About cara f
Lives in Capitola, California
Since Feb 2014
Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Points of Interest & Landmarks
Beaches, Nature & Wildlife Areas
Scuba & Snorkeling
Neighbourhoods, Piers & Boardwalks
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Other Food & Drink
Beaches, Nature & Wildlife Areas, State Parks, Hiking Trails
Nature & Wildlife Areas
Kayaking & Canoeing, Nature & Wildlife Tours
Winding along California's rugged coastline from Pacific Grove down to Pebble Beach, the famed 17-Mile Drive is the perfect introduction to the wonderful Monterey Bay area. It is called a 'drive,' but this area is also popular with cyclists. However you choose to traverse it, though, you'll be treated to crashing waves, opulent mansions, and myriad turnouts for photo ops and beach strolls. There is a 'per car' fee to enter any of the drive's five gates, but cyclists my cruise the route for free.
The Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail is a paved, multi-use, off-street trail that runs from Lover's Point in Pacific Grove through Monterey and all the way to Seaside in the south. It's a popular trail, and can accommodate everything from bikers and walkers to wheel chairs and strollers.
Adventures by the Sea rents out kayaks, bikes, and mulit-person surreys so that you can get out and Bikes are great for the Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, or you can put a kayak in right at Lovers Point.
This beach and park is popular with locals and visitors alike. It's got lots of grassy areas for picnics, and the small cove makes for some wonderful sunbathing or splashing in the surf. Since this little cove is protected from some of the bigger surf, it is also a good place to put your kayak in, or to take a shore dive.
Monterey has some excellent dive spots, but if you don't have the time or interest in diving, you can get your underwater experience at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. This acclaimed facility showcases many of the animals you would see while diving here, and there is also a wonderful outdoor area where you can enjoy views of the bay.
In 1908, Monterey's first cannery opened on Ocean View Avenue. Shortly thereafter, World War I started, and with it came a major demand for easy packaged foods, such as sardines. Though the area fell into decline after World War II, John Steinbeck's 1945 novel of the same name immortalized Cannery Row and its industrial heyday. Today the historic area is still bustling, but now with tourists shopping and eating out at the myriad establishments here. This is a good place to enjoy views of the bay, and to get a sense of the area's history.
San Carlos Beach and the Breakwater Cove are nestled at the end of Cannery Row, near the Coast Guard Wharf. Mostly enjoyed by locals, this public beach is a very popular place for barbecues and picnicking. Its broad expanse of grass opposite the sandy shoreline is a perfect place to lounge the day away. Breakwater cove is a great local dive sight, so you'll likely see a scuba class or two (depending on the weather).
Located right next to the Coast Guard Wharf at Breakwater Cove, Glenn's Dive shop is your one-stop shop for all diving (and snorkeling) needs. The shop offers a full line of rental equipment, as well as PADI certified training.
You can walk or bike the short distance from Cannery Row to the Old Fisherman's Wharf, and you'll be rewarded for the journey with some outstanding views of marine life. Here sea lions lounge in strange positions on the rocks, and you're also likely to spot pelicans, cormorants, and perhaps an otter or three. When you arrive at the Wharf, you'll also be greeted with an eclectic collection of funky shops, seafood eateries, and amusements.
Several types of whales migrate through Monterey Bay, making this a wonderful place to go whale watching in almost any month of the year. Depending on the time of the year (and luck), you might see Humpbacks, Grays, Blue's, Fins, and more. There are a variety of companies offering whale watching tours, most with experienced guides who can help you get the most from your experience.
Whether you're a serious fisherman or just looking for a fun experience, a fishing adventure is certain to add fun memories to your trip, especially when you spot whales, to boot. There are several fishing companies that will take you out and help you reel in the 'big one.' Depending on the season, that might be halibut, cod, salmon, crab, or squid.
Few things are finer than watching the sunset from a sailboat, beverage in hand. Sailing cruises offer fabulous sailing experiences, many with food included.
Converted from an old railway terminal (built in 1874), The Wharf Marketplace is a beautiful deli and market. Whether you're planning to hang at Monterey State Beach (just across the parking lot) are are venturing farther afield, this is a great place to grab a hot breakfast and pick up some picnic fixings.
If you have the time (and a car), make the trip seven miles south to Point Lobos. This Natural Reserve is considered the 'crown jewel' of the State Park system — for reasons that become obvious when you arrive. In addition to spectacular beauty and incredible ocean views, the park is home to many unique plant species. Folks come here to picnic, paint, and hike the more than a dozen trails. It's definitely one of the most scenic parks on the California coast.
Halfway (about 23 miles) between Monterey and Santa Cruz, you'll find the Elkhorn Slough Estuarine Reserve. The slough, a meandering waterway that supports many marine animals and birds, is very popular with kayakers. Visitors come here to relax in a rich and protected environment while watching the birds and other sea life.
Conveniently located at Elkhorn Slough, the Kayak Connection is ready to get you set up to enjoy your day at the Slough. The company rents kayaks and stand up paddle boards, and also offers instruction — a great way to get some expert field knowledge.