Monterey Beyond the Aquarium: Whales, Wine, and More!

One thing we love about travel is the ability to visit familiar spots and experience something new. We recently spent a weekend in Monterey, somewhere we have visited several times, and decided to change it up a bit (we normally head to the aquarium). We ended up having the BEST time and discovered a newfound love and appreciation for this part of the California Coast. Here's some of the new things we did that we would HIGHLY recommend!

Whale Watching

This area is a mecca for whale watchers, no matter what time of year! (mid December - April for blue whales, mid April through mid December for Humpbacks) We went with Discovery Whale Watch Tour and they took us on a two-hour tour that brought us close to 6 different whales! It was AMAZING!! We also saw tons of sea otters, seals, and jellyfish (the jellies were a bit terrifying). The boat can be rocky, so if you get seasick definitely prepare yourself. But the experience is 100% worth it!

John Steinbeck Center

John Steinbeck fans? This is something you DEFINITELY don't want to miss! Located in Salinas, just outside of Monterey, you can visit the center that is dedicated to John and his literature. The museum is incredibly well-done (and fun!), and you could easily spend a whole day learning about the man behind all the classics. Whether you're taking a quick break or wrapping up your time at the center, just a mile away Steinbeck's home that's now a restaurant! While we didn't have time to eat there, we heard the food is awesome! And how cute is his home?


Wine Tasting in Monterey Wine Country

Did you know they made wine in the Monterey area? We didn't. Apparently the warm sun, cool fog, good soil, and the topography of the surrounding land and sea have combined to create a vintner's paradise. With over 60 tasting rooms, it's a fantastic spot to spend your day (or just a couple of hours)! Known for their Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Riesling, each winery has an amazing selection. We drove along the River Road Wine Trail one afternoon, where we indulged in the Odonata, Scheid, and Hahn wineries. Go out and explore for yourself, as Monterey County has some great wines!

Exploring Cannery Row and Nearby Treasures

While we've been to Monterey several times, we've never actually just walked around the surrounding area! Weird, right? Our favorite walk was from the wharf to Cannery Row, and here's what we recommend that you do. Park at the wharf, and turn left. Take the trail along the water and you'll walk past fun shops, restaurants, along the historic Cannery Row, and even the aquarium (You can easily spend a whole day there - it's incredible)! We walked to First Awakenings for breakfast and back, and it was the perfect way to start the day! If you have a bike, this would be an AWESOME spot to bike ride!

These are just a few of our favorites activities that took our trip to Monterey to the next level. If you have anything to add, let us know! We're looking for new spots to visit next time!

This post was sponsored by Monterey CountyAll opinions expressed here are our own.