Top Things to do In Monterey, CA


Top Things to do In Monterey, CA

Monterey, CA is a scenic coastal city and county that is located on the southern coast of the Monterey Bay.

With such an inviting vacation destination this beautiful coastal city has lots of things to do. Some of the most popular attractions are Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row and The Monterey Bay Aquarium, it may be difficult to choose what to do while visiting this lovely area. 

Come explore our amazing coastline with its natural beauty and abundant wildlife! You’ll find something for everyone in our seaside community – from world-class golf courses to surfing beaches, historic landmarks to shopping centers. And don’t forget about all those delicious seafood restaurants! We have so much more than just great food here; we’re also home to some of California’s best wineries and breweries. 

Top Things to do In Monterey, CA

Visit us any time of year, and book in advance for great hotels and dining. 

1. Explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the most popular tourist destinations in California. It features a world-class collection of aquatic life, including more than 50,000 sea animals and plants representing 800 species on display. Along with interactive exhibits showcasing some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures, visitors can enjoy daily presentations and feedings at The Outer Bay exhibit.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a leading marine life research organization, and the Outer Bay Exhibit is one of their most popular attractions. The exhibit offers visitors an up-close look at the diverse wildlife found in the region’s stunning coastal waters. The Aquarium was founded in 1984 and features thousands of animals from around the world including fish, sharks and rays, octopuses, sea otters, birds and invertebrates like jellyfish and giant clams. This is a great place to visit no matter your age and is open year round.


Please check for times and potential closures due to COVID-19.

2. Walk on the beach

Monterey is known for its beautiful beaches and scenic views. It has a population of just over 40,000 people who are all ready to welcome visitors with open arms. It has many beach areas, and one of the most popular ones is Monterey State Beach. Monterey State Beach is one of the most popular destinations in Monterey County.

It’s a great place to come for a day trip, picnic, or just to enjoy the scenery. This stretch of seagrass and sand can be found between 17th Street and 32nd Street on Hwy 1. The water is clear and cool, perfect for swimming or boogie boarding with waves that are gentle enough for any level of experience.

The beach offers parking lots as well as street parking along Pacific Grove Drive which provides easy access from Highway 1. There are also restrooms with running water at this location so you can freshen up before going back out into the sun! The pier is also very famous as it has been featured in many movies and TV shows like Big Little Lies, Turner and Hooch, Baywatch, and many others.

The beaches here are vibrant and welcoming – to the restaurants to the outdoor markets, there are plenty of new things to experience every day while vacationing here. 

3. Visit Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s Wharf is an iconic spot in Monterey, CA. The wharf has many shops and restaurants to enjoy when visiting and travelers from all over the world are drawn to Monterey, California.

The beautiful coastline and charming downtown area attract tourists who want to experience a taste of American culture. While looking for places to eat while visiting Monterey, many visitors may be surprised when they see that many restaurants have a “locals menu” or “local favorites” section on their menus which has dishes that can only be found in the Monterey Bay Area.

There are plenty of things to do here on the wharf as a family or as a single person. The Fisherman’s Wharf Theater hosts the best musicals in town and they are fun for all ages providing a lot of entertainment. You can go on the boat tour and see the sea lions up close! There are also many other activities like dining in local restaurants or taking a walk along the beach with your loved one.

oceanfront on Fisherman's Wharf
  1. Fishing 
  2. Shop for Souvenirs
  3. Whale Watching
  4. Tasty Handmade Confections
  5. Live Theatre
  6. Eat Clam Chowder 
  7. Sailing
  8. Enjoy Watching the Sea Life
  9. Get A Caricature Drawn
  10. Take in the Views

4. Shop at Old Town Monterey

Old Town Monterey is a favorite destination for tourists who want to experience the rich history and picturesque beauty of California. There are many things to do here, but shopping is one of the most popular activities!

With numerous boutiques, you can find something perfect whether you’re looking for an outfit or souvenir from your trip. There are way too many places to list in this article and we will write one just for the store in the future but for now you could find all the shopping places here.

5. Shop for souvenirs on Cannery Row 

Every year, thousands of tourists come to Monterey for vacation and a chance to visit the famous Cannery Row. You may not know it yet but this place was made famous by John Steinbeck in his classic, “Cannery Row”. The book tells the story of Mack and Lee that are living on a street lined with sardine canneries and their day-to-day lives.

Cannery Row is now the perfect place to buy your souvenirs for everyone left behind at home. With plenty of shopping options and many locally owned stores, you’re sure to find something for everyone! It’s no longer the bustling place of sardine canneries it once was but you could still find remnants from the past all over the row. There are plenty of shops and restaurants and here you’ll find a detailed list of them all. 

6. Visit historic Point Pinos Lighthouse and Museum of Natural History 

The Point Pinos Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse which was built in 1855 and has been standing guard at the head of Monterey Bay ever since. The site includes a museum of natural history, open to visitors for just $5 on weekdays or $8 on weekends; you can also purchase tickets that include access to both the lighthouse and museum for just $10.

The Monterey Museum of Natural History is a museum that has been open for over 30 years. This museum offers many different permanent and temporary exhibits, including one on the natural history of California. The Museum also hosts lectures, workshops and other events to engage visitors with the natural world around them.

7. Take in views of Monterey Bay from Lover’s Point Park or Del Monte Beach

California is known for its beautiful beaches and scenic parks. One of the most popular spots in Monterey, CA is Lover’s Point Park. At the top of Lover’s Point, you can sit on one of the benches and watch for whales or seals while enjoying some spectacular views. The park is also a great place to take photos.


Del Monte Beach is about two miles north of the city’s downtown, this huge beach offers visitors ample space for recreation and relaxation. The sand at Del Monte Beach stretches on for more than three miles along the coast with no high-rise buildings or other structures blocking your view of the horizon or natural beauty around you.

8. Pebble Beach Golf Course

The Pebble Beach Golf Course is the most famous golf course in the world. It’s home to a number of PGA Championships and US Open tournaments. The 18 hole, par 72 course was designed by Jack Neville and Douglas Grant and opened on February 22, 1919. Now it has been redesigned by architect Gil Hanse with some help from Tiger Woods himself.

The coast of Carmel Bay runs through the back nine holes of Pebble Beach Golf Course which has earned it the nickname “coastal golf.” This is one place you’ll want to book in advance if you plan on playing here. 


With so much to offer it’s no wonder why people are flocking here from all over the world! If you’re looking for a new place to visit then this might be just what you’ve been searching for! 

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