The Best 3 Days in Monterey, California Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

With arts, beaches, nature, and great food, Monterey, California may be the perfect city. Click to read why Monterey should be your new favorite travel destination! Grab Your Moment and GO!|

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Guess who finally made it to Monterey? This girl! Every Californian has to visit Monterey, and in my humble opinion, you need to spend at least 3 days in Monterey. Did it take me 20-something years to visit? Maybe. But better late than never I suppose.

There are so many things to do in Monterey and the surrounding area that it’s hard to decide how many days in Monterey will be enough. Don’t worry. My Monterey itinerary has all the best things to see in Monterey California, plus some bonus activities for anyone who can spend more time there, or is planning their next visit!


Monterey itinerary

Arrival in Monterey / How to Get to Monterey

To really see everything Monterey has to offer, you need to have a car. Without one, you’re going to find it hard to get to the best sights in Monterey County. The good news is that it’s a pretty easy drive to Monterey from Los Angeles or San Francisco, so getting to Monterey is easy.

By Car

Driving to Monterey from San Francisco will take around two hours if you take US-101. And driving to Monterey from Los Angeles is fastest (five hours) if you take I-5 to US-101. 

But if you have a few extra days, there is nothing better than driving the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) between Los Angeles and San Francisco (it’s the number one thing to do in California for a reason). Just don’t try to do it all at once – plan it as a California road trip with stops at places like Monterey along the way. You can rent a car here.

By Air

Monterey has a small regional airport, but you’ll probably have more options if you fly into San Jose Airport. You’ll need to rent a car but from there, it’s a little over an hour drive to Monterey on US-101. Plus, flying into San Jose makes it easy to extend your trip by exploring San Francisco, Berkeley, or Tiburon for a few days. 

By Train

Another fun way to get to Monterey is by taking the train from Los Angeles to Salinas. There’s no onsite car rental, but you can arrange for pickup with the rental agency or take a rideshare option. It’s a little bit of a hassle, but it’s worth it. The Coast Starlight Train has observation decks that give you views for days.


Monterey itinerary

Best Time to Visit Monterey

It’s no secret that I love the weather in California. It’s generally warm and sunny and winter in most destinations is pretty mild (with exception of mountain cities like Lake Tahoe). But coastal towns like Monterey can be a little chillier, so I think the best time to visit Monterey California is between May and October

There are usually a ton of fun festivals and events in April and May like the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival and the Castroville Artichoke Festival. These can be really fun and delicious but also tend to draw pretty big crowds and higher prices.

September and October are the best months to visit Monterey. The summer tourist season will be over – always a bonus to get to do cool stuff around fewer people! But what’s also great about this time of year is that Monterey often warms up a little bit too. It’s like a second, secret summer.


The Best Things to Do in Monterey

Monterey County offers an endless number of options for everyone, whether you’re into the outdoors, literature, scenic views, arts and culture, or great food. This Monterey 3 day itinerary has a little something for everyone!


3 Days in Monterey Itinerary: Day One 

Breakfast at Paris Bakery Cafe

Start your trip off right with breakfast at the Paris Bakery Cafe. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but stepping inside is like entering pastry heaven. Don’t miss out on the pain au chocolat and the almond croissant. They also have to-go bags (or so I hear – I didn’t have any leftovers!).


Stroll the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

Thing to do in Monterey

A few short blocks away from the cafe is Fisherman’s Wharf. This is a fun place to check out. It’s full of restaurants and kitschy souvenir shops so it has a carnival-like vibe even during the day.

What’s more, in the park right in front of Fisherman’s Wharf, you can pick up the Monterey Bay Coastal Trail. This trail hugs the bay (except for when it reaches the Cannery Row area) and I recommend going at least as far as Lover’s Point if you can. It’s an easy two miles from Fisherman’s Wharf and it is the perfect start for Monterey sightseeing. Keep your eyes peeled for otters, sea lions, dolphins, and whales along the way.


Explore Lover’s Point

Lover’s Point is a must-do in Monterey. The picturesque Lover’s Point has something for all ocean lovers: swimming, boating, and surfing. There are also volleyball courts, a killer beach, and several places to rent bikes or kayaks if that’s your thing. And whatever you do, don’t forget to check out the sea life in the tidal pools! I didn’t expect to spend as much time here as I did and I know you’ll love it too!  


