Monterey is one of California’s most popular destinations. And it’s one of our favorite Bay Area getaways. Its world-famous Monterey Peninsula offers unparalleled coastal and Pacific Ocean views, especially on fog-free sunny days.
Fun Things To Do For Free
If you like the outdoors, there are a lot of fun things you can enjoy doing for free! Here are a few of them:
- Scenic walking, hiking and biking trails along the spectacular Monterey Peninsula, Pacific Grove, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the Big Sur coastline
- Monarch Butterflies at Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary in Pacific Grove
- Barking Sea Lions at Fisherman’s Wharf
- Stroll along historic Cannery Row
- Visit nearby Carmel and enjoy browsing through the shops and art galleries
- Walk along the beautiful white sandy beach in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium is located on Monterey’s historic Cannery Row. It is considered to be one of the best and largest aquariums in the world. Plan to spend plenty of time there, especially if it’s your first visit – there’s a lot to see. Our favorite is the Jellyfish exhibit. Wait until you see all the amazing Jellies – they’re mesmerizing!
Scenic 17-Mile Drive
Drive along the scenic 17-Mile Drive. The road winds its way through Del Monte Forest and along the spectacular Monterey coastline. The landscape, vistas, ocean views and sunsets are breathtaking. The 17-Mile Drive can be accessed from five Entry Gates located along different parts of the 17-mile loop: Highway 1 Gate, Samuel F.B. Morse Gate, Country Club Gate, Pacific Grove Gate and Carmel Gate. There are 21 Points of Interest listed on the 17-Mile drive. Check out our Top 7 favorite spots for picture-taking along the route.
Monarch Butterflies - Butterfly Habitat Sanctuary in Pacific Grove
Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary is a must-see for butterfly lovers. Tourists and locals alike flock to the outdoor Sanctuary every winter to see thousands of beautiful Monarch butterflies clustered on pine, eucalyptus, cypress and redwood trees, in Monterey’s Pacific Grove. Monarch butterflies arrive at the Sanctuary in October where they wait out the winter season until late February. The best time to see them is when they are their most active between 12 noon and 3pm on sunny days.