Now is the perfect time to getaway to Monterey and experience the beautiful coastline, thriving marine life, and wonderful activities. Winter in Monterey is a great opportunity to enjoy fewer crowds, while still enjoying beautiful days with moderate temperatures. Whether you're here for a week long vacation or a quick getaway, we've put together a list of 10 things you won't want to miss.
1. Stroll along Cannery Row
Historic Cannery Row in Monterey fronts the beautiful Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Cannery Row features delightful restaurants, art galleries, boutiques, souvenir shops, and attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Cannery Row was made famous by local author John Steinbeck in his book titled Cannery Row. Monterey was once the sardine capital of the world and Cannery Row is where much of the industry’s canning production took place.
2. Drive Along 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach
Take a trip down the world famous 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach. Fall is the best time to enjoy the stunning coastal landmark road which runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach as it curves along the dramatic Pacific coastline and into the magnificent Del Monte Forest. The amazing vistas and legendary stopping points along the way will offer plenty of opportunities for photographic moments and inspiration.
The Lone Cypress, which has been perched on its rocky point for over 250 years, is a sight that shouldn’t be missed. You’ll also pass by the majestic fairways of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Course, along with Spyglass Hill and Spanish Bay.
3. Rent Bikes and Cruise Along the Recreation Trail
Our beautiful coastline just begs to be biked and can easily be done along Monterey’s Recreational Trail. Bikes can be rented from our hotels or from a number of Adventures by the Sea locations in downtown Monterey and on Cannery Row.
4. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
A trip to Monterey wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Monterey has such a rich marine life in the Monterey Bay and there is so much to experience with a visit to the aquarium. With close to 200 exhibits, it can easily take up an entire day and is fun for the whole family. Learn more about how to make the most of your next visit to the aquarium here.
5. Hike Point Lobos
Point Lobos State Reserve offers visitors to Monterey County a special opportunity to experience nature's diversity on the California coast. Dramatic land and seascapes provide exceptional photo opportunities, while a well-maintained trail system guides visitors past interesting plant and wildlife habitats, archeological sites, and beautiful picnic areas. A variety of walking trails provide access to Moss Cove, Sea Lion Point, and Whaler’s Cove. A camera with a fully charged battery is a must for this visit as you will want to take plenty of photographs of the gorgeous scenery. The park is open from 8AM to 5PM daily. Trail maps are available at the park entrance.
6. Dine at Estéban Restaurant
Located in the historic Casa Munras Garden Hotel & Spa, Estéban Restaurant is the heart of authentic Monterey dining, offering a unique culinary experience. Serving traditional Spanish-inspired cuisine with a pinch of adventure, Estéban Restaurant features Mediterranean tapas and classic selections to savor and share the warmth of the fireplace or in the relaxing outdoor patio setting. This warm and inviting dining destination carries on the Munras family tradition of culinary hospitality and excellence. Open daily for dinner starting at 5pm and breakfast from 7am-10am Monday through Friday and 7am-11am Saturday and Sunday.
7. Go Whale Watching
If time permits during your stay, a whale watching trip on Monterey Bay is an ideal experience for a trip to Monterey. Monterey Bay Whale Watch offers two trips daily and depending on the time of year you go, they can be between 3-5 hours. This season viewers have been fortunate enough to catch humpback whales, orcas, dolphins and sea lions.
8. Go Wine Tasting
Monterey County is among the chief wine producing regions of California and has more grapes grown per square acre than Napa Valley. At A Taste of Monterey located on Cannery Row, wine lovers can sample local wines in a beautiful tasting room overlooking Monterey Bay. This noteworthy tasting room overlooking Monterey Bay features more than 70 local wines available by the glass, bottle, or in flights. Private tastings are available for groups or special events. A Taste of Monterey also features a gift shop with gourmet food items, wine accessories, and Monterey souvenirs.
9. Visit McAbee Beach and Go Kayaking
Monterey is the epicenter of fun outdoor activities. McAbee Beach, located steps outside the Spindrift Inn, is a great place to hang out and launch your kayak to explore the bay. The Monterey Bay just begs to be explored and brings out the kayaker in all of us. Adventures by the Sea makes it easy with rental locations along Cannery Row and in downtown Monterey.
10. Get Out on the Links
Fore! Get out on the links and play golf along the scenic coast. Enjoy welcoming accommodations and golf on several of Monterey's acclaimed local golf courses. No matter your skill level, there is a course for everyone from the links around the Monterey peninsula to the stunning courses at Pebble Beach!