Monterey Guide – What To Do + Where To Stay & Eat!


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Monterey was the next stop on our US West Coast road trip after our white Christmas at Yosemite, before we commenced driving down the spectacular Pacific Coast Highway to Pismo Beach. In hindsight, we would have loved another night to explore even more of Monterey!

Located north of Big Sur, this pretty coastal town is a popular stop for families travelling down the coast from San Francisco, or up from Los Angeles. Monterey has a range of attractions, delicious local food, a variety of accommodation options and scenic views. So whether you are the adventurous, outdoorsy type or a history buff, there are plenty of fun attractions in Monterey for the whole family to enjoy.

Things to Do in Monterey

Monterey Bay Aquarium – attracting over 1 million visitors annually, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is home to a range of exhibits and sea life of the California coast. Get up close to sharks, jellyfish and sea otters, and make sure you catch one of the daily animal feedings.

Stroll down Cannery Row – this historic area was once the heart of Monterey’s sardine canning industry. Today it is bustling with cafes, restaurants and unique gift stores.

Take a drive – the scenic 17-Mile Drive starts near Monterey and winds along the coastline, passing beautiful beaches and dramatic coastal cliffs, towering forests and perfectly manicured golf courses. Don’t forget to take a photo with the iconic Lone Pine!

Explore the beaches – Monterey and the surrounding area are home to an array of beautiful beaches, such as Pebble Beach and Carmel Beach. Asilomar State Beach stretches from Del Monte Forest to Point Pinos and features over 100 acres of beaches, dunes and tidal pools that are just begging to be explored.

Wildlife spotting – head on down to Fisherman’s Wharf or the breakwater near Cannery Row to spot sea otters, harbour seals and Californian sea lions. Inland is the beautiful Pinnacles National Park, where visitors spot wildlife – including the rare California Condor! – while hiking the incredible mountain trails. Otherwise, head up to Carmel Valley for even more scenic hiking options.

Where to Stay in Monterey

For our trip, we stayed at Holiday Inn Express Monterey – Cannery Row. Our family room was comfortable, and breakfast was included in our booking. The hotel is located one street back from Cannery Row and is an easy walk to restaurants, the Aquarium, and Fisherman’s Wharf. Click here for the latest prices and availability for the Holiday Inn Express Monterey – Cannery Row.

Alternative Monterey accommodation options:

Where To Eat In Monterey

Due to its coastal location, Monterey is renown for its delicious local seafood! Cannery Row is the perfect place to wander around and sample the range of clam chowders available. For delicious family-friendly meals, attentive staff and ocean-views as you dine, we highly recommend Louie Linguini’s.

Recommended Tours & Activities in Monterey

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