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3 days full of all the best educational attractions Monterey has to offer, this itinerary is perfect for student groups looking to get a bit more out of their vacation than the typical sightseeing experience (though the sights will be outstanding as well).
A historic waterfront section of Monterey once home to several sardine canning facilities, Cannery Row is now the premier entertainment and dining district. Now a world-renowned tourist attraction and premium vacation destination, two-mile-long Cannery Row continues to draw visitors to its wide array of boutiques, galleries, restaurants, cozy and first-class accommodations, acclaimed spas, fabulous aquarium and excellent recreational opportunities all set against the shining backdrop of the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary. Whether you and your student group are looking to indulge in a day of luxurious spa treatment, sensational shopping, or the explorers among you are ready to hit the water, everyone in your travel group will find plenty to occupy them at this fabulous Central Coast getaway!
Point Pinos Lighthouse
Welcome to Point Pinos Lighthouse, the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. This lighthouse was first established in 1855 and is still actively being used by the United States Coast Gaurd, and is also a well-known landmark on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places list. The Victorian-era building is set on the northernmost tip of the rocky Monterey Peninsula coast, it's entirety known as 'an emblem of Pacific Grove'. While here your group will be able to self tour the facility, including the living quarters and tower itself. There are highly informed docents onsite to help answer any questions you may have along the way.
Lovers Point Park
This park is part of the state marine reserve system, one out of four small marine protected areas in the region. Historically it has seen over 100 years of popular shoreline recreation use, so popular due to its reliable waves, amazing views, and constant supply of viewable local wildlife. While here your group can boat, swim, surf, picnic, play volleyball or enjoy a great photography opportunity. The well-groomed 4.4-acre grassy park space is located atop a rocky cliff by the beach, with many guests enjoying climbing and relaxing on the rocks themselves. There is a small children's pool, onsite snack bar, nearby Beach House Restaurant, and concrete pier to enjoy as well!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Ranked as one of the best aquariums in the country, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must-see attraction in Central California. 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. This is the first aquarium tank to successfully grow a forest of California Giant Kelp, hence the name. 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.
Monterey's historic fish market and commercial wharf, Fisherman's Wharf is now primarily a tourist attraction bringing in thousands of visitors a year for the dining and entertainment attractions available. 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.
Path of History
The Monterey Path of History is the 2-mile trail of historic Monterey sites located within Monterey Old Town, otherwise known as Monterey State Historic Park. This is an area that presents and interprets places and objects of state historic significance, with a total of 55 sites within the 2-mile radius. The area shows in real time the historic pattern of Spanish rule to Mexican rule to American rule over the years. Your group will be able to follow the yellow tiles in the sidewalk to see the trail or download a map or phone app to help guide you along the way. The trail is a ‘unique and hands-on chance to explore California’s rich heritage’, plus you will have several chances to learn more detailed history at the many different house museums and buildings along the way.
Pinnacles National Park
Pinnacles National Park protects over 26,000 acres of rock formations created by an ancient extinct volcano. Originally, the park was established as a national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1908 though, in 2013, President Obama signed it into full national park status. The park's wide expanse is separated into two halves, divided by the rock pinnacles. Rock climbers head to the west stretch where they'll find high rock walls perfect for scaling, while travelers to the east discover cool shade and refreshing watering holes. Hiking trails are perhaps the most popular activity and allow visitors to also enjoy animal viewing and bird watching. Learn more about the park's geology and wildlife through ranger-led programs, explore the Talus caves formed centuries ago by volcanic activity, camp under the stars, and more!