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Monterey CA Field Trip with 3 kids

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DH, twins (boys 13 yrs) DD (8 yrs) and I will be visiting Monterey CA April 12-16. We will get into CA in the late afternoon on Monday and leave early Friday. The aquarium is on our must do list but what else would you suggest.


Karen :bigear:

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I love the Monterey Bay Aquarium!!! Cannery Row is fun. There's a great double carousel for kids. There's a great candy shop on Cannery Row too! Fisherman's Wharf usually has a bunch of seals hanging around that are fun to watch.


I would also venture over to Santa Cruz which if I recall correctly may be about an hours drive from Monterey. Santa Cruz has the boardwalk.


San Jose is about 2 hours from Monterey and there is the Children's Discovery Museum and the Winchester Mystery House.

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Visit Cannery Row (next to the Aquarium).

Visit Pacific Grove-Pebble Beach-Carmel via the 17 mile Drive.

Walk around downtown Carmel and down to the beach.

Go to the Mission Ranch in southern Carmel for a Drink.

Visit the Carmel Mission (next to the Mission Ranch).

See Tor House, poet Robinson Jeffers' home in Carmel.

Explore Point Lobos south of Carmel.

Drive down to Big Sur.

Drive North for a day-trip to Santa Cruz.

Rent a kayak for an outing on the Elkhorn Slough.

Stop for lunch in Moss Landing.


A few ideas.



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Dh suggestions: Kayaking. 17 Mile Drive might be nice (fee). Or just driving to Big Sur and back. Hearst Castle might be do-able. I think there's an IMAX where Edgewater was (although you can do that anywhere nowadays).


We lived in Monterey for high school. Dh's family was there from age 5 on. His brothers still are there.


The Monterey Aquarium had a great white when Dh was visiting last year. I'm envious about that.


He went kayaking in the bay and had a sea otter climb onto his kayak. You are warned to stay away from them, but this one came after him. (He was petrified about it knocking the kayak over and would have preferred it stay away, but it became one of the neatest stories. :D)



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Oooh, one of our favorite spots. When you're done, drive out to Pacific Grove/Asilomar, pull over and play on the rocks for a while. I love just sitting on the rocks and watching the ocean. Cannery Row is fun and interesting. Gotta get some clam chowder in a sour dough bowl. A harbor cruise is always fun. There's so much to do and the weather is always great.

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We lived in Pacific Grove for 5 years and just went back for a visit this past month. If you can find someone with a guest pass to the aquarium, use it! The price is otherwise very expensive. You might even consider buying a membership (I think it's tax deductible). Also, if you enjoy walking, I suggest you park along the rec trail/bike path in Pacific Grove to avoid parking expenses and issues around the aquarium. Plus, just walking along the coast is really wonderful.


If you can make a trip down to Big Sur on Hwy 1, you'll see the most amazing stretch of road ever.


It's worth reading Cannery Row or some other Steinbeck before you go.


Don't be like the other tourists -- be prepared to wear layers -- wear long pants and bring a sweater! Whether it's January or July, it'll always be in the low 60's with some morning fog that burns off.

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Ohhh! I so want to get to Monterey again. Dh & I went last year for a weekend. Two years ago, just myself and 3 kids went as a field trip with our homeschool group.


I loved the suggestions from the other posters. Some of them have the advantage of being former residents.


My ds enjoyed whale watching while the rest of us went to the aquarium. (Speaking of the aquarium, you will want to spend several hours there. You might want to visit their website first to see which shows you would like to watch. They also have 3 gift/book shops and a wonderful hand's-on kids area.) You can find the whale watching on Fisherman's Wharf. You really won't want to miss the wharf. There is a neat little museum on the Wharf (free), a guided walking tour, restaurants, shopping and more.


We also found a huge park with all kinds of equipment to climb on. Even the teenagers enjoyed it. It is in Monterey somewhat near the base.


If you find you need "supplies" there is a mall with a Rite Aid near "motel row" where the locals shop. We also found a charming restaurant (fairly inexpensive) in pacific Grove. The community of Pacific Grove borders the Aquarium.. It is downtown on a corner and looks like a cafe. Seems like it has a red and white awning. It serves a variety of foreign and American food. Much of the parking near the beaches in Pacific Grove is free. We most enjoyed the beach areas heading away from the Aquarium.


Across the street from the Aquarium is a large souvenir shop (fairly reasonably priced) called Trader Jack's (or something like that).


In the past few years, two unique hands-on kids museums have come about. If I can still find the flyers, I will email you. They were fairly inexpensive - one was more designed for kids, the other for teens.


Monterey and the surrounding areas have so very much to offer. I think it is one of California's most beautiful places to be and hopefully we can visit this spring. I hope you and your family have a truly wonderful time!

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Monterey-Carmel area is full of wonderful (and expensive) restaurants.


But if you are in the mood for wonderful Oaxaqueño (Mexican) food there is a little hole-in-the-wall place in Seaside that even few local know about. It is called "La Tortuga." Very inexpensive. As spartan a restaurant as you can imagine, but it's clean and the the food is delicious. And very regional.


It's not the "obvious" choice, but if you are adventurous eaters then mmmmmmm.


La Tortuga

1257 Fremont Blvd, Seaside, CA 93955

(831) 394-8320

Edited by Spy Car
cause snickerdoodle keeps me honest
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