If you are heading up the California central coast, Monterey is a must stop! This area is perfect for a weekend getaway as there’s fun activities, yummy places to eat and beautiful beaches. Keep reading to discover my top 5 things to do in Monterey Bay>>
Monterey is probably best known for the historic Cannery Row, which was once the hub of the sardine canning industry. Today this strip features eateries, hotels, souvenir shops, boutiques and bars. There are so many photo-worthy spots… and it’s right off the ocean and just steps to the water. You can book ocean excursions from paddle boarding to kayaking, relax down by the beach, visit an escape room or maze, or do some major shopping or even wine tasting.
Cannery Row is walkable, but there are options to rent bikes or even take the trolley. It’s the perfect spot to spend an afternoon!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Photo by Kathy Lipps on Unsplash
At the end of Cannery Row is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You will definitely want to set aside some time to visit the aquarium as it houses so many cool marine exhibits… more than 200, in fact! The aquarium is home to sea otters, sharks, jellyfish and penguins along with a variety of ocean habitats. Unfortunately we did not have time to visit the aquarium this last trip but I have been as a kid and absolutely loved it. I can’t wait to go back!
Eat with a View
Whether you’re in Cannery Row or Old Fisherman’s Wharf, finding a restaurant with an amazing view is a must… and there are plenty to choose from! We chose to eat at Lalla Grill Oceanside in Cannery Row and sat at a table with front row views to the ocean. At Lalla, pretty much anywhere you sit has an incredible view! I highly recommend the lobster nachos and the coconut shrimp– both dishes were delicious!
There are so many restaurants and eateries to choose from, whether you are wanting seafood, pizza or Mexican food. You can even grab something to go and eat it on the beach. For those with a sweet tooth, I recommend stopping in to the Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop. While a hot fudge sundae is always a good idea, I’m partial to a sea salt caramel sundae… yummy!
17 Mile Drive
You will be blown away by the beauty along the scenic 17-Mile Drive, which is an absolute must! This scenic drive through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach takes you along the coast through exclusive neighborhoods with scenic attractions such as the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and Del Monte forest.
There is a fee to enter and you will be provided a guide with points of interest and short descriptions of each. There are parking areas where you can get out to explore, take photos or just relax. The views are breathtaking and the drive is so worth it. There is also the golf course, market and restaurants in Pebble Beach that you can visit as well. I recommend entering the Pacific Grove Gate so you can take the drive and come out through Carmel.
Old Fisherman’s Wharf
Photo by Kathy Lipps on Unsplash
This historic wharf located in Monterey used to be a very active fish market. Nowadays you can experience shops, restaurants and fun ocean activities. If you are looking to book a whale watching excursion or bay cruise, this is the place to do it. It’s a great spot to stroll, devour a bowl of clam chowder and enjoy the sea life as there’s sure to be some sea lions around. Tell me, have you ever visited the Monterey bay peninsula?
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