If you’re planning a trip to the Monterey area in California, you’ll have plenty to do to fill your time. This area has some of the most beautiful coastline to explore as well as other fun things to occupy your time. We took a trip here in April 2014 and it was the perfect time. All the flowers were in bloom, the daytime temperatures were nice and cool, and there was plenty of sunshine. We spent four days here and saw the following things…
17 Mile Drive
Take a drive down the world famous 17 Mile Drive to see the scenic coastline. You can spend hours on this drive, and there are several places to stop and have a picnic or sit and look at the beautiful coast. Make a stop at Bird Rock to see hundreds of birds hanging out along with hundreds of seals.
The 17 Mile Drive is owned and maintained by the Pebble Beach Corporation. For more information on the 17 Mile Drive, click here to go to their website
The Monterey Bay Aquarium
If you like sea creatures of any kind, this is the place for you. The aquarium consists of two floors of aquatic life. Along with the many types of large and small fishes, there are lots of other types of sea life to be found here. They have whole rooms dedicated to things with tentacles (squid, octopus, cuttlefish, etc.) and all types of jellyfish. There are also sea horses, starfish, sea anemones, sand dollars, clams, coral, eels, shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. There are sea otters, penguins, and puffins. They have a room called the aviary that has sea birds in it. They have a couple touching pools where you can touch and hold things like starfish, crabs and hermit crabs, various kinds of kelp, sea cucumbers, and bat rays.
For more information on the Monterey Bay Aquarium, click here to go to their website
The area just outside the aquarium is called Cannery Row. It gets its name from the fact that this used to be a sardine cannery years ago. Now it’s just a street filled with shops and places to eat all kinds of yummy things. I had me a crepe and also made a stop at the Nestle Tollhouse shop for an ice cream sandwich made out of cookies.
For more information on Cannery Row, click here to go to the website
The Fisherman’s Wharf has loads of places to shop and eat and the wharf makes for a nice stroll.
For more information on the Fisherman’s Wharf, click here to go to the website
Drive Down Ocean View Boulevard
Starting just west of the aquarium, take a drive down Ocean View Boulevard to see even more beautiful coastline.
Point Pinos Lighthouse
Just past where Ocean View Boulevard turns into Sunset Drive, make a stop at the Point Pinos Lighthouse. This lighthouse, built in 1855, is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. You can’t go up into the tower of the lighthouse, but you can tour the lighthouse itself and learn about its history.
For more information on the Point Pinos Lighthouse, click here to go to their website
Other Things to Do Near Monterey
Drive Down Scenic Drive in Carmel
Just south of Monterey is the town of Carmel, where actor Clint Eastwood was Mayor in the 1980’s. This is a quaint little town with some nice streets and houses to see as you drive through. On the coast of Carmel is a road called Scenic Drive. Need I say more?
The Carmel Mission
The full name of this mission is The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, but is commonly known as The Carmel Mission. Founded in 1770, this landmark is a little slice of history for you to check out before leaving Carmel.
For more information on the Carmel Mission, click here to go to their website
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
With miles of trails, you could easily spend a day here. We were here 5 hours and saw only a fraction of the park. The trails wind through some very nice scenery, and you can check out the seals sunning themselves on the sand. You can also kayak, snorkel, or scuba dive in the water, have a picnic, or ride your bicycle. The Reserve is located just south of Carmel.
For more information on Point Lobos, click here to go to their website
North of Monterey
Marina Dunes Preserve
About 15-20 minutes north of Monterey in the town of Marina is the Marina Dunes Preserve. Take a stroll through here where the amazing flowering dunes meet the sea.
For more information on the Marina Dunes Preserve, click here to go to their website
All images copyright © 2014 Eric T. Christensen