15 Best Things To Do In Monterey

March 3, 2024  |  Monterey Peninsula, California

Nestled along the picturesque coastline of California, Monterey is a captivating destination renowned for its stunning natural beauty, rich history, and vibrant culture. From its iconic waterfront to its charming streets lined with historic adobes, Monterey offers an array of unforgettable experiences for visitors of all interests. Whether you're a nature enthusiast, history buff, or food connoisseur, there's something for everyone to enjoy while visiting this enchanting coastal town. Here, I'll explore the 15 best things to do in Monterey, showcasing the diverse array of attractions and activities that make it a must-visit destination on the California coast.

  1. Visit Monterey Bay Aquarium
  2. Explore Cannery Row
  3. Enjoy Fisherman's Wharf
  4. Go whale watching
  5. Take the 17-Mile Drive
  6. Relax at Carmel-by-the-Sea
  7. Hike at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
  8. Tour the historic Carmel Mission
  9. Stroll along Pacific Grove
  10. Play golf at Pebble Beach golf courses
  11. Kayak in Monterey Bay
  12. Visit the Monterey Museum of Art
  13. Walk along Asilomar State Beach
  14. Take a boat tour at Elkhorn Slough
  15. Drive down Big Sur coastline

Explore Monterey Bay Aquarium: Dive Into Adventure and Conservation at this Coastal Gem

Discover the enchantment of Monterey, where the majestic beauty of the ocean comes to life. If there's one absolute must-visit attraction on the Monterey Peninsula, the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium stands as an essential highlight. This iconic destination captivates visitors with interactive exhibits that not only delight the senses but also foster a deeper connection with marine life. Among the most beloved creatures, the charming otters will undoubtedly steal your heart with their playful antics.

However, Monterey Bay Aquarium's allure extends beyond mere entertainment. The aquarium is a hub for conservation efforts, playing a pivotal role in the protection of our oceans. As you explore the wonders of this coastal haven, you'll be immersed in educational programs that are shaping the future of marine stewardship. Prepare for an inspiring visit where you'll leave with a treasure trove of memories and a renewed passion for the natural world. I have been visiting the aquarium since I was a child, dating back to when it first opened in 1984, and absolutely love it. My kids now also enjoy the aquarium as well.

Giant Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Giant Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Explore Cannery Row: Monterey's Gem by the Bay

Cannery Row is not just a street on a map-it's a vibrant chapter of Monterey's history turned into a bustling waterfront destination for locals and tourists alike. Once the sardine capital of the world, Cannery Row has undergone a remarkable transformation from an industrial workhorse into an inviting promenade lined with enticing shops, delectable eateries, and vibrant cultural offerings.

Historical Significance and Transformation

The echoes of Cannery Row's past are still heard in the restored buildings that now house a myriad of attractions. It's an area steeped in history and was famously chronicled by American author John Steinbeck. An exploration of this area is as much a walk through a storied chapter in Monterey's heritage as it is a modern-day adventure.

Shopping and Dining Hotspot

Whether you're looking to indulge in some retail therapy or treat your taste buds, Cannery Row offers some of the best shopping and dining experiences in Monterey. From quaint boutiques selling one-of-a-kind finds to exquisite seafood restaurants with ocean views, each establishment invites guests to savor the flavor and flair of Monterey.

  • The Cannery Row Antique Mall - A haven for vintage lovers and antiques collectors.
  • Sea Harvest Restaurant & Fish Market- Located just off of Cannery Row away from tourist crowds, Sea Harvest Fish Market has the best seafood in Monterey in my opinion. Since discovering this place a few years ago I almost always stop here for lunch while visiting Monterey.
  • Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop - Where sweet-toothed visitors can taste the famous San Francisco chocolates.
  • A Taste of Monterey - A place to sample wines from over 70 local wineries with a spectacular view.

