#1 Check out the Beauty of Big Sur
Just a quick hour south of Monterey, where the Santa Lucia Mountains kiss the coast, you will find the Big Sur, home to some of the most stunning and unique views in California. Part of the famous Pacific Coast Highway Drive, Big Sur bridges Southern California to the North.
#2 Drive the Coast through Pacific Grove
Although the famous 17 Mile Drive is beautiful, part of it is inland, so I say skip the $10 fee and drive Highway 1 through the Pacific Grove Coastline. There are multiple areas you can pull off to enjoy the different viewpoints as well as watch the surfers try their luck.
Made famous by Pebble Beach Golf Course, Carmel Beach is a quaint, fair tale town with beautiful white sand beaches, wine tasting, boutiques, and great guesthouses.
#4 Have a Picnic at Lovers Point
There is something special about Lovers Point Beach, maybe it’s the name or the almost Grecian style beach, either way, it’s my favorite spot to have a picnic. Opt for the grassy upper level or the white sand beach, either one makes for a relaxing, beautiful day.
#5 Go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium
Although tickets price is slightly high ($40 for adults, $35 for students, children $25), no trip to Monterey is complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Visit http://www.montereybayaquarium.org for information as well as discount/free admission days. Also, some hotels, such as my favorite, Lovers Point Inn, offer a 2-day pass for the price of 1.
Cannery Row, made famous by author John Steinbeck’s novel, is the perfect mix of old and new. With fabulous dining, great shopping, and quaint pubs, Cannery Row has something for everyone. Balanced Backper Tip* Skip the Seafood, (that’s for later, as featured below), and head to Papa Chevo’s Mexican food. Because of the close proximity to the agricultural valley of Salinas, there is large population of Mexicans, making for some delicious and cheap Mexican food. Try my favorite, the Chile Relleno burrito, $5!
#7 Eat Your Fill in Free Clam Chowder at Fishermans Warf
You heard, me free! No need to buy a bowl when there are free samples of clam chowder all up and down the warf. Each restaurant gives it their own twist, some creamy, some cheesy, some even in a red sauce. After 10-15 different samples, I love to grab some $1 oysters and $3 beers at Abalonetti Seafood to really do it right. To get there, head to the end of the warf, it’s the turquoise restaurant on the left, enjoy!
#8 Take a dip at Marina State Beach
Marina State beach has great vibe, with lots of local college kids and surfers. It’s a great place to take a swim (if its warm enough), or just admire the sand dunes surrounding the beach. To get a real local feel, head out early in the morning for some coffee and watch the surfing.
#9 Eat some Amazing Food at The Whole Enchilada Marketplace
On the other end of the bay, in what is known as Moss Landing, you will find The Whole Enchilada Marketplace, just follow the roadside signs for advertising cheap avocados and artichokes. There is a great outdoor market if you want to pick up some produce, or head inside to their amazing deli and wine/beer bar. For $10 or less you can get a quality sandwich and a beer!
#10 Explore Capitola and Santa Cruz
Capitola and its sister city of Santa Cruz are known for their laidback style, skate/surf sports, and hippy vibe. Artists, students, homeless, musicians, and surfers are just a few of the unique population that call this area home.
Here is a map with the corresponding activities
#1 Big Sur
#2 Pacific Grove Drive
#4 Picnic at Lovers Point
#5 Monterey Bay Aquarium
#6 Cannery Row
#7 Fishermans Warf, Delicous Free & Cheap Food
#8 Marina State Beach
#9 Whole Enchilada Market
#10 Santa Cruz and Capitola