Lunch at Red House Cafe

If you can’t drag yourself away from the beach, The Grill at Lover’s Point is a good option. The views are killer and the casual menu features a really great burger.

But as much as I love Lover’s Point, it’s worth leaving it to have lunch at Red House Cafe. This place is really adorable, it offers indoor and outdoor seating, and the service is really friendly. The menu ranges from sandwiches and salads to bigger plates like crab cakes (I may or may not be drooling just thinking about those crab cakes).


Browse the Stacks at Bookworks

It’s no secret that I’m a bookworm with a penchance for independent bookstores, so when I saw Bookworks right by the cafe, I had to pop in and do some shopping. It’s also a great place to grab tea and a streetside table and people watch.


See What Life Was Like in Old Monterey

Monterey itinerary

One of the most underappreciated Monterey attractions is the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, probably because the nature outside is so beautiful. But what I love about this museum is the collection of heritage photographs of Pacific Grove, Point Pinos Lighthouse, and the old Chinese Fishing Village. It’s one of the coolest things to see in Monterey in 3 days.


Experience Cannery Row

With arts, beaches, nature, and great food, Monterey, California may be the perfect city. Click to read why Monterey should be your new favorite travel destination! Grab Your Moment and GO!|
Cannery Row!

Cannery Row, once a laborer area home to the sardine-canning business, has transformed into the ultimate tourist destination, complete with shops, hotels, and restaurants. You could easily spend a few hours here learning about the area’s history, walking between shops, soaking in views of the water, or just generally enjoying the ambiance.


Dinner at A Taste of Monterey

I normally wouldn’t recommend a wine market as a stop but A Taste of Monterey also has a bistro attached. It’s such an amazing find that I had to include it as a dinner stop in this Monterey itinerary. The menu has a range of small bites (the Yucatan chicken nachos are amazing), salads, and flatbreads, which is perfect after a big lunch. But what you’re really going for is the view. One whole side of the restaurant is glass, and every seat is angled to give the perfect view over the bay

Pro tip: A lot of people think it’s hard to find, but there’s a path that runs to the water past Steinbeck Plaza. It’s at the end of that path.


3 Days in Monterey Itinerary: Day Two

Breakfast at the Old Monterey Cafe

Hands down the best breakfast in Monterey, the Old Monterey Cafe is a perfect place to kick off your second day. I love the old-school vibe here. They serve classic breakfast items with super fresh ingredients and some of the best omelets around. 


Get to Know Monterey Bay 

No visit to Monterey is complete without spending at least a few hours at the state’s best aquarium. With over 35,000 creatures, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the best way to get up close and personal with some of the world’s most striking marine life. The massive kelp forest alone makes the aquarium one of the best things to do in Monterey California. I could have easily spent the entire day here!

Pro tip: The ticket is good for the whole day. Get your hand stamped when you leave so that you can come back later if you want to. 


Lunch at Vivolo’s Chowder House

With arts, beaches, nature, and great food, Monterey, California may be the perfect city. Click to read why Monterey should be your new favorite travel destination! Grab Your Moment and GO!|
Clam chowder!

Vivolo’s Chowder House is known for really great seafood with fun options like sand dab sandwiches and crab melts, but the chowder here is the real star. I ordered it in the sourdough bread bowl and let me tell you, it was delicious. If you aren’t traveling solo, I recommend splitting it with someone so you can sample another one of their tasty dishes too.


Soak Up Some History

Things to do in Monterey

Soak in beautiful architecture and history at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo. It’s one of three missions in Monterey County (Nuestra Señora de la Soledad and San Antonio de Padua are several miles outside the city) and it once served as the headquarters for Saint Junipero Serra, who founded nine of today’s California Missions. The architecture alone makes it worth a visit!


Go on a Scavenger Hunt

Monterey itinerary

Yes, you read that correctly! Fun fact: there are yellow medallions on the sidewalks for the Monterey Path of History. If you follow this path, you can get a good look at historic Monterey. Many of the sites have explanatory placards, and you can get maps and brochures outside the Pacific House. But my favorite way to experience this is by downloading a scavenger hunt app from the California State Parks website. It’s a little more interactive and easier to tailor to your time and interest. It’s one of the most unique things to do in Monterey California.


Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea

Monterey itinerary

Camel-by-the-Sea is an amazing little town full of fairy tale houses, art galleries, and gorgeous scenery. It’s worth its own trip for sure. You can easily spend a few hours wandering its streets and popping in and out of fun shops and foodie markets. Don’t miss Frank Lloyd Wright’s Clinton Walker house up on the bluff.


Dinner at Aubergine

Experience the ultimate ingredient-driven cuisine at Aubergine, the award-winning restaurant at L’Auberge Carmel. The eight-course tasting menu changes daily and the balance of innovation and flavor has earned the restaurant plenty of culinary awards over the years.


Get Lost in a New World

Bring plenty of blankets and snuggle up at the Forest Guild Theater, Carmel’s only nonprofit outdoor theater. This is a fun way to spend a cozy evening while supporting the local arts community. Be sure to make reservations in advance!


3 Days in Monterey Itinerary: Day Three

Breakfast at The Wild Plum Cafe

What I love about The Wild Plum Cafe is the variety. The menu changes based on the availability of seasonal, local ingredients, but there’s always a range of options to satisfy you whether you’re looking for a big breakfast or lighter fare. I also love how creative they are with the menu. This might be the only place I’ve ever considered eating salad for breakfast!


Cruise Along the Coast

If you think the coast is beautiful in Monterey, wait until you see it along the 17 Mile Drive, the scenic coastal road stretching from Pacific Grove to Carmel. It tops the list of what to see in Monterey in 3 days.

Bring your camera, and prepare yourself for frequent stops. Make sure you snag a photo of the Lone Cypress, one of the most photographed trees in North America. If you’re feeling really adventurous, traveling by bike is an awesome way to experience this must-do in Monterey! 

If you have time, keep cruising past Carmel to Pfeiffer Beach. This is not to be confused with Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park nor Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (both of which, incidentally, offer spectacular hiking trails and waterfalls). At Pfeiffer Beach, you can find stretches of purple sand! Prepare to be blown away.


Lunch at Pebble Beach

There’s a toll to drive on 17 Mile Drive, but if you spend at least $35 at a Pebble Beach Company restaurant, the fee is waived. The Bench has a great view of the golf course and the water and it has a relaxed vibe that I liked a lot, but you really can’t go wrong with any of the restaurant concepts here. 


Marvel at More Scenery

Things to do in Monterey

Monterey County offers an endless number of hiking trails, camping spots, beaches, and outdoor activities to help you chase your adventure moments, but I’m not sure any spot is more perfect than Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. You could easily spend an entire day here. It has miles of hiking trails, places to spot whales or sea lions, and great scuba diving experiences with large and diverse fish populations


Dinner at Monterey Fish House

Since you’ve already had the best chowder in Monterey, why not end your trip with the best seafood in Monterey? Monterey Fish House has some of the freshest seafood I’ve ever eaten. The grilled calamari is delicious, and their specials looked amazing, but the one thing you shouldn’t miss is the cioppino. Just be sure to make a reservation – it fills up fast.


Where to Stay in Monterey

There are some really great options for hotels in Monterey and the surrounding area to meet all budgets. Because I spent most of my trip outside (have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Monterey?), I was mostly looking for places with comfy beds so I’d be well-rested for the next day. Luckily, my favorites had even more going for them too. Here are my recommendations:


Discovery Inn (Budget)

The Discovery Inn in Seaside is a small, family-run place located about 4 miles from Fisherman’s Wharf – you’ll need your car (or an Uber) to get around. That being said, it’s a pretty comfortable stay. The rooms are basic but clean and have everything you’d need including a mini-fridge and tub. There’s also free WiFi and parking, which is a major win if you ask me. It doesn’t have any extra frills but is a great option if you’re looking for a budget place to stay that isn’t too far from Monterey.

Read Trip Advisor reviews | Book a Stay



Portola Hotel and Spa (Mid-Range)

If you’re looking for somewhere a little more luxurious and in the center of town, look no further than the Portola Hotel and Spa. It’s less than a 5-minute walk from Fisherman’s Wharf and a 20-minute walk (or take a short trolley ride) to both Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which makes it the perfect central location for exploring. My room was incredibly spacious and comfortable – I had such a hard time getting out of bed in the morning! The room had everything I could have wanted and more: complimentary fruit, chocolate, and water on arrival, a gorgeous balcony with a view of the harbor, a giant flat-screen TV, and perfect shower water pressure (important!). I was incredibly pleased with my stay at The Portola. 

