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Monterey, CA suggestions? Must-see or do?


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Read "Cannery Row" before you go--it's more or less true, and you can see Doc's original lab and sea life ponds just up the street from the Aquarium.

 

Driving the 17 Mile Drive is worthwhile--it's some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in the world.

 

Carmel has quaint and unique upscale little shops downtown, and it's just south of there.

 

Beyond that what are you interested in?  California missions abound in the area--my favorite is actually a bit of a drive away, in San Juan Bautista.  

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We were out there around Thanksgiving.

 

^Agree with taking the 17-mile drive. It's around $11 to do it, but if you eat lunch at Pebble Beach, they'll apply that toward your tab.

 

Carmel is a darling little town for shopping and dining. We stopped by at the end of our 17-mile drive and then returned the next day. There are wine tasting rooms there as well.

 

In Monterey, we ate at The Old Fisherman's Grotto for dinner - twice! Very good! We did not go whale-watching, but it's a popular thing to do. Not sure about the weather or what kind of whales are around (if any??) in February.

 

We also drove to Salinas to see the Steinbeck Center. We didn't spend much time in the town itself.

 

Driving down part of the PCH is pretty.

 

Enjoy your getaway!

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Monterey is so lovely! My family did 17-mile drive (it's a scenic drive you pay to enter), and I thought it was going to be sort of silly and touristy, but it was really beautiful. Incredible scenery, many places to pull over and explore, and at least one stop with tons of very loud sea lions. There are some beautiful wild beach options if you're willing to hike in a little bit. We went to Garrapatta beach, it's a little remote and there are no facilities, and the hike down isn't long but is probably best for folks with sturdy knees. It's really beautiful, and faces West if you want to watch the sunset. We had dinner at Monterey Fish House, a sweet little seafood place. It gets pretty busy, so go early or see about making a reservation, or be prepared to wait for a while. 

 

Have fun! Monterey is such a pretty town. 

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We always love visiting the lighthouse in Pacific Grove.

 

We often eat at the Swiss restaurant in the Barnyard, Carmel Valley. There are some fun shops there, although I agree, Carmel itself is fun to poke around in.

 

We stay at Asilomar, designed by Julia Morgan and used for conferences of all types, but they rent out rooms when they have spare ones. You can walk right to the beach.

 

We spent our honeymoon in Pacific Grove/Monterey  :001_wub:  (we were living in New Jersey at the time, but got married in CA).

 

Carmel mission is beautiful, but I agree, I love the mission in San Juan Bautista, pretty close.

 

Oh, we also love Point Lobos. (May be closed because of storms.)

 

Enjoy! One of our absolute favorite places on the planet.

 

 

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I lived in Monterey when I met my husband. It'll always hold romance for me. Back then, the Defense Language Institute was an open post. We never paid for 17-mike drive, but we were on bikes. It was a beautiful place to live. I remember getting clam chowder to go and a sourdough baguette from Fisherman's Wharf and eating outside on the rocky beach. Carmel and Pacific Grove are right there too. We walked everywhere. It was awesome except the hotels never seemed to have a bathtub. That was a bit weird, but most people don't care. Have fun!

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OH!  One more thing--If you like unusual wildlife kind of stuff, go on the website for Ano Nuevo and book one of their walking tours to see the Elephant Seals -- this is a nearby attraction that is unique worldwide and very special.

The tours are outside, rain or shine, and the last time I went they did not allow umbrellas, so if it's rainy be sure to wear some good raingear since you'll be walking for about 2 1/2 hours. 

Highly recommended, the docents are wonderful and all seem to have their own slants on the material, so I have heard quite a variety of information depending on their interests.  Some of them cover the local Native American history in a lot of detail, some focus more on the seals, all tell some of each.  Fascinating!

 

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We "honeymooned" there also, when we got rained out of our backpacking plans. We had no money and stayed in some cheapo motel; I was sick the entire time. Lol.

 

Monterey is lovely. Agree with everything pps have suggested. I used to spend quite a bit of time across the bay in Santa Cruz--idk if it's gentrified now like so many places, but it used to be the quintessential funky California beach town.

 

Yes to the elephant seals. I used to love seeing them as a kid, and we were lucky to see them during a recent trip to Pt. Reyes. They are not to be missed, if the timing works out for you.

 

Have fun! It's a gorgeous area.

 

Oh...also did anyone mention the redwoods?

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Our whole family really enjoyed a whale watching trip. It might depend on the year, but we were able to see both hump backed and blue whales. Dolphins followed the boat . I think we just ate clam chowder in a sour dough bowl at the place with the best samples.:). We were only there for part of the day.

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Thank you all for the suggestions!  It will be our 20th wedding anniversary, and it holds special memories for us, as we spent our first anniversary there. It was a late honeymoon, too. We stayed in a hole-in-the-wall cheap hotel, went to the aquarium, visited restaurants and shops.

 

We love the outdoors, nature, animals, hiking, adventure, history, good food, fishing, fresh seafood... the whole nine yards! We'll only have a few days, though, and our bodies aren't as young as we feel. As much as I want to think knee pain won't become an issue, depending on the activity and duration, they might. Ugh. My spirit is adventurous but the pain slows me down. My husband's are even worse. We're still up for being active, though, just in milder ways. If I could hang-glide over the bay and watch sea life from above, that would be really awesome.

 

You've all given us great ideas. Thanks again!

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