Planning the Perfect Weekend Itinerary While Visiting Monterey, CA
Now’s the perfect time for a weekend getaway, and we’ve got the perfect place — Monterey County, California! One of the most romantic places in the world – it’s impossible to see all of it’s beauty in one weekend, but we picked the top destinations that makes this area so special.
Top Things to do in Monterey County, California
- Head to Cannery Row – You won’t want to miss the coastal views and marine wildlife from Marina, Seaside, and Sand City. This city (which is also the area that inspired John Steinbeck’s novel Cannery Row), features plenty to do including restaurants, shops, galleries, and wine tasting rooms. Read more: 5 Things to do on Cannery Row
- Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium – On the edge of the rocky bay is one of Cannery Row’s largest aquariums. Visit for animal meet and greets, an exploration of the open sea, and the adorable faces of California’s sea otters. There’s all this to explore and more at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- Experience “17 Mile Drive” – Take a scenic drive just miles a few miles out, on the south side of the Monterey peninsula. The drive begins at Pacific Grove Gate and goes along the Pacific coast, through the Del Monte Forest. Along the journey, you’ll find isolated cliffs, Pebble Beach Golf Course, and Lone Cypress (which offers a beautiful few of the Pacific coast).
- Visit Monterey State Historic Park – Located in Old Monterey is one of the area’s oldest buildings, historic homes, herb gardens, and more. Simply follow the yellow-tiled markers to discover Monterey State Historic Park and all it offers.
- Experience the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary – Located in Pacific Grove, one of the most beautiful coastal cities in Monterey County, lies the Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary. It is home to thousands of Monarch butterflies and includes several tours throughout the sanctuary. Read more: 9 Secrets About the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
- Point Lobos State Reserve – Also called “the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world”, you won’t want to miss the waves crashing on the rocks, the marine life, the handful of hiking trails, and breathtaking views of the Pacific at Point Lobos State Reserve. And if you head over to the Sea Lion Cove, you’ll catch a glimpse at what continues to inspire photographers, artists, writers, and more.
- Visit the Monterey Museum of Art – Are you an art enthusiast? If so, then the Monterey Museum of Art is for you. With a large focus on California art, check out some of the early American and California collections by many artists, including paintings, photography, and contemporary art.
- Head to Old Fisherman’s Wharf – A great place to experience all that Monterey has to offer. At Old Fisherman’s Wharf you can view plenty of wildlife, sign up for boat tours, deep-sea fishing trips, or even whale watching tours.
- Go Sailing – Charter a private adventure or watch the sunset with the dolphins and sea otters in Montery Bay. (Carrera Sailing, Monterey Bay Sailing)
- Go Kayaking – Rent a kayak and paddle across Monterey Bay and Elkhorn Slough to enjoy the best ocean views. (Adventures by the Sea, Kayak Connection)
- Go Wine Tasting – Monterey has something for all the wine lovers out there. Due to the region’s relatively cool climate, Monterey’s signature varieties are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. (Wineries & Tasting Rooms, Wine Trolley Tours)
- Have a Picnic – Buy or make lunch and head to one of the area’s most beloved beaches or parks. (Monterey Beaches, Asilomar State Beach, Pinnacles National Park, Los Padres National Forest)
Top Restaurants and Bars in Monterey County, California
- Your lunch spot should be in Carmel-by-the-Sea — specifically Anton & Michel’s! Their menu has a list of items sure to please any palate.
- For dinner one night, we suggest the Sardine Factory — a top Cannery Row dining destination, winning plenty of local and national accreditation.
- Located at Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley, Lucia Restaurant & Bar will blow you away with their chef-made seven-course meal.
Additional Consideration: The Central Coast of Monterey County
When you think of Monterey County, you probably think of the beautiful Pacific Coast. What many people don’t realize is that the inland areas can be just as intriguing. It’s worth it to take that extra day off to visit the Central Coast and some of its best hidden gems.
- Carmel Valley
- At the opposite end of the Monterey county spectrum is Carmel Valley — a not to miss destination for wine-lovers. In just a few miles, you’ll find no less than 20 tasting rooms. And once your stomach is filled with enough vino, less than an hour and a half away are beautiful camping grounds and trails for hiking.
- Soledad isn’t just a great place for a quick fill-up and fast food. It’s one of the county’s oldest and most interesting spots. It was founded in 1791 by Franciscan friars and was also the fictional setting for Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice and Men.”
- Pinnacles National Park
- This is one of our nation’s newest national parks — reaching full national park status in 2013. Lava from multiple volcanic eruptions around 23 million years ago created the strange rock formations that give this park its name — and its beauty.
- Reasons to visit Monterey in the Fall
- Best Bike Paths in Monterey County
- Best Hiking Trails in Monterey County
If your journey takes you to Monterey and Pacific Grove, California, we’ve got a cozy retreat for you to stay. At Butterfly Grove Inn, our beautiful cottage style inn is located just miles within all the beautiful sights California has to offer and more. To make a reservation, give us a call at 831-250-8191 or book your stay today!