Monterey Travel Journal
Blue skies, the smell of the ocean breeze in the air, flowers in full bloom, birds chirping, the sound of water flowing and waves crashing…. The saying, “Nothing comes close to the Golden Coast,” is completely accurate.
Monterey, California and the surrounding area is definitely an accessible getaway with so much to see and do and something for everyone. On our three and a half day adventure there, we were surprised at and the amount and variety of what we experienced in such a short time.
Flying into Monterey Regional Airport in the afternoon of the first day, we picked up our convertible rental car at the airport (roof down of course) and made the short drive to our hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, one of the neighbouring communities. There we checked into our hotel called The Getaway. This is a brand new hotel situated in the centre of the many shops and restaurants Carmel has to offer. We even made it in time for happy hour at the hotel, enjoying a glass of wine and some snacks in the sun with other guests.
After settling in, we were eager to get out and explore with the remaining few hours of daylight. We headed straight for 17-Mile Drive and enjoyed sunset along the world famous Pebble Beach, stopping off at the famous Lone Cypress tree - one of the world’s most photographed trees. Anywhere along this drive is the perfect spot for sunset. (Take a read of the Top 6 Photo Spots in Monterey for more photo locations.)
The next morning we enjoyed a delicious breakfast at one of the many cute cafe’s along Ocean Avenue, one of the main streets in Carmel. After some caffeine and sustenance we were now ready to make our way south to Big Sur for the day, stopping at the many breathtaking spots along this scenic drive. This drive should need no introduction, breathtaking views around every corner and Instagram worthy pull outs every five minutes will turn the hour long journey to Pfeiffer State Park in to several hours. You can't miss the Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls, pull off in the designated parking areas and take in the stunning views.
Having made reservations ahead of time, we made our way to Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn where we enjoyed a delicious 4-course lunch with a jaw dropping view of the Pacific Ocean below. It's the perfect lunch spot!
Another must-see on the PCH is Pfeiffer beach. This gem is a little off the beaten path down a unnamed one-way paved road, but well worth effort to get there. This rugged beach will bring out the explorer in anyone and offers up some beautiful photo opportunities, especially Keyhole Rock, a well known spot for photographers.
On our last full day, we made our way to the Monterey Bay Aquarium to arrive as soon as the doors open. This was perfect timing as we were on schedule to enjoy the Open Sea feeding session, watching thousands of fish get their breakfast in what was most certainly the largest aquarium / tank we had ever seen. The jellyfish were also one of our favorite exhibitions at this attraction.
After a few hours at the Aquarium, we made our way through Cannery Row to check out some of the shops, then to Old Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch.
On our last day, we made the short fifteen minute trip south to Garrapata State Park to hike Soberanes Canyon. The trail was only open for the first mile or so but still worth the short hike in to see the abundant flora and fauna. Be sure to stick to the trail in the area, the vegetation is fragile and potentially dangerous (Cactus). Meandering your way through the hills, through Cactus fields, surrounded by wildflowers and crossing shallow streams, it's definitely worth stretching your legs on this trail.
This journal was written in partnership with See Monterey and Travel Mindset, all opinions and thoughts are, as always, my own. Here are some more photos from the trip! For more information on Monterey and planning your own trip, visit: www.SeeMonterey.com