Monterey - one of the more beautiful coastal cities of California makes for a great two day trip for those visiting San Francisco or a great weekend getaway if you want to just have fun and relax.
This coastal city rises from the pristine Monterey Bay to pine forested hillsides… with sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.
Originally the state capital of California, it has more historic buildings in its downtown than any other city west of Santa Fe.
Today it is best known for its beautiful coastline, its world-class aquarium and from the many John Steinbeck novels set there… including Cannery Row and Tortilla Flat.
A waterfront community on the central coast of California, this city offers kayaking, scuba diving, surfing, whale watching and even just relaxing and strolling around on the beach as some of the activities.
Alvarado Street serves as the "main drag" with … superb restaurants… bars… and unique shops.
And there’s no shortage of artistic events in the county.
Its signature music extravaganzas include the…
Golf, shopping, and driving the spectacular coastline to Big Sur are a few of the many land-based adventures.
Head to the world-renowned Bay Aquarium to go nose-to-nose with bat rays, giant tuna and sea turtles.
See eye-to-eye with a sea otter. Peek at a penguin. Spot a hammerhead shark. Sway back and forth with the Kelp Forest.
For your little toddlers…
The Splash Zone where a waterbed play area and touch pool features everything from abalones to sea stars.
For the younger kids…
Walk through the Wave Crash gallery where you're eye to claw with crabs. Or peer through an underwater periscope to get a bat ray’s point of view.
And for your teens…
Divers hand-feed the leopard sharks in the Kelp Forest, one of the world’s tallest aquarium exhibits.
Along the way… watch the harbor seals… sea otters… and pelicans in their natural habitats on the dazzling waterfront of the Bay's National Marine Sanctuary.
Step outside the Aquarium and you're on Cannery Row, where John Steinbeck drew inspiration for his novel about life in Monterey during the heyday of the sardine canning industry.
Today "the Row" is lined with hotels, shops and restaurants and features fun activities for the entire family.
Home to some of the most luxurious hotels, world-class restaurants, boutiques and galleries, spas, premium wine tasting, nightlife and exciting recreation the city has to offer.
The breathtaking coastline of the National Marine Sanctuary is the backdrop for every Cannery Row experience.
Kids and adults alike get a kick out of this local area.
Nearby, Cannery Row is bustling with shopping, restaurants and wine tasting.
From Cannery Row, you can walk or ride a rented surrey or segway along the scenic Recreation Trail to the city's Fisherman's Wharf.
Old Fisherman's Wharf has a great variety of renowned seafood restaurants and sport fishing excursions.
Kids watch fishermen unload their catch of the day, tossing the just-caught fish around while eager seagulls ready themselves to swoop in.
No trip would be complete without sticking your toes in the ocean and building a sand castle on one of the city’s amazing beaches.
Or head out to sea on a sailing or whale-watching excursion.
The abundance of marine wildlife visible from the shoreline is one of the primary attractions of the region.
Seals, sea lions, and sea otters are visible year-round, and migrating whales are commonly seen in the fall and spring months.
Thanks to the nutrient-rich sediment churned up from the Submarine Canyon — a Grand Canyon-size gap in the ocean’s floor — the Bay is California’s top venue for whales and those who like to watch them.
On your whale-watching tour… try… Little Mermaid Glass Bottom Boat Tours - located at the end of Fisherman's Wharf before Princess Monterey Whale Watching.
It's an amazing experience! Imagine encountering sea lions… birds… and dolphins.
During the tours, you might see…
As large as two city buses parked end-to-end, these rare and endangered mammals are hard to catch a glimpse of elsewhere in the world.
But at the right time of year, blue-whale sightings in the bay are relatively common – just one of the reasons this is a sparkling jewel in California’s environmental crown.
Tours run year-round, but what you’re likely to see depends on the season.
The majority of gray whales pass through the bay from mid-December to mid-April.
Humpbacks and blues are commonly encountered from May through mid-December, when you may also see fin whales – a suborder of baleen whales and the second-largest living mammal after the blue whale – nicknamed ‘razorback’.
You’ll also see minkes - members of the baleen whales… as well as orcas – also known as killer whales.
Downtown Monterey’s MY Museum - Monterey Youth Museum - lets them play a life-size “Operation” game… put on a hard hat at MY Build a House and climb through an indoor tree house.
For outdoor energy burning… explore the paved the Bay's Coastal Recreation Trail… running bayside from Castroville - the Artichoke Capital of the World - to Pacific Grove.
Multiple local bike shops rent four- to six-person surreys, so you can pedal around with the little ones.
As you mosey along the shoreline… point out dozing harbor seals and cavorting sea otters.
Kids with energy to burn find fun and games at the mind-bending Monterey Mirror Maze and Laser Challenge along Cannery Row.
Want a surefire way to avoid the 'oh-please-mom-and-dad' eye roll… take the family kayaking on the bay.
But… beware of baby sea otters that try to hitch a ride.
Like we said earlier… this place is one of the more beautiful coastal cities of California. Making it the place for a great two day trip from San Francisco or THE weekend getaway… if you want to just have fun and relax.
So whether you want to skydive, kayak, go whale watching or just sightsee and unwind… it’s THE place to come and stay a while.
So... what are you waiting for... let’s go!