Though P and I have only just moved to the Bay Area in February, we have been itching to explore all the beautiful areas around our new home. One of these places that we have aways found ourselves visiting again and again is the Monterey Peninsula, specifically Monterey and Carmel. Just within these past 7 months, we have driven south about five or six times. It’s undeniable how gorgeous the coast and beaches are here, and I always find myself more relaxed and feeling incredibly lucky to be living in Northern California.
Here are our some of our favorite spots to explore in both Monterey and Carmel:
1) Walk/Bike along the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail
Fisherman’s wharf for a dreamy view from the pier and the touristy souvenirs. Cannery Row for shopping, food, and some history. Infinite ocean views. What can you possibly not love?!
2) Drive or Bike the 17 Mile Drive / Pebble Beach
Most drive but you can certainly bike the 17 mile drive. Mind you, there are hills… steep hills. P and I were ambitious on one of our first trips to the area and we had this crazy idea to bike from Fisherman’s wharf to the Pebble Beach Golf Course. I was not a happy camper after that ride and my bum was paying for it. A small fee (no fee if you bike) and you can see the gorgeous coastal views and check out the Lone Cypress and the famous 18th hole at the Pebble Beach Golf Course.
3) Otters and Other Sea Creatures at the Monterey Bay Aquarium… but Really… Otters
Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must if it’s your first time visiting the area. I have been going since I was in diapers and I still love visiting the jelly fish exhibit, the ginormous glass tank of hammerhead sharks, turtles, and fishies galore and of course, the otters!
4) Hike the Many Trails in Point Lobos State Reserve
The hikes are easy to moderate and the views are breathtaking. Park right outside of the park on the side of the road to avoid paying a parking fee.
5) Catch a Sunset at Carmel Beach
My favorite place to watch the sun set is at Carmel Beach. There’s plenty of puppies running about (dog friendly beach) and for some reason the sunset is just super pretty here.
6) Visit Carmel Mission
This was a beautiful mission and museum right in the heart of Carmel. I really loved the gardens and appreciated the quiet and spiritual nature of this place.
7) Shop the Trinkets and Antiques in Carmel Village
Downtown Carmel is fun to walk around and explore. There are plenty of antique shops, restaurants, and candy shops, and Carmel beach is a quick walk down from the village.
8) Paddleboard/Kayak along the Monterey coast lines
We have yet to try this, but it’s still on our list of things to do. Every time, we walk along the Monterey Coastal Trail between Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row, we see people paddleboarding or kayaking with the sea lions and otters and it looks amazing!