Read Trip Advisor reviews | Book a Stay


Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (Luxury)

What’s not to love about the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa? The rooms are gorgeous, with really comfortable beds and spacious bathrooms. If you can, book an ocean-facing room and spend the mornings sipping tea from your balcony and looking for sea life. But if not, don’t fret. There are tons of common areas that boast these amazing views too. The onsite restaurant is as good as it gets, the rooftop spa is like being in another world, and they even have Peletons in the fitness center! There’s also live music most evenings. But what makes this the best luxury hotel in Monterey is the service. From the moment you step foot on the property, you’re treated like a star.

Read Trip Advisor reviews | Book a Stay


What to see in Monterey California in 4 days and beyond

No matter how many days in Monterey you have, there’s always more to see and do. Here are a few more ideas for things to do in Monterey:


Go Whale Watching

Monterey Itinerary

The great thing about Monterey is that there are whales right off the coast for most of the year. If whale watching is on your bucket list (as it should be!), be sure to pre-book a guided tour like this one. They fill up fast, and if you book online you’re likely to get a better price than if you walk up to a kiosk at Fisherman’s Wharf. 


Eat Your Way Through Carmel

Things to do in Monterey

Get to know Carmel via your stomach by taking a guided food tour. There are tons of options, whether you want to try a classic food tour of local restaurants or do the baking yourself. Whatever tour you choose, you’re guaranteed to leave with a happy stomach and newfound perspectives on the history of Carmel.


Enjoy the Outdoors

With arts, beaches, nature, and great food, Monterey, California may be the perfect city. Click to read why Monterey should be your new favorite travel destination! Grab Your Moment and GO!|

There’s no shortage of things to do outside in Monterey. It’s really bike-friendly, and you can’t go wrong renting a bike from one of the many companies around Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf and riding along the coast. You could also go snorkeling, scuba diving, or kayaking. If you don’t have your own equipment, there are rental places for that around Cannery Row. And if hiking or chilling on the beach is your jam, there are beaches for days. Check out the Point Pinos Lighthouse, Pacific Grove Shoreline Refuge, or Asilomar State Beach.


Ride a Funicular

Though not technically in Monterey, for anyone traveling down from San Francisco, Shadowbrook in Capitola is a fun place to stop. It’s a classic, old-school California restaurant perched high on the cliff overlooking the ocean and you get to ride a funicular to get to it!


Follow in Steinbeck’s Footprints

Monterey Itinerary

Literature lovers rejoice! Transport yourself to the setting of your favorite Steinbeck novel right in Monterey County. The Pine Inn was once frequented by famous writers like Steinbeck and Upton Sinclair, and Los Laureles Grade was the road featured in The Pastures of Heaven. For an even deeper dive into the literary world, visit the National Steinbeck Center in the famous writer’s hometown of Salinas.


Scoot Around Monterey

Things to do in Monterey

For a fun way to get to know Monterey, how about signing up for an electric scooter tour? This isn’t one of those where you’re following a guide around though. Instead, you get your scooter, helmet, and a GPS app that lets you set your own pace and decide what’s most interesting to you! 


Visit Big Sur

Things to do in Monterey

Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the world, and it has so much to do for art lovers, nature lovers, and food lovers that it really could rate its own trip. But if you’ve got the time to spend a few days on the way to or from Monterey, I highly recommend stopping in Big Sur


There you have it, the best 3 day Monterey itinerary for first time visitors. Tell me: How many days in Monterey do you think is enough? What’s on your list of top things to do in Monterey California?


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69 thoughts on “The Best 3 Days in Monterey, California Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

  1. Erin Klema says:

    I stayed in Monterey during my road trip up the California coast earlier this year. Unfortunately, that was where I crashed on my longest day of driving, and I had to get to Napa by lunchtime the next day. So, I didn’t really get to see Monterey outside my hotel. But, I did do the 17 Mile Drive, which was well worth the $10 entrance fee. Highly recommend it to you when you go!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Sad that you didn’t get to spend too much time there but hopefully you get a chance to go back sometime soon! I’m really excited to go and thanks for that tip about the 17 Mile Drive – I’m definitely going to do it now! 🙂

  2. The Roaming Renegades says:

    Sounds like an awesome place to visit, especially as we are keen climbers and love the outdoors. Will definitely be on our list of places to visit once we travel to that side of the US!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yes, there are TONS of spectacular hikes with gorgeous views out there. I hope you get a chance to make it to the west coast soon!

