Looking for a place to go on a family vacation? The Monterey Peninsula is one of California’s best places to visit along the central coast where there’s abundant natural beauty, marine life, rugged coastline, beaches and plenty to do outdoors. We just returned from a one-week stay and our children loved the beach walks, exploring tidepools, whale watching, kayaking, visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, and taking a plunge into the hotel pool at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa.
Whether you’re traveling with friends or family, looking for adventure or romance, you’ll find a little bit of everything here! Sharing some favorite recommendations on where to go, stay & dine.
#1 Monterey – Cannery Row
The perfect place to start exploring Monterey is along Cannery Row where there are hotels, cafes, art galleries and shops lining the historic main street.
#2 Discover Monterey by Land & by Sea
- Adventures by the Sea: Adventures by the Sea is the premier recreational company on the Monterey Peninsula. For over 33 years, Adventures by the Sea has been providing visitors with kayak, bike rentals, and electric bike rentals and tours, family bike (or surrey) rentals, and stand-up paddle board rentals and lessons.
- Cycling along the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail: There’s a 29 mile recreation trail along the coast. Rent a bike and enjoy the vistas! Click here to reserve your rental.
Book a reservation with Monterey Bay Whale Watch and look for whales, dolphins and seals. Humpback Whales, Blue Whales, Orcas, Dolphins are often sighted between April – December, and Gray Whales, Dolphins can be seen January – March. Our children loved learning how to look for the whales and were thrilled when they saw the spouts of Humpback and Blue Whales.
#4 Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf
Visit the wharf where you’ll find shops, restaurants and outdoor cafes where you can try some fish & chips or the catch of the day.
A simple must for any California Vacation! The beaches are very accessible throughout the Monterey Peninsula and there are excellent trails for walking, running and beach combing. Great place for beach combing and checking out tide pools. Visitors are amazed by the natural beauty of the coast lined with cypress trees, wild flowers and craggy rocks.
#6 Monterey Bay Aquarium
Across from the Spindrift Inn, is The Monterey Bay Aquarium Education Center (referred to as the Bechtel Education Center), offers free education programs that has served 90,000 schoolchildren, 400 teens and 1,400 teachers. Since March, they have launched a “Learning at Home” section that has received over 160,000 page views and over 20,000 enrollments in new digital learning programs.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium just reopened and it’s a definite must for families of all ages! It’s one of the top aquariums in the world where children and adults can see marine life at its finest – jelly fish, star fish, sharks, otters, seals and a giant kelp forest.
There are interactive exhibits, as well as excellent education and conservation programs that support the marine environment. Check out one of these initiatives called Seafood Watch to support a healthy ocean, and learn more about sustainable seafood, responsibly caught and farmed choices on menus when dining out.
STAY & DINE
There are a range of places to stay and dine throughout the Monterey Peninsula. We kept things simple and dined mostly at Pizza My Heart, Chipotles, and at in our hotel suite since we had a spacious suite with a dining room table and mini-fridge. We did some grocery runs and stocked up for breakfasts, picnic lunches and snacks. The hotel was our base and we all felt like it was our home for the week.
Located on the Del Monte Golf Course and nestled in the Monterey pines on 22 secluded acres. Located off Highway 1, this upscale modern hotel is 3 miles from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, 2 miles from Monterey Regional Airport and 7 miles from Carmel River State Beach, just minutes from the scenic wonders of the Central Coast.
We stayed in a spacious suite with a bedroom, living room and work area, that overlooked the pool, and found our accommodations to be comfortable.
It was the ideal place for our family to stay for a week and explore the Monterey Bay area.
Dine at the Tuscan restaurant Searoot or grab a drink/bite at the sports bar, relax in the lounge with a fireplace and jazz. There’s also a spa, a heated outdoor pool and a gym. The hotel shuttle offers complimentary transfers to/from the Monterey Airport.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Global Adventuress thanks those mentioned in this article for hosting us during our stay.