5 Fun Things to Do in Monterey California – Must-Do List!

fun things to do in monterey california

Greetings! I’m thrilled to share with you my must-do list of the top fun things to do in Monterey California. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, Monterey has something for everyone.

One of the highlights of Monterey is exploring the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Known for its fairy tale cottages and upscale restaurants, this seaside village exudes quaint charm. Take a leisurely stroll along the walkable side streets, discover hidden courtyards, and indulge in shopping and dining on Ocean Avenue.

For nature lovers, a visit to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a must. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the reserve as you hike along scenic trails, marvel at the dramatic rock formations, and spot adorable sea otters. The Cypress Grove Trail offers breathtaking views of the coast and unique Monterey cypress trees.

No visit to Monterey is complete without experiencing the wonders of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Home to a diverse collection of marine life, including sea turtles, sharks, and penguins, this world-renowned attraction offers interactive activities and educational tours.

History buffs will enjoy stepping back in time on Historic Cannery Row, once the heart of Monterey’s sardine industry. Explore the historic buildings, now housing restaurants and shops, and discover the storied past of this vibrant waterfront district.

Lastly, don’t miss the thrill of whale watching in Monterey Bay. From gray whales to humpback whales, Monterey Bay is a prime location to witness these majestic creatures. Join a whale-watching tour for an up-close encounter and learn from knowledgeable guides about their behavior and habitat.

Fun Things to Do in Monterey California

  • Monterey, California offers a variety of fun activities and attractions.
  • Explore the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea for its quaint charm.
  • Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
  • Visit the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium to see a diverse range of marine life.
  • Discover the history of Monterey on Historic Cannery Row.
  • Experience the thrill of whale watching in Monterey Bay.

Plan your visit to Monterey and create unforgettable memories with these top fun activities. Get ready to embark on an adventure like no other!

Explore the Quaint Charm of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a picturesque seaside village located just south of Monterey. Known for its fairy tale cottages, designer stores, and upscale restaurants, this town offers plenty to see and do.

Take a leisurely stroll along the walkable side streets, discover hidden courtyards, and explore Ocean Avenue for shopping and dining. The town’s unique architecture and charming atmosphere make it a perfect destination for a relaxing getaway.

If you’re a food enthusiast, don’t miss out on the popular food tour in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the town’s history and culinary scene while indulging in delicious local dishes.

Whether you’re an art lover, a beach-goer, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Carmel-by-the-Sea has something for everyone. Explore the numerous art galleries, relax on the pristine white sandy beaches, or take a scenic drive along the breathtaking coastline.

With its natural beauty and serene ambiance, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a must-visit destination for those seeking a truly enchanting experience.

  • Quaint fairy tale cottages
  • Designer stores and upscale restaurants
  • Walkable streets and hidden courtyards
  • Ocean Avenue for shopping and dining
  • Popular food tour to discover the town’s history and culinary scene

Immerse Yourself in Natural Beauty at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

South of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you’ll find Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, a must-visit destination for nature lovers. This stunning reserve offers a captivating experience, showcasing the mesmerizing beauty of the coastal landscape.

point lobos state natural reserve

Marvel at Dramatic Rock Formations

As you explore Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, be prepared to be awe-inspired by the dramatic rock formations that adorn the coastline. These unique formations have been sculpted by the relentless force of the ocean waves, creating a striking and picturesque backdrop for your adventure.

Spot Adorable Sea Otters and Pocket Gophers

Wildlife enthusiasts will be delighted to discover that Point Lobos is also home to a diverse range of animals. Keep your eyes peeled for adorable sea otters as they frolic in the water, or catch a glimpse of the elusive pocket gophers scurrying about in their natural habitat.

Embark on Scenic Hikes

For those seeking outdoor activities, Point Lobos offers a myriad of scenic hiking trails. Lace up your hiking boots and immerse yourself in the tranquility of nature as you traverse these picturesque paths. The trails offer breathtaking views of the coast, allowing you to soak in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

The Cypress Grove Trail

The Cypress Grove Trail is a must-visit attraction within the reserve. This trail takes you on a journey through a grove of unique Monterey cypress trees, known for their distinctive shape and resilience against the strong coastal winds. As you wander along this path, you’ll witness the ethereal charm of these majestic trees and enjoy sweeping views of the coastline.

Underwater Exploration

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve also caters to diving enthusiasts. The reserve features diving coves where you can immerse yourself in the underwater wonderland of kelp forests and colorful coral reefs. Dive into the depths and discover the vibrant and diverse marine life that calls this reserve home.

Plan your visit to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve and allow yourself to be enchanted by the natural wonders that await you. This coastal gem promises an unforgettable experience where you can reconnect with nature and create cherished memories.

Discover the Wonders of Monterey Bay Aquarium

In the heart of Monterey, California, lies a captivating attraction that draws thousands of visitors each year – the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As one of the world’s most renowned aquariums, it offers an extraordinary experience for both young and old alike.

Step into a world of underwater enchantment as you explore over 200 exhibits showcasing a diverse array of marine life. Marvel at the graceful movements of sea turtles, gaze in awe at the majestic sharks, and watch playful penguins dive and swim through the water. The Monterey Bay Aquarium truly brings the wonders of the ocean to life.