  3. Tara says:

    We adore going to California but have never made it to Monterey. I have got to change that, so much to see and do, great post!!

    • Sally E says:

      I’m a California girl myself so I’m a bit biased when I say it’s the best state :p. But yes, it’s definitely worth considering for your next visit 🙂

  4. Christina says:

    I really enjoyed Monterey when we visited a few years ago. It has so many sites to visit. You can have a great time inside and outside. Our favourite was the Monterey aquarium for sure!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      I can’t believe it has taken me this long to visit – crazy! But I’m definitely visiting the aquarium – I’ve only ever heard good things about it!

  5. Chantell Collins says:

    I had no idea Monterey County included to much! And so many great places! We visited Big Sur on our recent road trip from Seattle to Dallas,and although we drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and stopped off in Big Sur – we missed Monterey. I have been once before and remember enjoying a delicious bread bowl of Clam Chowder. I have heard so many great things about the aquarium and would love to go back and explore more. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Surprisingly me neither! I knew about the aquarium an have heard great things about Big Sur, but ended up discovering a HUGE list of things to do! That’s awesome that you were able to stop in Big Sur though – the photos I’ve seen look so gorgeous! Also bread bowls are SO good.

      Thanks for entering the giveaway – the aquarium is considered a must-see so I hope you win one of the tickets :).

  6. Buddy The Traveling Monkey says:

    I have a lot of military friends that are stationed in Monterey and they all love it. I’ve always wanted to visit, since it looks so nice. I didn’t realize there was also so much to do!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      It’s crazy how much there is to do here! I initially thought it was just a weekend getaway spot, but quickly realized that I could easily spend a week or more here. You should definitely visit when you get a chance 🙂

  7. Vyjay Rao says:

    Monterey seems like the place for me! great outdoors, ocean and Steinbeck locales all rolled into one is indeed an irresistible package.

  8. Lara Dunning says:

    I visited Monterey as a kid. I would love to go back as an adult and see the sights. Love your beach shot!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Thank you :). And yes, I often find I appreciate places so much more as an adult. I hope you get a chance to visit again soon!

  9. Tales From a Fork travel blog says:

    I am a huge fan of picnicking so I would go to the beach and picnic. Also, that eight course tasting menu sounds fabulous. So much to do!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Picnics are SO great, especially with scenic views and good weather! Definitely worth a visit for next time you’re in California 🙂

  10. Kate Carter Hickey says:

    A giveaway!! Man – I wish I could participate. I’m a huge Steinbeck fan. I haven’t been to Carmel since I was 8 or 9 years old. I wonder how much it has changed.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Shame you can’t participate :(. I’m with you – I read so much Steinbeck in high school that it might be a crime not to visit Salinas. I hope you get a chance to revisit soon!

  11. Luxury Travel Diva says:

    I always enjoy reading your posts, personality just shines through! I’m a foodie so love to read about delicious meals and a picnic is always a good idea!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Thanks so much! 🙂
      And yessss I’m SO excited to picnic and eat my way through the county – the seafood is supposed to be spectacular. Thanks for commenting 🙂

  12. Stephanie Rose says:

    Purple sand is on my bucket list. I’m doing pink sand next month. And I love aquariums!!! I have a cousin based in CA so I might need to visit and then head off to Monterey. What a great and informative post.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Oh whaaaat, where is there pink sand??
      The Monterey Aquarium is supposed to be one of the best in the country so you should definitely visit when you come to California next :). Glad you liked the post!

      • Stephanie Rose says:

        I’m going to Barbados but a few other places also have pink sand. Maybe Bahamas?!? The sand in Barbados is pink because of crushed animal she’ll that is ground by the waves and mixed in if I recall correctly! I can’t wait to see it!!