Steinbeck's Legacy

No discussion of Cannery Row is complete without mentioning its connection to Nobel Prize-winning author, John Steinbeck. His works such as "Cannery Row" and "Sweet Thursday" paint vivid pictures of the area's past life. In moments of reflection, visitors realize that while the once noisy canneries have gone silent, the spirit and the stories encapsulated in Steinbeck's writing have given Cannery Row a voice that still resonates with every shopfront and tide pool. This is where the past and the present meld seamlessly together, creating an atmosphere that is uniquely Monterey.

Experience the Charm of Fisherman's Wharf

As one of Monterey's most beloved attractions, Fisherman's Wharf is not just a destination-it's an experience. Brimming with the rich cultural and culinary heritage of Monterey, the wharf invites visitors to explore its vibrant array of dining options. Here's what you can look forward to during your visit:

Savor The Freshness of the Sea

No visit to Fisherman's Wharf is complete without indulging in some of the freshest seafood the Pacific has to offer. You'll find a bountiful selection of restaurants, each boasting their own signature dishes that highlight local catch. To truly embrace the spirit of Monterey, make sure to partake in a seafood tasting, or dive into the creamy goodness of a traditional clam chowder bowl.

Embark on Waterside Adventures

After satisfying your culinary cravings, immerse yourself in the recreational activities available on the wharf. Whether you prefer the thrill of a boat ride navigating the bay's waves or the tranquility of a fishing trip amidst the serene waters, Fisherman's Wharf offers an array of experiences to connect you with Monterey's maritime soul.

  • Board a scenic boat tour for an up-close view of the bay
  • Try your hand at fishing and join the locals in a beloved pastime
  • Shop for unique souvenirs and Monterey specialties

At Fisherman's Wharf, every moment is a chance to make memories that will last a lifetime. Make sure to bring your sense of adventure, your appetite, and your camera to capture the essence of Monterey's seafaring charms.

An Unforgettable Whale Watching Journey in Monterey

Monterey is renowned for its exceptional whale watching experiences, offering visitors a chance to witness the majesty of these gentle giants in their natural habitat. The unique submarine canyons and nutrient-rich waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary create the perfect conditions for an incredible diversity of marine life, making it a prime location for whale enthusiasts.

The Best Times to Spot Whales in Monterey

While whale watching can be enjoyed year-round in Monterey, certain seasons provide the opportunity to see specific species. Visit in the winter and spring months for gray whale migrations, or come in summer and fall to catch a glimpse of humpback and blue whales. Each season brings a new spectacle to the waters, promising a distinctive whale watching experience each time you visit.

Guided Whale Watching Tours

Embarking on a guided tour enhances your whale watching adventure. Knowledgeable guides offer insights about the different species you'll encounter, their migration patterns, and behaviors. Most tours guarantee whale sightings, ensuring that your trip on the water is both educational and thrilling. Be prepared for an exciting day at sea - bring binoculars, a camera, and a sense of wonder as you set sail for an up-close encounter with these incredible creatures.

  • Duration: Tours typically last between 2 to 4 hours.
  • Essentials: Dress in layers, as it can get chilly on the water, and don't forget sunscreen and a hat.
  • Accessibility: Many boats are equipped to accommodate guests with limited mobility, but it's best to check with your tour provider in advance.

When planning your Monterey adventure, make sure to include whale watching on your list of must-do activities. It's an unforgettable experience that connects you deeply with nature and leaves you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Take the 17-Mile Drive

Go on an unforgettable journey along the breathtaking 17-Mile Drive, a must-see spectacle of Monterey's natural elegance. This quintessential scenic route offers a tapestry of coastal beauty that forms an iconic part of California's landscape.

Discover the Scenic Beauty

The legendary 17-Mile Drive captivates with its dramatic coastline, mystical forests, and stunning golf courses. It winds through a varied landscape that showcases the best of California's natural splendor. Immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty as you navigate the route's twists and turns.

