Monterey city is located on the rugged coast of California. Blessed with a year- round temperate climate it is the perfect place for outdoor activities. There is a wide range of tourist attractions in Monterey, including the aquarium, museums and parks. But that’s not all with local cuisine at the many restaurants on offer and a varied shopping scene, visitors will always find something to do in this city. So whether it’s an action packed weekend of water sports or a romantic dining weekend break you will find a reason to visit Monterey.
10. Visit the beach.
With 99 miles of amazing coastline there are many beautiful beaches to choose from. Whether its surfing or relaxing there is a beach to suit your needs. Del Monte beach is near to the residential area and is especially great for walking, sailing and kayaking. Garrapata beach is highly rated for its fabulous ocean views and wildlife spotting, however swimming should be avoided here due to the rocks and surf. San Carlos beach is a popular divers spot near to the coast guard and parking for easy access.
9. San Carlos Cathedral.
This beautiful old building was completed in 1794. It is the first stone building and the oldest church that has run continuously in the state of California. The Spanish Colonial architecture is not seen in other missions and the statue of Lady Guadalupe is the oldest in the state. The Cathedral still serves the Parish today and the Royal chapel is visited by pilgrims from around the world. Services runs all week Monday to Friday 745am and 1215pm. Saturday 730am, 900am, 1030am, 12noon and 530pm. Sunday services at 4pm and 6pm.
8. Point Lobos State Reserve.
The place to go for nature lovers. The Point Lobos state reserve is great for hikes with its dramatic landscape and rolling meadow and ocean views. It is also a favourite with scuba divers with the 70-foot kelp forest to explore and the protected marine life to spot. Sea lions, otters, seals and migrating grey whales call this place home. Out of the sea the granite cliffs, rock formations and headlands give creative inspiration for photographers and painters. So if you love the outdoors and exploring this is the place to go, and its free.
7. Dennis the Menace Park.
A playground based on the popular cartoon, this park is great fun for kids and the family. This unique park includes a rock climbing wall a maze and many more structure to climb and play. A great place to keep the little menaces busy for a while or take a picnic and make a day of it. The park is located at Pearl street and there is no entrance fee.
6. Monterey Historic State Park.
This well renowned park consists of local gardens and historic buildings. Immerse yourself is history by taking a walking tour. Follow the yellow plaques to the different buildings and discover the cultural development of the town including Spanish and Mexican influences. One of visitor’s favourite attractions is the whalebone sidewalk in front of the Old Whaling station. The park also holds events including the Annual Christmas in the Adobes. Opening times are Friday to Monday 10am to 4pm. The admission price is $3 but is free for under 12’s.
5. Museum of Art.
The museum of art is found at two locations one at Pacific Street and the other at La Mirada. Eight galleries containing American and Californian painting, photography and contemporary art exhibits are found in the historic Colton Hall building at Pacific Street. Today’s exhibits include Miniatures and Iconic masterpieces of early Californian painting. The gallery wing at La Mirada contains exhibits that change a few times a year. Museums are open Thursday to Monday 11am to 5pm. Admission costs $10 for adults but is free for under 18’s, students, holders of military ID and members.
4. Whale watching.
Year round whale watching trips are available in Monterey Bay. Tour operators provide boat trips to see these spectacular mammals in their natural habitat. California Grey Whales are visible between December and April and Summer Whales between April and November. It’s not only whales to see. Dolphins and seabirds also call this place home. The tours vary from regular boat trips to sunset cruises and birthday parties. Although there is usually a good chance of Whale spotting in the area it is not guaranteed. Tours cost around $45 for 2.5 hours.
3. Cannery row.
Cannery row is the cool historic waterfront district which is the perfect place to stay, shop and dine. A great meeting place for friends this is a fun vibrant area. The many restaurants provide varied dining experiences from casual to elegant. The 85 shops have something for everyone, independent stores alongside known brands there are even toy stores to keep the kids happy. When it comes to staying here many hotels provide views and access to the beach. So you can see why many people choose to vacation here.
2. 17mile drive.
A beautiful drive starting at Pacific grove and ending in Carmel. Described as one of the most beautiful drives in the world the pacific coastline drive is a must-do. Sites to see along the way include The Lone Cypress which has stood at a rocky height for 250 years, the Fanshell overlook where you may spot harbour seals in the spring and The Lodge at Pebble Beach where you can dine and shop. Access to the road is free for those on bicycles however there is a $10 fee for cars. Motorcycles are not permitted access to the road.
1. Monterey bay aquarium.
One of the best places to visit in Monterey. This large aquarium is not only a tourist attraction but also a conservation centre. Visit the tentacle exhibit where you can see the giant octopus, see penguins in the bird exhibit or for something really special book one of the tours. Located at the west end of Cannery Row there’s parking for those driving or why not hop on the MST trolley for a free ride there. Opening hours are 10am to 5pm and ticket prices start from $24.95 for children and $39.95 for adults.
There are plenty on things to do in Monterey whatever your taste or budget! Located on central California’s Pacific coast it is easy to get to by plane, train or car. The Monterey regional airport is a 10-minute drive from downtown. Trains run to Salinas each day on its route between Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles. So you are sure to have a great time in this city.