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Monterey Bay is one of the most gorgeous seaside cities in all of California, and it also offers some of the most exciting attractions in the area. From learning about marine wildlife at the Aquarium to taking in a scenic drive along the Bay, this 3-day trip is perfect for adventure lovers of any kind!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Located at the north end of the historic Cannery Row district, this beautiful aquarium opens up the world of marine life to thousands of annual visitors with incredible displays, indoor-outdoor exhibits, and amazing animals. One of the main attractions at the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the Kelp Forest, a massive 333,000-gallon 28-foot tall tank featuring leopard sharks, red octopi, and a variety of exotic fish. Even more impressive is the Open Seas exhibit, a 1.2 million gallon saltwater tank with a 90-foot viewing window (pictured above) and housing green sea turtles, Pacific bluefin tuna, pelagic stingrays, moon jellies, and intimidating scalloped hammerhead sharks.
Princess Monterey Whale Watching Tour
On your journey, you will learn all about the natural history and biology of marine wildlife while seeing gray, blue, or humpback whales, depending on the time of year, as well as dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, otters, seals, and the like. There will be narration by certified marine biologist and naturalists along the way. Aside from seeing the amazing marine wildlife, you will also get unbeatable views of the Old Fishermans Wharf, Cannery Row, and Pebble Beach. Monterey Bay is one of the only places in the world to watch whales year-round, this area considered a protected marine sanctuary, the perfect spot to teach your group about ocean conservation.
Like nearby Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf is a wonderful dining and entertainment destination in Monterey. Situated directly on the beautiful waterfront with the lulling lapping of the Pacific waves to keep you company, your group can shop to your hearts' content, dine on the best seafood, and explore history all in one place. Whale watch from the shores or charter a boat to get right out in the action; participate in a fishing trip, or go out in the popular glass-bottomed boats to see below the surface of the ocean. Grab some handmade saltwater taffy at Carousel Candies or grab a selection of freshwater pearls, taken right from the shores off Fisherman's Wharf. You'll find a delicious array of seafood eateries plus a myriad of wonderful restaurants serving international cuisines such as Paluca Trattoria, Cafe Fina, and Crepes of Brittany.
The Dali Expo
This showcase, within the Museum of Monterey near the Fishermans Wharf, holds over 580 works total, including lithographs, etchings, sculptures, and tapestries (all copies) from the famous surrealist Salvador Dali. Not only will you get to see the famous works, but you will also learn quite a bit about the man behind the beautiful madness himself. Learn all about how this famous Spaniard moved to Pebble Beach during the wartime of the 1940s, this area being his only home outside of Spain. The showcase was formerly called Dali17, as a tribute to nearby 17-Mile Drive, where he both lived and worked.
Coastal Recreation Trail
Stretching 18 miles from Castroville in the North to Pacific Grove in the South, the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is a highly popular paved path that allows locals and guests alike to see the best sights of Monterey Bay, both attraction-wise and nature-wise. Your group can walk, bike, kayak, sightsee, and picnic along the way, as well as gain easy access to some of the most popular attractions in the area. The Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Fisherman's Wharf, and American Tin Outlet are all right on the trail, as are many great eateries. Rent a bike, take a kayak tour, or even rent a pair of in-line skates and take in all the sights and sounds of the Coastal Recreation Trail, you will probably even see a sea lion or two along the way!
Monterey State Beach
This scenic coastline starts near Fisherman's Wharf and stretches all the way to Seaside, providing miles of beach fun to be had. Groups can surf, fish, kayak, swim, scuba dive, or paraglide while here, depending on how much time you have to spend and what kind of adventure you are looking for. You can also spend some time beachcombing for sea glass and other treasures, exploring the many tide pools around the coast, or if the wind is just right, renting and flying a kite!
Dubbed one of the worlds most scenic drives, Monterey Bay's 17-Mile Drive is undoubtedly one of the most stunning experiences to be had while visiting the area! This trip is known for a few key sites such as the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, The Lodge, Spanish Bay, Point Joe, Fanshell Beach, and Crocker Grove. There are 7 championship courses along the way, one of them the first public course to stage the US Open. Spend some time at the Pebble Beach visitor center and learn all about the century-long history of The Lodge, or perhaps just get dining options information. The Bench, Tap Room and Stillwater are among the exquisite cuisine experiences here in Pebble Beach, home of 'Big Flavors, Global Influence, and Renowned Chefs'.
Bixby Creek Bridge
Sometimes referred to as Bixby Canyon Bridge, this bridge is one of the most photographed in California, dubbed 'Big Sur's version of the Golden Gate'. Bixby Creek Bridge is located just 18 miles south of Monterey and Carmel by the Sea, in what is considered Big Sur on Highway 1. It is certainly the most 'Instagrammed' feature along this coastline, a must-see road trip spot for anyone in the area. The best views can be seen on the South end around sunset. This side is often times called Hurricane Point, with plenty of wide-open views to enjoy. The bridge is such a popular site that it has been seen on postcards, stamps, and several car commercials/car cameos in movies.