Points of Interest Along the Drive

As you meander through the serene vistas, you'll encounter an array of points of interest that are as diverse as they are beautiful:

  • Lone Cypress: Stand in awe of this enduring symbol of resilience, a lone cypress tree that has majestically braved the coastal elements for over 250 years.
  • Point Joe
  • Bird Rock
  • Pebble Beach Golf Links
The Lone Cypress Photo

The Lone Cypress

Tips for Enjoying the 17-Mile Drive

Whether you're taking a leisurely drive, going for a vibrant cycling adventure or joining a guided tour, these tips will help you make the most of your trip:

  • Plan your visit during non-peak hours for a more peaceful experience.
  • Stay charged: if cycling, ensure your e-bike's battery is full, or if driving, your vehicle has ample fuel.
  • Use the official map to locate all the scenic stops and restrooms.
  • Don't forget your camera to capture the unforgettable views.

Take your time as you journey through this mesmerizing route, for each curve offers a new perspective of Monterey's coastal allure. The 17-Mile Drive is not just a trip-it's an experience that will leave lasting memories in the canvas of your mind.

Relax at Carmel-by-the-Sea

Step into a fairytale as you relax at Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming affluent enclave known for its enchanting fairy-tale cottages and pristine white sandy beaches. Escape from the hustle of daily life and bask in the tranquility of this picturesque village.

Discover Enchanting Architecture and Beaches

Start your visit with a leisurely stroll through the whimsical streets, admiring the storybook architecture that gives Carmel its unique character. Don't miss the opportunity to sink your toes into the soft white sands of the local beaches, which are perfect for a day of relaxation or a romantic sunset walk.

Shop and Explore Local Galleries

Indulge in a bit of retail therapy as you venture into the unique shops that dot Carmel. Discover everything from handcrafted jewelry to bespoke clothing. Art enthusiasts will revel in the diverse array of art galleries showcasing works by local and international artists alike, ensuring your day is filled with culture and inspiration. As a photographer, I like to visit the Aaron Chang Gallery, Weston Gallery and Photography West. All of which are extremely pricey however, so if you want museum-quality fine art photography but aren't a Maserati-driving billionaire, check out my own Monterey photography at Richard Wong Photography.

China Cove Fine Art Photography Print
China Cove Fine Art Photography Print

Savor the Taste of Carmel

Fine dining experiences await those with a discerning palate. Carmel's culinary scene serves up a multitude of flavors that cater to the most exquisite tastes. And for the oenophiles, an afternoon of wine-tasting is a must, with local vineyards offering an impressive selection of world-class wines. I especially enjoy the Italian food in Carmel. Il Tegamino is a romantic spot to go for dinner but is also kid-friendly. Portabella which is located right next door is also great. Little Napoli offers excellent Italian cuisine in a casual setting. Carmel also currently has two Michelin star restaurants; Chez Noir and Aubergine. I have not been to either one as of this writing but both are seafood restaurants with impeccable presentation from what I can see.

Whether you're here to unwind or to find artistic inspiration, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a perfect blend of natural beauty, culture, and luxury-ensuring that your visit is nothing short of magical.

Discover the Trails of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

The raw beauty of the Californian coast truly comes alive within the enchanting landscapes of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. As one of the ultimate things to do in Monterey, a hike through its meandering paths offers not just a journey for your feet, but for your soul, too.

Allan Memorial Grove Scenic Overlook, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, California, Photo

Monterey Cypress Dream

Experiencing the Natural Splendor of Point Lobos

Embrace tranquility while surrounded by the reserve's diverse flora and fauna. Each step along the well-preserved trails can bring you face-to-face with some of the most breathtaking views that nature has to offer. From forests of Monterey Pines to rugged coastline vistas, Point Lobos is a feast for the eyes-and the spirit. Point Lobos is arguably the most beautiful area to explore along the entire California Coast. Some of my all-time favorite trails can be found in this park.

