Best things to do in Monterey CA
Tourist Attractions

Discover The 10 Best Things To Do In Monterey CA

Are you looking for something fun to do in Monterey CA? Well, you’re in luck! Here are 10 of the best things to do in Monterey CA. From the best photo spots to family amusement, there’s something for everyone. So what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip today!

Best Thing to Do in Monterey CA

Monterey Bay Aquarium

  • Address: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (33242)
  • Phone: +1 831-648-4800
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Wednesday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Thursday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Friday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Saturday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Sunday: 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM
Best things to do in Monterey CA
Best things to do in Monterey CA

5 Replies to Discover The 10 Best Things To Do In Monterey CA

  1. The visit to the aquarium is worth it, every time you visit. This time was special as I was spending a daddy daughter day special visit on my birthday. 😊
    The weekend crowd required a 15 minute wait in the queue which moved at a reasonable pace. There is a faster queue if you have the vaccine details uploaded to the Clear App.
    Once inside, it’s a wonderful world of marine life. The jelly fish exhibits are mesmerizing and don’t forget to visit the penguins and the otters. The shows in the auditorium are short, informative and entertaining.

  2. This is an absolute must-do! We went on a Sunday morning and there was a long line that wrapped around the building, but we were in the aquarium within ten to fifteen minutes. The exhibits are so informational and beautiful. The staff/volunteers are SO friendly and fun to chat with! Definitely ask them about the exhibits because they have lots of information to share! We started the day off with the 11am feeding which was so fun because we got to see lots of fish right at the start. With the exhibits, you can really get up close, which is awesome! Their Into the Deep exhibit is fascinating.

  3. Always love this aquarium! Been going here ever since I was a kid and it always is a fun place to be. The aquarium is rescue and rehab focused and is also promoting conservation efforts for the local area (which is great!).

    Even as an adult the touch pools are fun to see and learn at, as the jellies are always a joy to watch pulse around the calming waters.

    If you can, I would always recommend that you try to check the aquarium out! It’s also not too big, so if you only have a couple hours you could still manage to see everything quickly.

  4. A fun experience for the entire family! We went on a weekday so it was really quick to get inside. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable, the exhibits are beautiful to watch.

    There are three floors in total, with exhibits on each floor, an auditorium, a cafe with reasonably priced food options, clean restrooms and lots of kid focused activities. You’ll need at least a couple of hours to go through all the exhibits.

    I definitely recommend the aquarium as a fun family activity to do in Monterey. They’re rescue focused and big on preserving ocean life, which is just amazing!

  5. We drove down here after our trip in wine country (about 3 hours) and it was DEFINITELY worth it! Initially I thought $50 was expensive, but once I entered, I understood why. It is beautiful! Here, I discovered my newfound love for otters! I truly enjoyed learning so much about marine life and gained a new understanding and appreciation for it. The jellyfish exhibit is jaw dropping and there are just so many cool features in this aquarium/conservatory. I went back to see the otters 3 times that day. I will definitely go back to bring my kids one day. I was so moved I wanted to support the aquarium so I donated and also purchased a sea otter plush (all proceeds help the aquarium and conservation of the ocean!)

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TOP 10 Fun Things to Do in Monterey CA

Best things to do in Monterey CA
Best things to do in Monterey CA

Old Fisherman’s Wharf

  • Address: 1 Old Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (13997)
  • Phone: +1 831-238-0777
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Thursday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Friday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Saturday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
    Sunday: 9:00 AM – 10:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    Nice area with beautiful spots for pictures. To the right of the pier near the bathrooms and parking lot is a boat dock where the sea lions like to congregate. Very close view while still keeping a safe distance. Short walk back to the pier with shops and food and whale watching tours. Parking is by park mobile on the app. We went in mid-October so a lot of the shops were closed up for the season early morning but some cute little candy and gift shops were open. Nicely maintained and seasonally decorated.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Diana F (2 months ago)
    Monterey Harbor awesome way to end a fabulous trip. Well worth the trip from the Sea Goddess. Great views. Delicious food and sea lions for entertainment. Fantastic end to a great trip. Earlier in the week got to meet family we were not aware existed, discovery of 8 nieces and nephews. Such an exiting trip for my 90 year old young Dad. One amazing man deserving of this awesome and amazing trip. FAMILY!!!!❤
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Ms C (2 months ago)
    I have the sense that The Old Fisherman’s Wharf is struggling post pandemic and with inflation.

    My husband (who usually abhors tourist traps) has enjoyed it in the past so wanted to bring me for the first time in September 2022. A quarter of the store fronts were boarded up and pricing on the food was incredibly steep, even at grab and go style spots.

    We scrolled through reviews for the restaurants on the wharf and did not think any of them seemed worth spending the money they were charging. I do think that if we had been more in the mood for a tourist trap and feeling spendthrift our experience would have been different. Saw some gorgeous views available from within the restaurants and certainly seafood here would be 👌👌👌. Will update my review if we find ourselves here again.

