Salinas is the county seat and largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Salinas is located just outside the southern portion of the greater Bay Area and 10 mi east-southeast of the mouth of the Salinas River, at an elevation of about 52 ft above sea level. The population was 155,662. The city is located at the mouth of the Salinas Valley roughly eight miles from the Pacific Ocean and has a coastal climate. The city consists mostly of late 20th century single family homes and low-level apartments, ranging from modest bungalows to spacious luxury homes, and 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 for its vibrant and large agriculture industry and as the hometown of writer and Nobel Prize in Literature laureate John Steinbeck, who based several of his novels there.