Monterey is a weekender’s paradise filled with unforgettable seaside experiences.
Monterey is a magical place. And it’s not just the California coastline, with its beautiful sand dunes and coastal habitat, but also the surrounding communities of Pacific Grove, Monterey, and Carmel-by-the-Sea that makes it so.
If you’re visiting for a few days, there’s definitely not enough time to do everything. But here are some things you should not miss.
First up, the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This world-renowned aquarium is one of the most popular California attractions, with over two million visitors each year. Located on Cannery Row in Monterey right on the ocean, the aquarium circulates in water directly from the ocean to support the thousands of species of aquatic plants and animals it protects. It acts as a marine research center and a rehabilitation center. And of course most importantly, it was the inspiration for the aquarium in the 2016 Pixar film Finding Dory.
Another animal sanctuary is located nearby, this one filled with butterflies: the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. Free to visitors, this sanctuary is best around October-March, when the Monarchs cluster together on the pines and eucalyptus trees in the sanctuary.
Quaint shops and restaurants line the streets in nearby Carmel-by-the-Sea, as well as on the wharfs in Monterey and Cannery Row, all just a short drive from Asilomar.
And after all the nature-watching and shopping, you’ll probably be thirsty—and what better remedy than wine-tasting? Monterey is known in California for its wine-country, with 85 vintners and growers in the county.
Monterey area has all the other activities you’d expect, from great hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, and deep-sea fishing and whale-watching tours. If you’re a golfer, you’re near one of the holiest places in golf: pebble beach. Enjoy the 18 mile scenic drive and, if you’re lucky, catch 9 or 18 holes. End your trip with some great food at any of Monterey’s fantastic restaurants, and don’t forget their world-famous chowder.