Indulge Your Love of the Sea in Monterey
By Ashley Stinson
One of California’s oldest cities, the city of Monterey, is located on Monterey Bay—which is south of Santa Cruz. This area has a rich history. At various points in time, Monterey has been a fertile hunting ground for the native peoples of California, the Spanish capital of Alta and Baja California, a busy Mexican port town, and the place where California was claimed for the United States. Historic, scenic, and bursting with amazing restaurants, Monterey is perfect for a day trip or a weekend stay.
Monterey Bay is an ecologically rich area with lots of wildlife. If you want to go whale watching or see dolphins, boat tours of the bay are available for you to do just that. Sea lions and harbor seals often sun themselves on the rocks around the city, and are easy to observe if you keep a respectful distance from the animals. But the best place to experience the full depth of Monterey marine life is at the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium.
Located at the end of Monterey’s historic Cannery Row, Monterey Bay Aquarium boasts over 550 species across its nearly 200 exhibits. If you’re interested in ocean life, Monterey Bay Aquarium is the place to go. Their Monterey Bay Habitat exhibit offers a glimpse at the sort of sea life that’s native to the bay, including the California halibut and the broadnose sevengill shark. At the Rocky Shore exhibit you can view crabs and anemones, or pet a friendly bat ray. If you’re interested in mammal marine life, Monterey Bay Aquarium is also home to a world-famous sea otter exhibit, where you can watch these lively animals caper about. Monterey Bay Aquarium isn’t just a place to view animals, however; the aquarium is also a center for research and conservation efforts to preserve the bay’s unique ecology and the ocean at large. When you spend money at the aquarium, you’re donating to a worthy cause
to preserve our oceans for all those who come after us.
Not far from Monterey Bay Aquarium is Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Once upon a time, the wharf hosted fishermen from all around the globe who came to Monterey for its high-quality, plentiful seafood. These days, Old Fisherman’s Wharf is still a great place to get some seafood. Among the candy shops and souvenir stores that line the wharf, you’ll also find a number of restaurants offering fish and seafood. Try some sustainably sourced fish at Scales Seafood & Steaks, or indulge yourself in some succulent crab at Old Fisherman’s Grotto—just to name a few of the restaurants available to choose from. No matter where you go, if you’re dining at Old Fisherman’s Wharf you’re sure to find yourself enjoying a breathtaking
Everywhere you turn in Monterey, there are more scenic views to take in. No trip to Monterey is complete without taking some time to admire nature’s beauty, and there are few places which offer you more ways to take in the view. Glass bottom boat tours of the bay are available if you can’t get enough of Monterey Bay’s unique marine life.
If you prefer to experience your majestic ocean vistas from behind the wheel of a car, 17-Mile Drive is a coast-hugging road with views of crashing waves, lonely cypress trees, and jutting rocks.
If you’re looking for a gentle stroll with a great view of the Point Pinos Lighthouse, take the Pacific Grove Ocean Trail that runs between Monterey and and the city of Pacific Grove. Just as the Monterey Bay is rich in sea life, it’s also rich in views that will take your breath away.