Wildlife Encounters On Your Hike

It's not unusual to find yourself in the delightful company of local wildlife while trekking through Point Lobos. Keep your eyes peeled for marine mammals such as seals, sea lions, and even whales in the distance. On land, you might spot rabbits, deer, and a plethora of bird species. It's these moments that make hiking here an unforgettable adventure.

Responsible and Safe Hiking Tips

  • Stay on marked trails to protect both the environment and for your safety.
  • Ensure you carry out all trash to keep the reserve pristine for other visitors.
  • Observe wildlife from a distance; never feed or approach them.
  • Be prepared with appropriate attire and plenty of water, especially during warm weather.

By following these guidelines, your visit to Point Lobos not only respects the delicate ecosystems but also ensures that you have a safe and deeply rewarding experience. So lace up those hiking boots and get ready for a journey that promises to be one of the most memorable things to do in Monterey.

Tour the Historic Carmel Mission

Step back in time and immerse yourself in California's rich history by touring the Carmel Mission. As one of the most beautifully preserved of the Spanish missions, the Carmel Mission Basilica Museum offers a unique glimpse into the past, with breathtaking architecture and serene courtyards that speak volumes of its historical significance.

Carmel Mission Church, Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Carmel Mission

The Historical Significance of the Carmel Mission

The Carmel Mission, officially known as Misión San Carlos Borromeo del río Carmelo, holds a pivotal place in California's history. Founded in 1771, it served as the headquarters for the Alta California missions and was the site where Saint Junípero Serra, a key figure in California's early development, was laid to rest. I would be remiss not to mention the atrocities of colonization under the guise of spreading Christianity had on the indigenous people's however. This had a significant impact on what eventually led to modern-day California but at what cost?

Architectural Features and Artifacts on Display

As you wander through the mission, marvel at the exquisite Spanish colonial architecture, which includes the beautifully restored basilica with its iconic bell tower. The mission grounds and museums house an impressive collection of Spanish and Native American artifacts, religious paintings, and sculptures that highlight the convergence of cultures that shaped early California.

Information on Visiting and Appreciating Its Peaceful Grounds

Visiting the Carmel Mission is a journey not just through history but also a chance to enjoy the tranquility it offers. Stroll through the lovingly-tended gardens, find a quiet spot for reflection, or participate in a self-guided tour to truly appreciate the peaceful ambiance of this historic treasure. To plan your visit, check the mission's official website for open hours and tour schedules as they may vary throughout the year.

Whether you're a history buff, an architecture enthusiast, or simply seeking a moment of calm, the Carmel Mission is a must-visit landmark when exploring Monterey's treasures.

Discover Pacific Grove's Coastal Elegance

Unwind in the picturesque town of Pacific Grove, where the tranquil charm of the coast awaits you. Often referred to as "Butterfly Town, U.S.A.," this peaceful retreat offers a unique blend of natural beauty and historical allure.

Experience the Butterfly Paradise

Capture a magical moment amidst the flutter of wings as you spot the vibrant Monarch butterflies adorning the town. Historically from November through January, you'll greeted by the dazzling spectacle of these delicate creatures, creating unforgettable memories. Migration patterns have changed over the years due to climate change and habitat destruction however so it's not a given you'll spot butterflies. I have never personally seen one during multiple visits to be honest.

Walk the Purple Carpet

Earn your own set of wings as you walk along the trails surrounded by a mesmerizing purple carpet of ice plants. This famous natural phenomenon paints the landscape in vivid hues, providing a perfect backdrop for those quintessential coastal photographs.

Snap the Perfect Seascape Photo

Are you an avid photographer or a lover of stunning views? Pacific Grove offers some of the best vantage points for capturing breathtaking seascapes. From the rugged coastline to the serene sunsets, every snapshot encapsulates the beauty of Monterey's shoreline.

