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5 Things to Do in Monterey California

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Monterey Bay Aquarium: What can you do in Monterey, California?

Monterey Bay Aquarium: What can you do in Monterey, California?

Visiting Monterey, California

Monterey is a beautiful and modest town on the Central Coast of California, decorated with gorgeous Cypress trees, constantly refreshed with a cool ocean breeze, and blessed with exquisite oceanic scenery. Often you can smell the reinvigorating scent of eucalyptus wafted by the sweet ocean air.

The town is visited by people around the world, attracted to its mellow Mediterranean climate and pleasant attractions. Once you've been romanced by the majestic environment that is Monterey, what is there to do?

1. Monterey Bay Aquarium

One of the fairly recent developments in Monterey was the building and opening of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The site features the lovely and sometimes imposing sea life of Monterey. Not that you can't see the wildlife out on the ocean almost everywhere you go in Monterey. However, the Aquarium offers views of this sea life, with an educational experience along with the ambiance of the exhibits.

2. Cannery Row

Cannery Row, made famous by novelist John Steinbeck, is located down the street from the Aquarium. Maybe after your trip to the Aquarium, you could take a stroll through Cannery Row to check out the gift shops, restaurants and even stop for a drink at a pub.

The area is historic, a site of old fish canneries that employed many people during the Depression. Definitely worth giving a look. One of my favorite shops there sells a multitude of cigars, of which you can sample in their smoke room. My favorite was the strawberry flavored.

3. Fisherman's Wharf

Probably one of the most popular attractions at Monterey, Fisherman's wharf has lovely restaurants with tasty food caught fresh from the sea, a glass-bottom boat ride, and plenty of shops to get trinkets.

Snacks abound and you're liable to catch some very good street entertainment too, along with great artists who sit and create for your amusement. Look for some very decent clam chowder, served in a bread bowl. It's fantastic!

You can view the sea otters, seagulls, and other creatures of the ocean all along the wharf for free. Doesn't get better than that.

In addition, there are various historical sites you will see in the vicinity, some of the oldest sites in California. Look around. You also might catch one of the many cultural festivals that occur in the Monterey area that are often held by the wharf.

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You will also have the opportunity to stroll along the beach just adjacent to the wharf, and it's very refreshing after a tour of the wharf to take a dip in the ocean. The wharf is pure enjoyment!

4. Lover's Point and Ocean View Blvd

Lover's Point is one of the loveliest beaches in the area, actually located in Pacific Grove which is right up against Monterey; it's almost like the same town.

Not only is the beach fantastic, but if you follow the road along the beach, called Ocean View Blvd, you will be traveling a very scenic and majestic ride along the ocean.

The nicest thing about touring the scenery along this road is that there are spots along the side of the road where you can park, get out and sit on a bench to view the ocean, or take a walk down the rocks to get a closer view. Truly an exhilarating but relaxing adventure.

California State University at Monterey Bay is located on the old Fort Ord army base grounds.

5. Fort Ord

If you're in for something a little unusual, it is a fascinating trip to tour the old grounds of the Army base called Fort Ord, located where the city of Seaside meets Monterey.

The base has been closed since the 1990s, so what you will see there now is primarily boarded up and abandoned army housing and training halls, among other things. It is fascinating, educational, and gets the mind pondering.

Just fair warning: The site has been known to have leftover munitions even under the ground, so it's best not to walk around in open fields. So, this spot is particularly adventuresome. However, I can tell you personally I've had no harm come to myself driving along the roads at Fort Ord, viewing abandoned buildings.

And as you continue up the road on the Fort Ord grounds you will eventually run into the California State University, at Monterey Bay. Often you can catch a fascinating lecture and I was even able to watch a great martial arts demonstration there. A true treat!

Things to Do in Monterey

Monterey Bay AquariumCannery RowFisherman's Wharf

Live exhibits of sea life. Educational and stimulating.

Shops, restaurants and bars.

Shops, restaurants and boat trips.


No fee

No fee

What Will You Do in Monterey?

So, is it any wonder Monterey is one of the most popular tourist spots in the world, attracting visitors across the globe, adding to its diversity and charm? The cool ocean breeze, the lovely surroundings, and the entertaining activities will keep you coming back for more.

© 2013 Nathan Bernardo

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