  13. Tara Schatz says:

    We never seem to make it farther south than San Francisco, but the aquarium has been on our list for a really long time. Thanks for the tips. I’m pinning for our next California road trip.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      I know the feeling! Somehow I’ve never made it here despite constant drives between Southern and Northern California! Sounds like you need to add Monterey to your next road trip as well 🙂

  14. Esther of Local Adventurer says:

    Ooh now I need to try more of their food up there. I do remember going to a really yummy restaurant in Monterey, but I can’t remember the name of it. Aubergine sounds amazing!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yessss I’m so excited to eat all the good seafood up there! If you remember the name of the place, please let me know! 🙂

  15. Paige Brown says:

    Wow! You weren’t kidding when you said that it has something for everyone! It hit a few of my favorite things for sure: hiking, nature, food & culture! Are the beaches here more rugged like Northern California or sandy like Souther California? I love rugged coastlines! Thanks for giving me another reason to visit California! If I weren’t so far away, I’d enter for those tickets for sure. Cheers!

    • Sally E says:

      Bummer that you’re so far away!
      There’s a great mix of beaches – both rugged and sandy depending on which you visit, which is awesome. You should definitely make tit out to California soon! 🙂

  16. Mags says:

    Love the picture of the Jelly Fish. I really want to explore more of California, I’ve really only been to LA and its such a beautiful and diverse state.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yessss I’m quite bad at exploring California myself to be totally honest and I live here! :p There are so many great places the state has to offer.

  17. Cassie @ Cass Travels says:

    I haven’t been out West in ages, but this makes me want to hop on a plane! There’s so much to explore in California and could I ever use some sun 🙂

  18. Alok Singhal says:

    I was there last month and visited Pfeiffer beach, Point Lobos, did the 17 mile drive, and much more.

    Loved this post of yours, there sure is too much to see in Monterey.

    Hope those who win get to see it soon.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      That’s awesome! Glad to hear you had a great time and I also hope the winner gets to experience what Monterey has to offer 🙂

  19. Dee Caliman says:

    I would love to win the tickets! I just graduated college & am planning a trip to Asilomar. Asilomar in pacific grove would be my suggestion to add to the video! It’s a very special place to stay & explore. Thank you!?

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Thanks for your suggestion and thanks for entering, Dee! Congratulations on your graduation and best of luck :).

    • Sally E says:

      Hi Dee! Congratulations! You were selected by See Monterey as a winner of a pair of tickets to the Monterey Aquarium :). Can you please send me an email ( with your First Name, Last Name, Address, and Phone Number so I can submit them to the tourism board? Please do so no later than Monday, July 4th. Congratulations and thanks again for entering the giveaway!

    • Sally E says:

      Hi Dee!

      Friendly reminder to please send me an email ( with your first and last name, address, and phone number so See Monterey can send you your pair of tickets to the Monterey Aquarium! The deadline to submit the info is Monday, July 4th. Congratulations and thanks again for entering the giveaway!

  20. Eva Casey says:

    I just drove from LA to San Jose on the PCH, so I can attest to what a great drive it is!! Unfortunately, we were on a bit of a time crunch, so we didn’t see too much of Monterey proper. We did stop for some amazing photo opps near Big Sur, though! The good news is I know it won’t be the last time I’ll drive that magnificent route 🙂 Thank you for all the info on Monterey!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      I’ve done part of the drive before but never made it up to Monterey, so I’m really excited! Everyone has raved about Big Sur so far and I loved your snaps as well! Thanks for reading and commenting 🙂

    • Sally E says:

      I’m going in a couple of weeks and I’m so excited! You should definitely come visit when you get a chance 🙂

  21. Suze @LuxuryColumnist says:

    I haven’t yet been to California but I’d love to visit, my hubby says it’s amazing. The aquarium looks amazing and I love the open book statue

  22. Julie DenOuden says:

    There is absolutely no easy way to answer this question because honestly after watching the #GrabYourMoment video, I want to go and spend a week up in Monterey! But if I had to only do a day’s worth of activities I would drive up the coast from LA the day before and get a hotel so that I could get my one day started bright and early with some of that delicious food…then I’d want to do some whale watching, stop by the aquarium and maybe squeeze in some hiking for those amazing views…and then I’d spend the evening wishing I had more than just one day in Monterey to #grabyourmoment

    • Sally E says:

      I know, it’s definitely more than a little challenging to decide what to do with just one day! That being said, your one day itinerary sounds perfect and so much fun! Thanks for entering and best of luck :). Hopefully you’ll win and be able to #GrabYourMoment for much longer than a day!