  • Lovers Point Park: Ideal for couples and nature enthusiasts, its panoramic views are perfect for a scenic picnic or a soothing kayaking adventure.
  • Point Pinos Lighthouse: Immerse yourself in maritime history and take in the serene ocean vista at the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast.
  • Asilomar State Beach: With its unspoiled sandy beaches and natural dunes, Asilomar is a sanctuary for walkers, dreamers, and those chasing the perfect sunset.
Spring Flowers at Sunrise, Pacific Grove, California, photo

Pride of Madeira

Rent a Bike

One of the my most memorable experiences in Pacific Grove was renting a bike and biking along the shoreline from Asilomar State Beach to Monterey's Old Fisherman's Wharf and back. I can't think of a more beautiful town to bike in.

In Pacific Grove, every stroll is more than just a walk-it's a journey through a charming seaside village that invites you to relax, connect with nature, and create lasting memories on the shores of Monterey.

Experience Legendary Golf at Pebble Beach

For enthusiasts of the sport or simply lovers of the outdoors, no visit to Monterey would be complete without experiencing the world-renowned golfing at Pebble Beach. With its breathtaking coastal views and meticulously manicured greens, playing golf at Pebble Beach is more than a game-it's an encounter with a legendary slice of California's luxury lifestyle.

Pebble Beach Golf Courses: A Synonym for Golfing Excellence

With a variety of golf course options at Pebble Beach, you can choose your challenge level amidst incredible scenic vistas that span the rocky shores of the Pacific. From the famous Pebble Beach Golf Links to the Spyglass Hill Golf Course, each round promises more than a mere game-it promises a moment where time stands still, and nature and sport converge in perfect harmony.

Booking Your Tee Time

To ensure your spot on these iconic fairways, advance booking is highly recommended. Setting up your round of golf at Pebble Beach is simple and accessible, so you can ease your mind and focus on the strokes. Besides golf, you are also privy to other amenities such as top-tier equipment rentals, expert instruction, and the 19th hole refreshments renowned among golfers-a splendid way to end your day.

  • Contact Pebble Beach Resorts for reservations and select your ideal course
  • Consider scheduling a lesson to refine your technique
  • Take advantage of the pro shop for the latest gear
  • Relax and reminisce about your round at the on-site restaurants and lounges

Whether you're a long-time player or just looking to envelop yourself in the grandeur of Pebble Beach, the golf experience here is designed to awe and inspire. From the first tee to the final putt, playing golf in Pebble Beach is an unforgettable mark of any Monterey getaway.

Kayak in Monterey Bay

For those seeking a unique vantage point of Monterey's stunning coast, kayaking in Monterey Bay offers an intimate encounter with the area's fascinating marine life. Glide over kelp forests, navigate next to playful sea otters, and explore the tranquil waters while basking in the beauty of the bay.

Guided Tours and Kayak Rental Information

Whether you're an experienced paddler or a first-timer, Monterey Bay has plenty to offer. You can find a variety of guided kayak tours that cater to different skill levels and interests. These tours not only ensure you have a knowledgeable guide to lead you to the best spots but also provide interesting insights about the local ecosystem. If you prefer a solo adventure, kayak rentals are readily available along the bay, allowing you the freedom to explore at your own pace. I personally am a big fan of kayaking and have rented kayaks in Monterey on several occasions launching from Cannery Row and paddling past the Monterey Bay Aquarium over to Pacific Grove. I've seen numerous sea otters and harbor seals while in the water.

Safety Tips and Best Practices for Beginners

For a safe and enjoyable kayaking experience, it's essential to keep a few things in mind:

  • Check the weather: Always verify the weather conditions before heading out into the bay. The afternoons can be quite windy in the afternoons. During certain times of year the surf might be too rough to kayak safely.
  • Wear a life jacket: Safety comes first, so ensure you're wearing a properly fitted life jacket at all times.
  • Know your limits: Don't stray too far from shore if you're just starting out, and be mindful of your skill level.
  • Respect wildlife: Maintain a safe distance from marine animals to avoid disturbing their natural behaviors.
  • Take a lesson: Consider taking a kayaking lesson to get familiar with paddling techniques and safety protocols.

