Monterey California is a beautiful seaside town located around an hour south of San Jose California (70 miles). You can find some connecting commuter flights direct to the Monterey Peninsula Airport from major west coast airports, like San Francisco and Los Angeles. You will find many more direct flights into the San Jose International Airport, and then simply drive. Besides, you will need a rental car to get around the Monterey area and see all the sites. Monterey is filled with history, culture, shopping, outdoor sports activities, pristine beaches, fine dining and entertainment. It’s the perfect place for weekend getaways. Visit VoyageMonkey.com Travel for hotel accommodations, flights and car rentals.
The first stop for most people while visiting Monterey is Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf. Located on the downtown waterfront, both areas feature shopping, dining, entertainment and activities. There are plenty of shops and restaurants here and interesting things to see and do. Here you can take a Monterey Bay cruise and see ocean wildlife like Sea Otters, Sea Lions, Dolphin, Whales, and more. You can also find activity centers offering activities like sailing, Kayaking, fishing, Scuba diving, winery tours, local spa visits, bike rentals, hiking, and Segway tours.
Perhaps the most popular attraction along the Monterey waterfront is the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. Over 1.8 million people visit the aquarium each year. The aquarium’s mission is to inspire conservation of the oceans. The aquarium has over 600 species of plants and marine life on display and tanks as large as 1.2 million gallons. The aquarium features a giant kelp forest exhibit, Monterey Bay habitats, an open sea habitat, Jelly Fish exhibit, and much more. Animal displays include sharks, giant Octopus, Tuna, Sea Horses, Sea Otters, Penguins, Sea Turtles, Stingrays, and a variety of other Monterey Bay sea life. The aquarium is an educational and entertaining experience you can’t miss.
No visit to Monterey is complete without taking a short drive south down Highway One to the picturesque town of Carmel by the Sea and the famous 17-mile drive through the Del Monte Forest and breathtaking coastline at Pebble Beach. This drive is rated one of the best scenic drives in the world. Pebble Beach has eight championship golf courses and some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. From there take Highway One south through scenic Big Sur with its remote charm and populous of eclectic artists, photographers, writers and musicians. Plan on spending all day on this drive as you’ll be making plenty of stops along the way to take photos and explore.
Monterey has excellent restaurants featuring fresh seafood and all kinds of international cuisine and fine wine. Some of our favorite dining sports in Monterey include Schooners Coastal Kitchen & Bar, Restaurant 1833, Montrio Bistro, Old Fisherman’s Grotto, the Monterey Fish House, Bistro Moulin, Jack’s at Portola Hotel, and the Sardine Factory. You’ll also find plenty of casual dining spots, bars and pubs. If you want to dine in nearby Carmel, we recommend Anton and Michel, Aubergine, Marinus, Portabella, Casanova, and the Flying Fish Grill. These are some of the most popular dining spots so make reservations.
The best hotels in Monterey include the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa, InterContinental’s Clement Monterey, Hyatt Regency Monterey, the Monterey Bay Inn, the Monterey Marriott, Hotel Pacific, and the Portola Hotel & Spa. In nearby Carmel we recommend the Quail Lodge, Casa Palmero at Pebble Beach, the Inn at Spanish Bay, Hyatt Carmel Highlands, L’Auberge Carmel, and the Carmel Valley Ranch Resort. You’ll also find plenty of smaller hotels, motels and Bed & Breakfast inns around the area.