5 Best Things to Do in Monterey Bay
When it comes to travel, I find it difficult to decide whether I prefer the mountains or the beach. Visiting the Monterey Bay Peninsula made me realize…. it doesn’t have to be one or the other!
The Monterey Bay Peninsula is located in central California about 50 miles south of San Jose and 240 miles north of Los Angeles. It’s not a very big area, but packed with wonderful things to do, amazing food and some of the most breath-taking scenery around!
Honestly, the pictures just can’t do it justice!
So, without further adieu…. My 5 “must do’s” in Monterey Bay:
I love this little town! It’s your quintessential seaside village filled with shopping, dining, art galleries and wine tasting rooms. There’s so much to say about this little one square mile town that it has to have it’s own post. (coming soon!)
The aquarium, located right on the ocean, is such an amazing place to visit! I highly recommend it if you’re in the area with children, but great for adults, too.
The ticket attendant recommended and helped us map our tour through the aquarium with the feeding times of the various tanks in mind. It really is the way to go! It helped us get the most out of our visit.
There isn’t much that’s cuter than a sea otter. We were fortunate enough to be there when they had a “rescue” otter. (The one in the back of the picture with the lighter brown head) It was found in the area, injured, and brought to the aquarium to be nursed back to health. It was soon to be release back into the wild.
Well, if anything can give an otter a run for it’s money in the “cute” department, it’s penguins.
These little guys were adorable….. and hilarious!
At the Kelp Forest Feeding a diver enters one of the tallest aquarium exhibits in the world. He shares with the visitors many interesting facts about the contents of the tank all while hand-feeding the various fish….
One of the most interesting was this very large fish…. of which I forgot the name.
Now, I’m not a big fan of jelly fish when it comes to swimming in the ocean but the Monterey Aquarium is known for their amazing jelly fish exhibits.
They really are beautiful creatures.
Which I enjoy viewing from the opposite side of a very thick pane of glass!
Outside there’s a deck and observation area. It just so happened to be raining the day we visited (which is why we chose this day for the aquarium). As we were about to leave, there was a break in the clouds and we decided to go out on the observation deck.
Now, this isn’t something you’re likely to see when visiting, because it doesn’t rain that often, in this area of California, but we were graced with a beautiful full rainbow! It lasted just for a minute but it was so brilliant and beautiful! At that moment, I was reminded of God’s grace and love in my life and that I can be thankful, even in the “rain”.
Aquarium Visit Tip: Look for discount tickets. Hofsas House Hotel has a relationship with the aquarium and if you stay there, they offers 2 -day tickets for the price of one
3- Drive along the Coast to Big Sur
We’ve probably all seen pictures of this “famous” bridge. It’s even more incredible in person!
The drive down to Big Sur from Monterey Bay is only about 25 miles. However, it takes you along the windy, narrow, two-lane State Route 1; bordered on one side by the Saint Lucia Mountains and the other by seaside cliffs. Plan at least 2 hours for the round trip.
Besides the narrow winding road, there are many places along the way to stop for photos of the majestic scenery!
Once in the area of Big Sur (which you’ll miss if you blink) stop by the Big Sur Bakery for some coffee and a pastry. Consider gassing up the car as well, it’s the last stop for another 40 miles if you’re going on further south.
4- Sunset on the Beach
No trip to the West coast is complete without a beach sunset.
We chose the beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Being there in early December, it was a little chilly. I can honestly say that’s the only time I’ve ever been to the beach in boots! And yet, there were several young people that came down to the beach to swim at sunset.
I also recommend driving to the beach. in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s not a very far walk and downhill on the way there. However, it’s a very steep walk back up…. trust me, we did it the first day.
This is a community theatre company featuring performances at 3 local theatres in Carmel-by-the-Sea. We visited the Golden Bough Playhouse. The production was beyond my expectations! VERY well done! The music, acting and singing were exceptional. It was a fun evening at a great price and casual atmosphere. No need to get super dressed up while you’re on vacation.
Tip: The theatre offers discounts for large groups, seniors, teachers and students. Thursday evening performances are buy one ticket, get one free…. use code SWEET
For all the golfers out there….. the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course is here! So, play a round, drive over and take a look or (if you’re like me) just take pictures from the beach at Carmel-by-the-Sea.
This was my first visit to the area, but hopefully not my last. It’s the perfect location for any occasion…. romantic getaway, girl’s weekend or family vacation. I know I say this about many of the places I visit, but honestly, the beauty here is almost beyond putting into words. I was overwhelmed with it’s majesty and grandeur as I was reminded of the awesomeness of its Creator.