Adventure awaits you at Monterey Bay. Grab a paddle, hop in a kayak, and prepare to be mesmerized by the charms of the Pacific!

Discover Artistic Wonders at the Monterey Museum of Art

For art lovers and culture enthusiasts, a visit to the Monterey Museum of Art is a must when exploring Monterey. This hidden gem offers a deep dive into Monterey's vibrant visual arts scene, celebrating both historical and contemporary works that narrate the rich cultural tapestry of the region.

Current Exhibitions and Visiting Artist Programs

With rotating exhibitions that highlight diverse artistic mediums, the Monterey Museum of Art is a dynamic space that continuously presents new and thought-provoking pieces to engage with. Alongside the captivating permanent collections, the museum frequently hosts visiting artists, providing a platform for fresh perspectives and innovative artistry that will leave you inspired.

Community Engagement and Art Education

The museum is not just a place to observe art, but also a vibrant community hub where visitors can immerse themselves in the world of creativity. Engaging community events and comprehensive art education offerings encourage participation from attendees of all ages. Whether you're looking to refine your artistic skills or simply appreciate the fine works, the Monterey Museum of Art fosters an inclusive environment where the language of art is spoken fluently.

  • Check the museum's calendar for upcoming events and programs
  • Explore interactive workshops or lectures to learn more about the techniques and stories behind the art
  • Enjoy the beauty of the museum's architecture and tranquil settings

Embrace the opportunity to explore the intersection of culture, history, and creativity at the Monterey Museum of Art, and add a touch of artistic sophistication to your Monterey itinerary.

Discover the Serene Asilomar State Beach

Among the myriad of attractions in Monterey, none is quite as tranquil as a leisurely stroll on the sandy shores of Asilomar State Beach. This stunning slice of coastline is not just a feast for the eyes; it's a sanctuary for the soul, offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Raw Natural Beauty: Asilomar captivates with its rugged coastal dunes, tide pools brimming with marine life, and panoramic views of the endless Pacific Ocean. Whether you're capturing the perfect photo or simply taking in the scenery, the beach's untouched splendor is unforgettable.

Ideal for Relaxation: Lay out a blanket and enjoy a picnic to the soothing soundtrack of rolling waves. Asilomar is the perfect spot for those looking to unwind and relish the coastal ambiance.

Asilomar State Beach Sunset, Pacific Grove, California, photo

Childhood Dreams

Preserving Our Paradise

As you embrace the beauty of Asilomar State Beach, remember that we are all stewards of this fragile ecosystem. Here are a few tips to help preserve the natural habitat during your visit:

  • Avoid disturbing wildlife and plant life - admire from a distance.
  • Stay on marked trails to protect native dunes and grasses.
  • Carry out what you carry in - leave no trace to keep Asilomar pristine.

Taking a walk through Asilomar State Beach is more than just an item to tick off your 'things to do in Monterey' list; it is an experience that captures the essence of California's coastal beauty. So tread lightly, breathe deeply, and let the majesty of this natural wonder envelop you.

Go on an Unforgettable Wildlife Boat Tour at Elkhorn Slough

Revel in the wonders of nature as you navigate the tranquil waters of Elkhorn Slough, located in the heart of Moss Landing. This hidden gem offers you a chance to get up close and personal with an astonishing array of wildlife in one of California's largest wetlands. It's an activity not to be missed and a highlight for nature enthusiasts exploring Monterey.

Experience Wildlife in Their Natural Habitat

Elkhorn Slough is bustling sanctuary where you might witness a variety of creatures that call this estuary home. Keep your eyes peeled for:

  • Sea otters: Watch these playful mammals as they frolic and glide through the water.
  • Birds: From majestic hawks to chattering shorebirds, the avian life is rich and diverse.
  • Seals and sea lions: Observe these marine mammals lounging on the banks or bobbing in the calm waters.

