Travel Guide: Monterey

Image via: www.moon.com

From its Redwood-covered hillsides to its immaculate shoreline, and let’s not forget the world-famous aquarium, the Monterey Bay area is the perfect destination for an impromptu weekend getaway. While its unmistakable natural beauty is at the heart of Monterey’s charm, the exceptional California cuisine, vast history, and small-town vibes are what draws thousands of visitors to this alluring waterfront community each year. So pack your backpack with a fleece, best hiking shoes, your camera and a bottle of Lost Republic whiskey for a weekend adventure in one of the coolest little towns this side of the Mississippi!

Things To Do in Monterey

Here are the facts: Monterey Bay boasts the world’s third-largest marine sanctuary, home to otters, whales, sea lions, and other aquatic animals. The region also possesses nearly thirty state parks, beaches, and preserves – all ideal places for walking, jogging, biking, and hiking. Therefore, with the diverse landscape and unique offerings, chances are slim that you won’t be able to find something that appeals to your own interests.

A trip to the Monterey Bay wouldn’t be complete without taking a stroll down Cannery Row. This waterfront street skirting a mile of breathtaking coastline was made famous by author John Steinbeck. In his 1945 novel Cannery Row, he canonized a community of rough working people. This historic street was once bustling with sardine canneries producing approximately 200,000 tons of fish a year. However, during the mid-1940s, the sardines disappeared, forcing the canneries to close. Today, the tin-roof canneries that were once the lifesource of the small waterfront town’s economy have been converted into stylish inns, upscale shops, trendy restaurants, wine tasting rooms, and art galleries. For a taste of Monterey’s unique culture, spend a day on Cannery Row and absorb the location’s rich history.

Image via: www.seemonterey.com

After a day spent meandering Cannery Row, we suggest spending a day on the water to take in the extraordinary marine life of the region. Rent a kayak from Monterey Bay Kayaks and watch seals sunbathing, sea otters feeding, or sea lions swimming right under your boat. You can paddle around the calm harbor and Fisherman’s Wharf or adventure around Cannery Row’s kelp forests. Or you could take advantage of the seasonal fishing on a fishing trip with Randy’s Whale Watching and Fishing Trips. Crab, Rock cod, Sand dabs, and Mackerel are all in season through March. All the more reason to book a trip now so you don’t miss out!

Dining in Monterey

The unique landscape of the Monterey Bay area provides an abundance of fresh produce, savory seafood and meats, and excellent wines. It’s no surprise that the area hosts over 300 culinary events each year. Master chefs flock to the waterfront town to take advantage of this bounty to create fresh, California fare. For a casual lunch or dinner, head on over to Carpo’s. This casual counter is a local favorite predominantly serving seafood but also offers burgers, salads, and steaks. Popular items include the calamari, prawns, seafood kebabs, fish and chips, and homemade olallieberry pie. But don’t leave without getting a basket of battered snapper!

For dinner, we recommend getting a table on the heated outdoor patio at the Beach House. This American-style restaurant is perched on a bluff overlooking Lovers Point Beach, producing gorgeous ocean views. Sip on exquisite cocktails and fine California wines while tasting traditional California cuisine. Order the oysters Rockefeller on ciabatta crostini or the bacon-wrapped meatloaf. You won’t be disappointed.

Lodging in Monterey

Accommodations in Monterey Bay range from practical motels to chic luxury hotels, but they all have one thing in common: they all embrace Monterey’s eclectic culture and history. Perhaps one of the coolest little B&B’s in town is the Old Monterey Inn. This three-story manor house comes with a bit of history, which is why we love it so much. The inn was actually home to Monterey’s first mayor before being transformed into one of the city’s most popular places to stay. Set off by lush gardens and surrounded by a rippling creek, the quaint inn is conveniently located within walking distance from downtown. The guestrooms are each individually decorated with local art and antiques and come equipped with fireplaces and featherbeds. Oh, and did we mention it’s pet-friendly?

Image via: www.oldmontereyinn.com

Another option is the Spindrift Inn – a boutique hotel on Cannery Row. Located near trendy shops, restaurants, bars, and galleries, the Spindrift Inn is the ultimate getaway to unwind, relax, and let loose. The hotel has beach access and a rooftop garden that overlooks the beautiful bay. Guestrooms are spacious with sitting areas, fireplaces, and hardwood floors. While oceanside rooms boast unparalleled views of the sea, some rooms have balconies over Cannery Row for guests to watch the hustle and bustle of tourists and locals alike down below!

We’re getting pretty convincing right? Whether you stay the entire weekend or opt for a day trip, the Monterey Bay area should definitely hold a top spot on your bucket list this year. Don’t forget a few bottles of your favorite California whiskey and you’ll be in store for an unforgettable weekend!