Now that the kids are getting older, we have slowly begun to venture off on short weekend trips here and there and our latest trip brought us to none other than the Monterey Bay Coastline. Monterey is a beautiful city, one of my favorites in Northern California, with extraordinary views and a ton of fun activities to keep everyone in the family both happy and busy. During this trip, we stayed at the Intercontinental The Clement Monterey. It is such a lovely hotel in the heart of Cannery Row. If you have the opportunity to book an ocean view room with a balcony, I highly recommend it… The sound of the ocean waves is surprisingly soothing and will put you to sleep like a baby, not to mention the amazing views!
Our favorite things to do in Monterey County
Carmel-by-the-Beach & Carmel River Beach
We have always enjoyed strolling the shops in Carmel-by-the-Sea. There are some really unique stores located between wine tasting shops as well a few great restaurants. The kids loved Thinker Toys, a huge toy shop that has toys out for use during your visit, and we all enjoyed eating lunch Pepe’s Little Napoli.
Carmel River Beach is just a short walk from the shops at Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was actually our first stop when we arrived to Monterey and although it was a pretty chilly day, there were a lot of beach goers who seemed to be enjoying their time hanging out and even a few brave kids who happily played in the cold water. This was Gio’s first visit to the beach and he was a little unsure of the sand for the first 15 minutes or so, but as you can see he quickly got over his fear.
17 Mile Drive
If you are visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea I’d say its almost a crime for you not to check out some of the gorgeous views on this scenic road. Be sure to take a camera because you will most definitely want to stop to get a few photos to remember the beauty of the incredible views!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Looking back on all of our previous trips to Monterey, I don’t think there has ever been one where we have not visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Even with all of our past visits, we are never disappointed and always left in awe. The kids love everything about the aquarium from the penguins who playfully play in the water to the fish that look just like their favorite Disney fish, Nemo.
The wonderful thing about the Monterey Bay Aquarium is that its so much more than sea-life exhibits. They offer live interaction stations for children of all ages, a play area for toddlers and so much education about the harmful affects of plastic to the sea.
Dennis the Menace Park
This park is the coolest park I have ever been to in my thirty-something years of life and I’m not kidding when I tell you that my kids would have played for hours beyond hours there if we would have let them. There are endless amounts of slides, a huge bridge that kids love to run back and forth on and several different play areas to choose from. Trust me, if you are visiting Monterey with kids, this place is a must see! The best part? Its free!
Old Fisherman’s Wharf
I’ll be honest.. we sort of ended up here by accident. After our 2 hour fun of playing at the Dennis the Menace park, we were starved and ended up at Benihana’s. After our delicious dinner, we began to walk back to our car when we caught sight of the pier across the way. We figured we would go check it out quickly before leaving and I’m so glad we did! We caught sight of the cutest sea otters playfully climbing on row boats (watch for the green row boat in the video below) and the kids thought it was the funniest thing. I’d take them back every day if I could just to hear those giggles!
A few tips!
- If you are visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium in the morning and are looking for a delicious breakfast before you go, you’ll want to check out First Awakenings Diner. Its about a block or two from the aquarium and oh so delicious. I highly recommend the carnita’s scramble.
- There is a Starbucks on Cannery Row just pass Bubba Gumps (and across the street). Because, if you are like me, you can’t start any morning without coffee!
- Speaking of Bubba Gumps – check out their infamous photo op bench where you can sit with a box of chocolates and slide your feet into Bubba Gumps running shoes!
- Carmel is extremely dog friendly and most stores we passed or went into had signs letting you know that your fur friend is welcome.
- It is chilly!! We are from the Valley where our normal Spring time temperatures are already hitting close to 90. During our stay, we experienced 60 degree weather. Layers are essential and bringing extra layers for your kids wouldn’t be a bad idea.
Are you planning a visit to Monterey County in the near future or looking for any reason to make the trip?
Good luck to you all!!