Dreaming of a vacation on the California Coast? This Monterey Travel Guide will help you plan the perfect family vacation.
Thank you to the team at See Monterey for hosting our trip.
Our summer of family vacations continues! A couple weeks ago, we headed up to Northern California to visit my family ( I grew up right outside of San Francisco). On our way home, we stopped for a few nights in one of my favorite parts of the California coast…..Monterey!
Growing up, my family visited Monterey almost every summer….it's a picturesque town that is perfect for relaxing with your kids. The weather is amazing in the summer months, and it's filled with fun family activities! I wanted to share a few of our favorite parts of the trip……so that you can plan your own Monterey trip agenda.
Monterey Travel Guide
Where to Stay:
Portola Hotel and Spa: One of the first eco-friendly hotels on the Central California Coast……the Portola Hotel and Spa was PERFECT for a family getaway. Between their stunning lobby, amazing onsite dining options (Peter Bs — the onsite brew pub is a must visit), and views of the water…..it was the ideal Monterey hotel. We loved the view and the proximity to Cannery Row, and Lydia loved that they gave her chocolate chip cookies when we checked in. They also have a really fun program for children called the Portola Pirate Program. Kids ages 3-12 can participate when staying at the hotel…….during their first visit they'll get their very own treasure map that guides them on a treasure hunt exploring the history of Monterey. Lydia REFUSED to leave Monterey until we completed the entire thing!
Where to Eat:
Monterey has an amazing amount of great restaurants. We ate at some GEMS on our trip……..
Peter B's Brewpub: This brew pub inside the Portola Hotel has GREAT food (and amazing beer) but they also have an awesome breakfast. My husband loved their IPA, and we grabbed a couple pints of it each night to bring back up to our room!
The C Restaurant + Bar: Looking for great view and amazing views? The C Restaurant + Bar is inside of the Intercontinental The Clement smack dab in the middle of Cannery Row. Our first night in Monterey we did a twenty minute walk down the coastal path from our hotel to Cannery Row and popped in for dinner. We got to see whales swimming from our table, how cool is THAT?!? I had some of the best fish I've had in YEARS, and my husband couldn't stop talking about the filet.
Boardwalk Sub Shop: Our second morning in Monterey, we ventured into the downtown area to visit their children's museum….and popped into the Boardwalk Sub Shop for lunch. This gem is a MUST visit while you're in town. It's family owned and they make their bread onsite (it's to die for). From veggie sandwiches to a philly cheesesteak that will change your LIFE, there is something for everyone on their menu (they even have gluten free options / bread). And bonus? THEY DELIVER. So that evening when your family is beat and just wants to go back to the hotel? This is your best bet (you'll thank me when the time comes).
Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar: Flaherty's is in the neighboring town of Carmel, and they were perfect for our last meal of the trip. From the amazing appetizers (the mussels are DELISH) to my ahi tuna…..the food was fresh and flavorful. They also have a stellar kids menu and even gave Lydia wikistix to play with! Carmel is an adorable town, so we explored a little bit after we ate.
What to Do:
Walk to Cannery Row: The first night we were in town, we took a twenty minute stroll from our hotel to Cannery Row. This historic area of Monterey still has a TON of the original canning factory buildings, and is a ton of fun to explore (plus there is some great shopping)!
Dennis the Menace Park: When I asked on social media where to take Lydia in Monterey….and this was the answer I got over and over again. This adorable playground was a ton of fun and perfect for burning off some steam before our drive back to Los Angeles.
My Museum: My Museum (aka the Monterey County Youth Museum) was an amazing new discovery on this trip. This adorable children's museum is a TON of fun for toddlers. They have interactive displays, a dress up area with a stage, and there was even a concert while we were there!
Monterey Bay Aquarium: Growing up, the Monterey Bay Aquarium was one of my favorite places….and it was amazing to be able to take Lydia for a visit. From seeing the sea otter feeding, to the touch tide pools, to the penguin habitat…….it was just magical. We learned about all of the research their scientists are doing, and left wanting to come back for more!
Are you planning a family vacation? Let us know what you plan to visit from our Monterey Travel Guide!