One of the highlights of visiting the aquarium is the opportunity to engage in interactive activities and tours. Get up close to fascinating sea creatures during feeding times, and learn about their behaviors and habitats from knowledgeable guides. It’s an educational and immersive experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the magnificent creatures that inhabit our oceans.

Aquarium Programs and Conservation Efforts

  • Participate in guided tours led by marine experts to gain deeper insights into the aquarium’s exhibits and conservation initiatives.
  • Discover the efforts being made by the aquarium to protect and preserve marine life through research, rescue, and rehabilitation.
  • Learn about the impact of plastic pollution on our oceans and the steps you can take to make a positive change.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium also offers a variety of specialty exhibits and hands-on experiences that cater to different interests. From jellies and otters to seahorses and coral reefs, there’s always something new and captivating to explore.

While admission fees may be higher compared to other attractions, many visitors consider the experience at the Monterey Bay Aquarium well worth the price. The chance to witness the beauty and diversity of marine life up close and personal is truly unmatched.

  1. Don’t forget to check for special events and activities happening during your visit to make the most of your aquarium experience.
  2. Plan your visit ahead of time to avoid long lines and make sure to allocate enough time to fully immerse yourself in the wonders of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Whether you’re a marine enthusiast, a family looking for an educational adventure, or simply someone who appreciates the beauty of the ocean, a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must when exploring the tourist spots of Monterey, California.

Step Back in Time on Historic Cannery Row

Cannery Row is a historic waterfront district in Monterey that was once the heart of the city’s sardine industry. Today, it is a vibrant tourist destination with a mix of old and new. Explore the historic buildings that now house restaurants and shops, and immerse yourself in the area’s storied past. Don’t miss the Cannery Row Monument on Steinbeck Plaza, a tribute to the notable characters associated with the district.

cannery row monterey california
  • Experience the rich history of Monterey’s sardine industry
  • Explore the charming waterfront district
  • Visit the preserved buildings that showcase the area’s past

Immerse Yourself

  • Stroll along the coastal promenade and enjoy scenic views
  • Indulge in delicious seafood delicacies at the waterfront restaurants
  • Shop for unique souvenirs and local crafts in the boutique shops

Pay Tribute at the Cannery Row Monument

  • Learn about the notable characters from John Steinbeck’s novel
  • Take a moment to reflect on the district’s cultural significance
  • Capture memorable photos with the monument as a backdrop

Experience the Thrill of Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay is regarded as one of the best places in the world for whale watching. From January to April, you can witness the migration of gray whales along the coast. In the summer, humpback whales can be seen near the shoreline, and in the fall, blue whales can be spotted near Point Pinos. Join a whale-watching tour to get up close to these magnificent creatures and learn from knowledgeable guides about their behavior and habitat.

Get Up Close to Magnificent Whales

Embarking on a whale-watching tour in Monterey Bay is an unforgettable experience. As you sail across the pristine waters, keep your eyes peeled for the majestic gray whales during their annual migration. These incredible creatures swim thousands of miles from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to the warm waters of Baja California, creating a spectacular display of nature’s wonders.

During the summer months, humpback whales frequent the bay, breaching and slapping their tails against the water’s surface. Their acrobatic displays will leave you in awe. And if you visit in the fall, you may be lucky enough to spot the massive blue whales, the largest animals on Earth.

Learn from Knowledgeable Guides

Whale-watching tours in Monterey Bay are led by experienced guides who are passionate about marine conservation and the protection of these incredible creatures. They will provide detailed insights into the behavior and habitat of the whales, enhancing your appreciation for the importance of preserving our marine ecosystems.

Outdoor Adventure in the Heart of California

Whale watching in Monterey Bay is just one of the many outdoor activities that this region offers. Whether you’re seeking thrilling kayaking adventures, scenic hiking trails, or exploring the pristine beaches, Monterey, California is a paradise for nature enthusiasts. Take advantage of the picturesque coastal landscape and discover the diverse flora and fauna of the area.

  • Experience the thrill of whale watching in Monterey Bay
  • Explore the stunning nature reserves and state parks
  • Enjoy a variety of water activities, from kayaking to paddleboarding
  • Take a leisurely bike ride along the scenic coastal paths

Make the most of your visit to Monterey, California by immersing yourself in its natural beauty and experiencing the thrill of whale watching in its pristine waters.


Monterey, California is a treasure trove of exciting activities and attractions that cater to all age groups. Whether you’re strolling through the charming streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea, marveling at the wonders of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or embarking on an unforgettable whale-watching adventure, your time in this coastal paradise will be brimming with unforgettable moments and cherished memories.

From shopping and dining in the upscale boutiques and restaurants of Carmel-by-the-Sea to immersing yourself in the mesmerizing underwater world at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, there is no shortage of fun things to do in Monterey, California. This captivating destination has something for everyone, ensuring that every visitor will find activities and attractions that suit their interests and preferences.

Make the most of your visit to Monterey by planning ahead and exploring the vast array of activities and attractions available. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or family-friendly entertainment, Monterey has it all. Pack your itinerary with visits to the stunning Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, a journey back in time on historic Cannery Row, and the thrill of spotting majestic whales in their natural habitat.

With its perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural richness, and captivating attractions, Monterey, California invites you to create lasting memories that will linger in your heart long after your visit. So, pack your bags, gather your loved ones, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in this enchanting coastal haven.