Monterey, California

What to do, Where to stay, Where to eat.

Happy New Year! Here’s another stop on the tour of California: Monterey. I chose to specifically write about Monterey for this week’s blog because I went here for NYE 2019/2020… what a different world it was at this time last year. Being from Northern California, I have had my trips to Monterey, but this last trip was different. I went during a holiday and stayed overnight, which I hadn’t done either of those in Monterey before. One initial tip that I can give you-it is not a party down. So if you’re looking for a party and crazy night life, I would take it to San Francisco. However, this is the perfect spot for a nice, quiet, relaxing, weekend getaway. Monterey is beautiful, safe, and has a certain charm that other beaches in NorCal don’t have. So for this week’s blog I am going to review where we stayed, ate, and give you recommendations on what to do here during your visit!

  • Monterey Bay Aquarium: Of course, this had to be my first mention. I feel like Monterey is known for it’s Aquarium and I know this was my top attraction here when I was a kid. If you love sea life and learning about it, this is a great place to stop. I do remember that the Aquarium had a special event for families with children on NYE, so if you have kiddos, I would look into that next year!
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea: Speaking of a cute place to visit… this village is adorable! Carmel has quaint shops and cafes for you to enjoy during your stop through this little place.
  • 17-Mile Drive: If you love beautiful views/drives like I do, this is something you gotta do! The name is pretty self-explanatory, this is a beautiful drive along the Pacific Coast. You’ll catch some incredible views of the ocean and the Del Monte Forest during this drive. Since I’ve lived in California for most of my life and have moved so many times… I have driven this entire state one to many times. However, one of my personal bucket lists goals is to do a drive along the entire coast of California, so the 17-Mile Drive would be apart of my itinerary!
  • Old Fisherman’s Warf: Pictured above, the Old Fisherman’s Warf is exactly what you would expect it to be. The Warf is covered in restaurants, touristy shops, and beautiful ocean views. You’ll also find many waterfront hotels along this way as well.
  • Spas: As I mentioned before, Monterey is a great place to visit for a relaxing weekend getaway! To me, a small little beach town like Monterey is the perfect place to do a chill weekend. Imagine getting a nice massage or facial, chilling in a hot tub, and enjoying a nice ocean view dinner… sounds pretty nice doesn’t it? If you’re staying at a fancy resort like the Hyatt in Monterey, you will have many spa services offered to you. There is an iconic outdoor spa here in Monterey and it is Refuge. Although, there are other spas to try like: Monterey Day Spa, Vista Blue Spa, and Spa On the Plaza just to name a few (of many).
  • Cannery Row: Also pictured above, Cannery Row is tied in with the Old Fisherman’s Warf. Cannery Row is historic and a classic place that you must stop by. Here you can find a lot of shops, restaurants, candy, and a cute little arcade that my boyfriend and I stopped in. If you’re big kids like us, the arcade is a fun way to relive your childhood and get involved with some friendly competition. We gave a little kid all of our tickets that we won. This little boy was literally sooo stoked to be there (he would actually scream and jump out of excitement every time he won any tickets). Pretty cute right? So if you’re with children or on a date, this is a little stop to try.
  • Wine Tasting: Carmel Valley and Monterey in general has many wineries to try! As I’ve mentioned a million times, I am not a huge drinker, however, I do think wine tasting is fun to do with friends (even though I know nothing about wine). Get dressed, enjoyed beautiful views and taste some wine!
  • Whale Watching: I have never gone on a whale-watching tour in Monterey, but I know that this is a popular activity to do here. However, there is something magical about watching something like a whale in it’s natural habitat, so if you’re into this… check it out! Also, save our oceans. Something that people need to realize, if you want to enjoy the beauties of nature, we must all do our parts and help out. A tip: don’t litter. Something so simple, yet such a huge issue in America. Save the whales, save the ocean, save yourself. Take care of our planet. It really isn’t hard to do.
  • Monterey Bay Sky Dive: Another thing that I haven’t done yet, but I would absolutely down to do. Sky diving is for the adrenaline junkies, so if that’s you, check it out in Monterey! I bet you’ll catch some incredible ocean views.
  • Shop: As I mentioned before, Cannery Row and the Old Fisherman’s Warf both have a lot of shopping to do. They have the classic touristy shops and unique boutiques as well. Downtown Monterey also has more shopping to check out as well!
  • Historic Buildings: Whether you’re into history, architecture, or landmarks, Monterey has places for you! Cannery Row is a historic stop, but there are other places like the Point Sur Lighthouse and the Carmel Mission. For a tip: if you find “ghosts” or “spirits” interesting, the Point Sur Lighthouse is supposedly haunted.
  • National Parks: A huge positive to Northern California is the beautiful nature it has to offer and several national parks. Pinnacles National Park is somewhere that you could go rock climbing or you could visit somewhere like Point Lobos State Reserve.
  • Dine: Pictured below is our food and drinks at Wave Street Café. I 10/10 recommend this spot! I had a breakfast quesadilla with a hot chocolate… so good! Can’t forget that this place has a nice ocean view. I recommend making a reservation ahead of time, because you will be waiting awhile to sit down if you just show up like we did. By my boyfriend’s choice, we ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp Company for lunch and he was stoked about it. I’m not a seafood person, but they have a large menu so there are other things to find. If you want to visit a famous restaurant with an ocean view, then this is your place to try. Another restaurant to try is El Torito Mexican restaurant. This place is yummy and yet again, has a great ocean view.
  • Hotel: Well, we stayed at the Stargazer Inn and Suites. It’s extremely affordable and a tiny little place a few miles away from the beach, downtown, Cannery Row, and the Old Fisherman’s Warf. There are definitely so many nicer places to stay so I don’t necessarily recommend “you must stay here!!!!!”, but if you’re looking for somewhere affordable, clean, and close in distance to everything then this an option for you. They also have an indoor pool and hot tub which is a huge reason why we chose this place as well (not to mention it was NYE and before the global pandemic so prices everywhere were way higher than what they are now). However, I would recommend staying somewhere along the water for great views, closer distance, and nicer.
  • Pebble Beach Golf: Something that I’ve said many times before, I’m not a golfer. Don’t like doing it or watching it, but I know many people love it. So for you golfers out there, this place is extremely nice and beautiful… definitely recommend golfing here!

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