I absolutely love road trips, and try to go on them as much as my schedule allows. I think it’s such a great way to spend time with the family, and introduce the boys to new places and fun adventures. We were recently lucky enough to be given a Lexus RXL to test out, so we took the opportunity to pack up the family and head up to Monterey. Besides the famous Pebble Beach, we were excited to see what else this city had in store for us. And man, did we have a blast! Here’s what we did…
Monterey Bay Aquarium
One of the most exciting attractions Monterey has to offer is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Located in Cannery Row, this is an absolute must see, and if you’re at all into the mysterious nature of the deep sea, well, this place will just blow your mind. The Open Sea exhibit is reason enough to go check this place out. Holding 1.2 million gallons of water, this is the aquarium’s largest tank, with one of the biggest viewing windows in the whole world. From sea turtles and jellyfish, to hammerhead sharks, and tuna, this exhibit has it all. It was even the first to house 6 great white sharks over a period of 7 years (crazy, right?)! Other exhibits include a massive three story kelp forest, and a habitat tank that represents marine life from Monterey Bay. With awesome efforts to inspire and improve conservation of the oceans, this place is a fun-filled and educational adventure that will leave your entire family in awe and wonder.
Back in the day, Cannery Row was a site lined with sardine canning factories. Today, it is a scenic waterfront street (made famous by John Steinbeck), home to great restaurants, hotels, and historic tourist attractions; some residing in old cannery buildings. Cannery Row’s offshore area is the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary. This is an awesome place to rent a kayak, or go out on a guided tour to see the marine life. You will also find the famous 18 Mile Coastal Recreational Trail. This paved trail can be explored by by foot, bicycle, or even a surrey rental! How adorable is that?! We didn’t get a chance, but rumor has it that if you take this trail up to Point Pinos Lighthouse you will find the most stunning, spectacular, view.
Dennis the Menace Park
If you have kids then you absolutely have to check this place out because your kids will have a blast! Located in El Estero Park, the creator of the Dennis the Menace comic strip helped establish this playground back in 1956. With large slides, a suspension bridge, a hedge maze, a climbing wall, a zip line, climbing nets, and a giant ship, your kids will be able to run around for hours and tire themselves out, while parents find a nice spot to picnic and overlook the lake.
17 Mile Drive
This is one of the most scenic drives in the world. Follow the red-dotted line and it will take you past the most beautiful beaches, gorgeous golf greens, dramatic cliffs, and enchanting forests. Some of the main attractions along this drive are Cypress Point, Bird Rock, Fanshell Beach, Pescadero Point, and Seal Point. Stop at one of the most photographed trees in the world, the Lone Cypress (the official symbol of Pebble Beach), walk along the Spanish Bay Boardwalk, play a round of golf at Pebble Beach, or watch the sunset at Cypress Point Lookout. If you have kids, perhaps stop by Seal Rock or Bird Rock, which is swimming with sea lions and other marine life. Needless to say, there is so much to see and do here. For $10.25 per vehicle, it is an experience not to be missed!
This place is a tourist’s dream! Lined with seafood restaurants overlooking the water, souvenir shops, and candy stores, Fisherman’s Wharf, is a place to walk around and take in the bay breeze. You can go whale watching, or sailing on the bay from here. And don’t forget to check out the historical center of Monterey at the entrance of the wharf.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my little guide to Monterey! If you ever get a chance to visit, it’s an awesome place to see the best of what California has to offer! Be sure to comment below with some of your favorite places to visit in California, and maybe we’ll just have to make a trip!