city, town, and natural landmark tells a story, contributing to the overarching narrative of the 831 area code’s significance in California’s landscape.

Cultural and Tourist Attractions

The 831 area code, a treasure trove of cultural attractions and tourist destinations, invites exploration and discovery. This region, with its rich tapestry of history, art, and nature, offers a wide array of experiences that cater to every interest, from serene natural parks to vibrant cultural festivals, and the legacies of famous personalities who have called it home.

Monterey stands as a cultural beacon within the 831 area, boasting attractions like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a world-class facility that offers a deep dive into marine life. The city’s historic Cannery Row, once the setting for John Steinbeck’s novel of the same name, now serves as a lively waterfront promenade filled with shops, eateries, and cultural venues. Nearby, the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas honors the author’s legacy and contributions to American literature, providing insight into his life and works that were deeply rooted in the California experience.

Santa Cruz embodies the quintessential California beach culture, with the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk offering a nostalgic mix of amusement park thrills and oceanfront leisure. The city is also a hub for arts and festivals, including the annual Santa Cruz Film Festival and the vibrant Santa Cruz Pride events, showcasing the area’s inclusive and creative spirit.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, known for its picturesque scenery and artistic heritage, hosts the Carmel Bach Festival, celebrating classical music in a setting that blends natural beauty with acoustic excellence. The town’s numerous art galleries and the historic Carmel Mission, one of California’s most beautiful missions, further highlight its cultural allure.

The region’s natural attractions are equally compelling, with Big Sur providing a dramatic landscape of rugged coastlines, towering redwoods, and serene beaches. Hiking trails in state parks like Point Lobos and Garrapata offer breathtaking views and encounters with wildlife, making them a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Famous personalities associated with the 831 area add to its cultural richness. John Steinbeck, born in Salinas, drew inspiration from the region’s people and landscapes. Photographer Ansel Adams captured the sublime beauty of Big Sur and the Monterey Peninsula, while Clint Eastwood, once the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea, has left an indelible mark on the area’s cultural landscape.

Festivals and events throughout the year celebrate the region’s diverse heritage, from the Monterey Jazz Festival, one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the world, to the Gilroy Garlic Festival, showcasing the area’s agricultural bounty. These gatherings not only highlight the local culture but also bring communities together, showcasing the vibrant spirit of the 831 area.

In essence, the cultural and tourist attractions within the 831 area code are a mosaic of natural wonders, artistic expressions, and historical legacies. Each destination and event tells a part of the story of this dynamic region, inviting visitors and residents alike to explore, learn, and be inspired by its enduring charm and diversity.

The Economic Landscape

The 831 area code, with its rich natural resources and strategic location along the Central California coast, boasts a dynamic economic landscape shaped by agriculture, technology, tourism, and more. This diverse mix of industries not only drives the local economy but also reflects the unique character and capabilities of the region.

Agriculture stands as a cornerstone of the 831 economy, with the Salinas Valley, often referred to as the “Salad Bowl of the World,” at its heart. This area’s fertile soil and favorable climate allow for the year-round cultivation of fruits and vegetables, making it a critical supplier to both national and international markets. The wine industry also thrives here, with Monterey County’s vineyards producing some of California’s finest wines, contributing significantly to the region’s economic and cultural identity.

Technology, while more often associated with Silicon Valley to the north, has a growing presence in the 831 area, particularly in cities like Santa Cruz. Here, a burgeoning tech scene benefits from the proximity to major research universities and Silicon Valley, fostering innovation in fields such as biotechnology, software development, and green energy solutions. This environment has given rise to notable startups and tech companies, leveraging the area’s talent pool and natural beauty to attract and retain skilled professionals.

Tourism is another vital component of the 831 area’s economy, drawn by the region’s natural landscapes, cultural attractions, and historical sites. From the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium to the scenic beauty of Big Sur and the historic charm of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the area attracts millions of visitors each year. This influx of tourists supports a wide range of businesses, including hotels, restaurants, and retail, and fuels the demand for local arts and crafts, showcasing the region’s creative talents.

Among the notable companies and startups based in the 831 area, Looker, a business intelligence software and big data analytics platform that originated in Santa Cruz, stands out. Before being acquired by Google, Looker exemplified the region’s potential to support tech companies that can compete on a global scale. Additionally, the area’s agricultural sector is home to pioneering firms like Driscoll’s, the world’s leading berry company, headquartered in Watsonville, which innovates in sustainable farming practices and agricultural technology.

The economic landscape of the 831 area is a testament to the region’s adaptability, resilience, and entrepreneurial spirit. Agriculture, technology, and tourism, along with other sectors, create a balanced and thriving economy that not only supports the local communities but also contributes to the broader California and global markets. As these industries continue to evolve, the 831 area remains a vibrant and essential part of the state’s economic fabric, driven by innovation, natural beauty, and a commitment to sustainability.

Living in the 831 Area Code

Living in the 831 area code offers a unique blend of natural beauty, community spirit, and a high quality of life that appeals to residents from all walks of life. This region, known for its stunning landscapes and vibrant communities, provides an ideal backdrop for a lifestyle that balances leisure, work, and well-being.

The housing landscape in the 831 area code varies significantly, ranging from beachfront properties in Santa Cruz to historic homes in Monterey and agricultural estates in Salinas. Despite the diversity, the region faces challenges similar to much of California, with high real estate prices reflecting its desirability and limited availability. However, efforts to increase affordable housing options and develop sustainable living solutions are ongoing, aiming to make the 831 area accessible to a broader demographic.

