Monterey is a lovely seaside town, with a beautiful, rugged coastline and village-like pedestrianised areas. We stayed in Monterey for 3 nights and had 2 full days to spend exploring the area, which was plenty of time.
One of Monterey's main attractions is Cannery Row. Named after the many canneries that opened with the expansion of the fishing industry, the warehouses and buildings that once housed machinery for canning fish are now home to restaurants, shops and attractions. At the end of Cannery Row is the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Housed in a former sardine factory, the aquarium is home to over 550 species.
Cannery row is a popular tourist spot with smaller pedestrianised side streets
Fisherman’s wharf is another popular spot on the Monterey coastline. The pier has many attractions for families as well as restaurants and places to grab some fish and chips or clam chowder. It’s also a great place to watch sea lions and otters play in the ocean. You can also take a whale watching trip from here. During our stay in Monterey, the weather was quite cold and windy and unfortunately this made the water very choppy and Lee was not well! We did see some Humpback whales though which was amazing!
The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is an 18 mile trail which runs from Castroville to Pacific Grove, right through Monterey. You can walk along the trail or hire bikes and stop along the way for a picnic on the beach or in one of the many parks. A nice short walk is from Fishermans Wharf to Lovers Point Park which will take just 45 minutes.
The park at Lovers Point
Just a 15 minute drive away, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Pebble Beach are both great for an afternoon out.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small, pretty town known for its quaint houses, collection of fine art galleries, boutiques, upscale shops and fine dining restaurants. There are also several wine tasting rooms here. Carmel Beach is beautiful and a popular spot for the locals to bring a bottle of wine and a picnic and watch the sunset.
Wandering the streets and courtyards of Carmel-by-the-Sea before visiting Carmel Beach
After we had strolled around Carmel and visited the beach, we drove to Pebble Beach. You have to pay an entrance fee to enter the gated community of Pebble Beach, famous for the 17 mile drive, which is one of the most scenic coastal drives on the Monterey peninsula, and of course, the Pebble Beach Golf Links. We drove the circular 17 mile drive, stopping at the numerous viewpoints and points of interest along the way, before visiting Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Sights from the 17 mile drive in Pebble beach, finishing at the Pebble Beach golf course
Monterey is a great place to spend a couple of days relaxing as you make your way down the West coast of California. If you have more time, it is also well located to visit the surrounding towns and parks of Monterey County.
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