    We did enjoy the salt water taffy we picked up on our way out from one of the candy stores that sold it individually rather than in $15 bags. We stayed less than twenty minutes.

    Should note that the sea lions piled up on the shore right at the entrance to the wharf were a delight. We stood watching them nap, clamour over each other and brawl a bit for probably a half hour. We smiled as wide and laughed as hard as the kids who were also transfixed.

    ✭✭✭ By Kaili Kinnon (4 months ago)
    My first time here to this wharf. I found it to be interesting. Definitely a tourist trap that has seen better days. For the most part the area was clean and kept up. Many gift shops, candy shops and restaurants. I did notice many of the restaurants there had a employee standing outside of their entrances trying to hustle people in.
    All in all it was it was enjoyable first time and experience. If I was a local would I frequent here? Probably not.
    ✭✭✭ By Rad Radster (3 months ago)
    Park down by the beach and walk to the wharf. Beautiful waters. Boats and kayaks everywhere. The walk had so many candy store and cute happy hour restaurants. Best part is when u make it to the end where the view scoops are to view the area.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Phelicia Martin (7 months ago)

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

  • Address: 62 CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (7920)
  • Phone: +1 831-624-4909
  • Website: Link
  • Opening hours:
    Monday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Thursday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Friday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Saturday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
    Sunday: 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Reviews:
    Really nice. Park rangers are friendly and assist with information. Sea Lion View Point had even a ranger with a looking glass so we could see them on a rock far away. Restrooms are clean, the trails are well done, and views are absolutely stunning, even on a foggy day we’ve chosen. Worth going for a hike and the views. Yes, the pictures are real, views look like straight from a painting. Round photo was phone against the telescope eye… forgot my good camera.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Robert Glonek (3 months ago)
    It was one of the best places I have been to near by in Bay area. The scenarios is very beautiful ever part of hike there are some beautiful views of beach and water you can see. One of the best part was we could see the Harbor seals relaxing on their own private beach. It looked like it was made specifically for them. No one has the access to go there to that particular beach. There were so many good places such as China Cove, Hidden beach and Gibson beach. Over all it’s a very beautiful place worth the visit. Just 10 dollars entry fee.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By SYED RAFI MOHAMMED (11 months ago)
    Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is hands down one of the best and scenic places that one should not miss when one is in the area. The views of the Pacific are absolutely stunning! The entry fee is $10, but it is totally worth the fee. There are quite a few parking lots in the Reserve, but the Reserve gates are closed when there is lots of rush, so do plan accordingly on weekends and/or public holidays.
    Lots of tide pools, and fun hiking trails.
    One can park in the roadside to save the parking fee, but be advised that the hike to good points in the park is at least half a mile from the road.
    The sunsets are sights to behold.
    Most visit when in the area.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Pranav Deshpande (3 months ago)
    Very nice park with many coastal and meadow trails with amazing views. Most trails are suitable for kids. Along the coastal trails you get a view of the Carmel bay, many beautiful beaches, and islands with a lot of birds. Entrance fee is $10 but parking can be limited inside the park specially on weekends. However, you can park outside and talk a walk. Definitely recommend visiting.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Ahmed Nabawe (6 months ago)
    This is one the places to visit along the Pacific scenic Highway. There are lots of beautiful trails alongside the majestic Pacific Ocean. We hooked the North shore trail which started from the overflow parking lot. This trail takes you through the whalers cove where you can see lots of seals pelicans and herons. The rangers had set telescopes to show a heron’s nest as well. The trail then led to cypress grove trail which leads on the most serene spots overlooking the ocean surrounded by cypress groves. It’s a very nice picnic spot to rest and spend time relaxing with the cleaning sounds of the waves in the background.
    ✭✭✭✭✭ By Balaji G. (7 months ago)

Lovers Point Park

  • Address: 631 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (6582)

Dennis The Menace Playground

  • Address: 777 Pearl St, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (2782)

Asilomar State Beach

  • Address: Sunset Dr, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.8 (2717)

El Estero Park

  • Address: 725 Pearl St, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (1074)

Point Pinos Lighthouse (1855)

  • Address: 80 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (895)

Coast Guard Pier

  • Address: 100 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.5 (545)

Monterey County Youth Museum

  • Address: 425 Washington St, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.7 (284)

McAbee Beach

  • Address: 1 Hoffman Ave, Monterey, CA 93940, United States
  • Map: Click here
  • Rating: 4.6 (146)
Best things to do in Monterey CA
Best things to do in Monterey CA

That’s it for our list of the best things to do in Monterey CA! If you have any arguments or additional information, please leave a comment. We love to hear from our readers. And don’t forget to check out some of the other posts on our blog for more travel inspiration. Happy traveling!

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