Education in the 831 area is a top priority, with a wide range of public and private schools offering quality education from kindergarten through high school. Institutions of higher learning, such as the University of California, Santa Cruz, and California State University, Monterey Bay, add to the region’s educational landscape, providing opportunities for higher education and research that contribute to the local and global communities. These institutions not only prepare students for the workforce but also play significant roles in the local economy and cultural life.

Healthcare facilities in the 831 area code are comprehensive, including major hospitals, clinics, and specialized care centers. The region benefits from medical institutions like Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System and Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, which offer a wide range of services and are complemented by community clinics providing care to underserved populations. The emphasis on community health and wellness is evident, with numerous programs focused on preventive care, mental health services, and holistic well-being.

The demographic makeup of the 831 area code is as diverse as its landscape, with a rich tapestry of cultures and communities. This diversity is celebrated through various cultural festivals, community events, and educational programs that promote inclusivity and understanding. The region’s population includes a significant Hispanic or Latino community, contributing to the area’s cultural richness and agricultural heritage. 

Additionally, the influx of tech professionals, artists, and academics adds to the vibrant social fabric, creating a dynamic and diverse community.

Living in the 831 area code means being part of a community that values environmental conservation, cultural diversity, and quality of life. The blend of urban and rural settings offers a unique lifestyle where the natural environment plays a central role in daily life. From the surfers catching waves at dawn in Santa Cruz to the farmers tending to their crops in the Salinas Valley, the residents of the 831 area share a deep connection to their surroundings and a commitment to preserving the unique character of their region.

Challenges and Opportunities

The communities within the 831 area code, while flourishing in many aspects, also face a range of challenges that test their resilience and adaptability. Environmental sustainability, economic diversification, and equitable development stand out as pivotal areas where challenges and opportunities intersect, offering a path toward a more sustainable and inclusive future.

Environmental challenges, including climate change, water scarcity, and habitat preservation, significantly impact the 831 area. Coastal erosion threatens the region’s beaches and coastal infrastructure, while drought conditions pose challenges for agriculture, the area’s economic backbone. However, these challenges also spur innovation in sustainable practices. The agricultural industry is pioneering water-efficient farming techniques and exploring renewable energy sources, positioning the 831 area as a leader in environmental stewardship. Efforts to protect natural habitats and biodiversity, such as marine conservation programs in Monterey Bay, underscore the community’s commitment to preserving its natural treasures.

Economic challenges, particularly in achieving diversification and ensuring job security, are felt across the region. While agriculture, tourism, and technology provide a strong economic base, the need for broader opportunities is evident to mitigate the risks of over-reliance on a few sectors. The growth of the tech industry, alongside initiatives to support small businesses and startups, presents an opportunity to diversify the economy. Educational institutions in the area are key players in this effort, offering training and research opportunities that fuel innovation and skill development, preparing the workforce for a changing economic landscape.

Equitable development emerges as a challenge as the region grapples with housing affordability, access to quality education, and healthcare disparities. Addressing these issues requires a collaborative approach, involving government, private sector, and community organizations to create inclusive policies and programs. There is an opportunity to build more affordable housing, enhance public transportation, and expand healthcare access, ensuring that the benefits of the region’s growth are shared widely. Community development projects that focus on social equity and environmental justice are gaining momentum, aiming to build a more inclusive society.

The 831 area code is at a crossroads, facing challenges that come with environmental concerns, economic shifts, and the need for inclusive growth. Yet, within these challenges lie opportunities for innovation, community resilience, and sustainable development. By leveraging its natural assets, cultural diversity, and innovative spirit, the communities within the 831 can navigate these challenges, turning them into opportunities for a brighter, more sustainable future. The path forward involves harnessing the collective energy, creativity, and commitment of its residents, businesses, and institutions, shaping the 831 area into a model of resilience and innovation for California and beyond.


The 831 area code, with its stunning natural landscapes, vibrant communities, and rich cultural heritage, stands as a testament to the diversity and resilience of Central California. From the fertile fields of the Salinas Valley to the iconic shores of Monterey and the bustling streets of Santa Cruz, the region offers a unique blend of natural beauty, historical depth, and innovative spirit. Its commitment to environmental stewardship, economic diversification, and community inclusivity highlights the area’s importance not just to California, but as a model for sustainable and equitable development.

The exploration of the 831 area code reveals a region that is more than just a destination; it’s a community deeply connected to its environment and heritage, continuously evolving to meet the challenges of the future. The stories of its people, the preservation of its natural wonders, and the innovation emerging from its industries underscore the area’s significance and potential.

We encourage readers to delve deeper into the wonders of the 831 area code, to discover its hidden gems, and to learn from its rich tapestry of experiences. Whether you are drawn by the call of the wild landscapes, the allure of cultural festivals, or the promise of innovative opportunities, the 831 area invites exploration and engagement.

Consider visiting the 831 area to witness its beauty firsthand, volunteering in community projects to contribute to its growth, or engaging with its diverse communities to understand their stories and dreams. Your journey through the 831 area code will not only enrich your appreciation for this unique region but also offer opportunities to contribute to its vibrant future.

Let the 831 area code be your next adventure, your source of inspiration, or your new home. Engage with its communities, support its growth, and be part of the ongoing story of this remarkable region. The 831 area code awaits, ready to share its treasures and challenges, inviting you to explore, learn, and contribute to its enduring legacy.

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Last Update: February 12, 2024