The diverse habitats, from mudflats to salt marshes, ensure that every trip holds new surprises and plenty of photo opportunities.

Choose Your Adventure

Whether you prefer a guided boat tour or paddling at your own pace in a rented kayak, Elkhorn Slough offers various options to suit your adventure level. Knowledgeable tour guides can illuminate the ecosystem's complexity and the species you encounter, enhancing your experience of this ecological haven.

Opt for a guided boat tour to learn more about the slough while keeping your hands free for binoculars and cameras. My family and I booked a tour through Elkhorn Slough Safari which was a very relaxing way to spend the morning. The boat was also an eco-friendly electric boat.

Gain a different perspective by renting a kayak and silently gliding past otters and birds mere feet away.

No matter how you choose to explore, a visit to Elkhorn Slough promises to be a memorable part of your Monterey experience, full of awe and appreciation for the natural world.

Experience the Iconic Big Sur Coastline Drive

Embarking on a road trip is a quintessential American experience, and there's no journey quite like the drive down the stunning Big Sur Coastline. As part of your things to do in Monterey, this adventure should top your list. The open road and the dramatic landscapes that flank the Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) are sights you won't soon forget.

Dramatic Landscapes Awaiting You

The rugged cliffs, crashing waves, and towering redwoods that characterize the Big Sur coastline offer a sense of grandeur and tranquility. As you negotiate each turn, you'll find vistas that seem to leap straight out of postcards, inviting you to pause and soak in the majesty of nature.

Must-See Landmarks & Viewpoints

  • Bixby Creek Bridge: Marvel at one of the most photographed bridges in California and take in the panoramic views.
  • McWay Falls: Witness this 80-foot waterfall that cascades onto a pristine beach below-a rare and mesmerizing sight.
  • Point Sur Lighthouse: Explore the historic lighthouse perched atop a rocky outcrop, offering guided tours for history enthusiasts.
McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, California, photo

McWay Falls

Planning Your Perfect Road Trip

To make the most of your drive down Big Sur, preparation is key. Plan your stops to coincide with landmarks and viewpoints, ensure your vehicle is in good working order, and remember to pack snacks and water. Timing your drive with the sunset can lead to an unforgettable experience as the sky and sea are painted with pastel hues.

With every mile you cover, you'll discover that the Big Sur coastline is not just a journey; it's a destination in itself. It's one of the best things to do in Monterey and essential for anyone wanting to experience California's unrivaled coastal beauty.

Discover the Wonders of Monterey-Your Ultimate Destination Awaits!

After diving into the enchanting world of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, embracing the historic charm of Cannery Row, and savoring the bustle of Fisherman's Wharf, it's clear Monterey is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Monterey is not just a place, but a gateway to a diverse array of adventures, whether you're watching the majestic play of whales breaching off the coast, or feeling the serene beauty of a sunset over Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Immerse yourself in the picturesque routes of the 17-Mile Drive, find solitude among the whispers of nature at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, or unearth the historic wonders of the Carmel Mission. In Monterey, every path leads to a story, and every visit creates memories that resonate with the heart of California's indomitable spirit.

From the gripping views along the Big Sur Coastline to the refined elegance of the Pebble Beach Golf Courses, your list of things to do here seems endless. And as the sun dips below the horizon, the vibrant wines of Monterey Wine Country beckon, rounding off the day with a toast to the good life. Add to that a kayaking trip in Monterey Bay or a leisurely stroll through the verdant landscapes of Pacific Grove, and you'll find that Monterey is a canvas painted with the broad strokes of possibility.

It's evident that Monterey is not merely a destination but an experience that captivates and inspires. It is a place that demands to be lived, to be felt, and to be cherished. Whether you're a lone explorer or weaving memories with loved ones, Monterey's tapestry of offerings provides something for every soul.

Sea Nettle Jellyfish
Sea Nettle Jellyfish

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