  23. Miriam - londonkitchendiaries says:

    We have stopped in Monterey on our way to San Francisco but that is years and years ago. Would love to explore more especially after reading your post!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      That’s great that you managed to go! Not a lot of people make a point to visit (myself included, #guilty). I hope you get a chance to revisit soon!

  24. Francesca says:

    Well, I can say that I’m definitely more interested in visiting Monterey after reading this! I didn’t realize it’s in Central California; I thought it was further south. (Can you tell I’m not really familiar with California geography?) Between the outdoorsy stuff and the foodie finds, it seems like my kinda place! Add in the literary element and my inner nerd rejoices 🙂

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Haha don’t worry, my geography skills are terrible as well which is seriously embarrassing considering how much time I spend looking at maps!
      But yes, I hope you get a chance to visit soon! It’s gorgeous and let’s you embrace your inner nerd, athlete, and food lover all in the same day :D. Win!

  25. Leslie @therealuganda says:

    John Steinbeck all the way. People may come for the beaches, hiking, and (of course) the food – but I’m a culture vulture… let’s get people learning something about American history and literature. Thanks for the feature!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Agreed! It’s definitely not something that’s mentioned too frequently but his literature is so important to American history and to Monterey County culture as well! After reading a lot of his books in high school, I’m eager to see the “real life” versions for myself :). Thanks for reading and commenting!

  26. Grassroots Nomad says:

    I would #grabmymoment by spending my time learning everything I can about their amazing conservation practices. Save our oceans!

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yes, I can’t believe I forgot to mention that! I LOVE that Monterey makes a point to focus on conservation and protecting the environment. Thanks for entering and I hope you win so you can grab your moment!

    • Sally E says:

      Hi Grassroots Nomad! Congratulations! You were selected by See Monterey as a winner of a pair of tickets to the Monterey Aquarium :). Can you please send me an email ( with your First Name, Last Name, Address, and Phone Number so I can submit them to the tourism board? Please do so no later than Monday, July 4th. Congratulations and thanks again for entering the giveaway!

  27. Lisa says:

    Love this! I would definitely #grabmymoment by going to the Steinbeck Center, that’s my favorite author and I love the grapes of wrath, Of Mine and Men, etc. Plus with my kid going to Santa Cruz for school, I will have time to check out the neighboring county!

    • Sally E says:

      That’s an excellent choice! I wish I’d gotten a chance to visit the Steinbeck Center this time around, but I’ll have to save it for my next trip :). And yes, Santa Cruz isn’t far away at all, so it’s a great excuse to explore the neighboring county. Thanks for entering and I hope you win so you can grab your moment!

    • Sally E says:

      Hi Lisa! Congratulations! You were selected by See Monterey as a winner of a pair of tickets to the Monterey Aquarium :). Can you please send me an email ( with your First Name, Last Name, Address, and Phone Number so I can submit them to the tourism board? Please do so ASAP. Congratulations and thanks again for entering the giveaway!

  28. Jay says:

    With the polaroid secured?, I’d go on an ultimate surf & culinary excursion. First stop: Asilomar State Beach to catch some waves and soak in the panoramic coastal views and ahhhh my favorite way to dine: a cooking class at Stone Creek Kitchen followed by a major indulge! ? #Dip&Dine ???

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Oooh sounds like the perfect itinerary to me, especially if a polaroid is involved to capture all the moments! And nothing like cooking your food then eating it too – definitely makes it an enjoyable experience :). Thanks for entering the giveaway and good luck!

  29. Practical Wanderlust says:

    I absolutely adore Monterey! It’s one of our favorite close to home weekend trips away from San Francisco.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Could you believe that this was my first and only visit, despite growing up in SoCal? I’m definitely going to go back! It really is a lovely weekend trip!

  30. Lisa Smith says:

    Totally agree with you Monterey is one of the favorite travel destination for many people including me as well. I have visited it only once by I like it very much and planning to visit it again. The best thing about it which I like the most is it wine tasting rooms. They are damn good and have lot of variety to choose.

    • Sally from Passport & Plates says:

      Yeah! It’s amazing how much there is to do. I feel like I barely put a dent. I also have only been once, which is a tad ridiculous considering it’s a 5 hour drive away. I hope you get a chance to return sometime soon 🙂

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