California has so many amazing destinations to offer. One of our favorite beach destinations in California is Monterey. Monterey offers so many things to do no matter if it is a trip with your significant other, a fun trip with some friends, or a trip with the whole family. This past weekend we took a road trip to Monterey and down highway 1 to see a bit of Big Sur. The beautiful coastline is some of my favorite in California. Plus, Monterey offers a ton of free and affordable attractions that are sure to keep everyone busy.
We typically always stay at our favorite hotel, El Castel. They offer a huge variety of rooms including a family suite. We like to book a hotel with a bedroom since it helps when traveling with kids and keeping to our bedtime routine. El Castel is in a great location and not to far from tons of beach access spots as well as other attractions in Monterey. We love relaxing but also love exploring. Here are our favorite things to do with our family when visiting Monterey.
Seaside State Beach
Seaside State Beach is just a few minutes North of Monterey. It offers free parking, easy access to the beach, and is absolutely beautiful! It is always clean and even has bathrooms. This was one of the first beaches we ever took our oldest so it is dear to my heart.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the most amazing aquariums I have ever visited. It recently reopened and although you do still need to wear masks and reserve a time to visit, it is open for the majority. We could’ve spent hours exploring and watching the fish. They also have some views of the bay. If you are traveling with kids, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is sure to be a huge hit.
Cannery Row offers waterfront shopping, restaurants, and hotels. During the day it offers a family friendly atmosphere with historic waterfront, convenient shopping and boutiques, unique coastal access, and attractions. At night it turns into exciting nightlife with luxurious hotels and restaurants.
Old Fisherman’s Warf
Old Fisherman’s Ward offers more than just views of ships. It is a great area to walk and also offers some great eateries. If you are looking for kayak rentals or to go whale watching, this is your place. When there, don’t forget to have some delicious clam chowder.
While in Monterey, I recommend spending a couple hours driving south along highway 1. Visit Bixby Bridge and some of the many beach access points. There are also some beautiful hikes and a stunning waterfall. Stop through Carmel-by-the-Sea and visit some fun local shops.
The views along 17 mile drive are amazing! Visit Pebble Beach and learn a bit of history along the way. Then visit the historic Pebble Beach Golf Course. There is a beautiful outdoor patio for dining or taking in the views. Don’t forget to check out the Lone Cypress before you finish!
Monterey offers so much to do no matter the time of the year. We love exploring new spots each time we visit the area. If you are planning a trip to Monterey, I hope it is memorable!