Things to do in
Monterey

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Our most recommended things to do in Monterey

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

1. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching

2. Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching

Enjoy the wildlife, then relax as you take in the beautiful sunset over Monterey Bay on a sightseeing cruise. Meet your guide at the wharf and climb aboard the boat to start your tour. Spot whales, dolphins, and a wide variety of marine wildlife in Monterey Bay. Whales are seen every day in this area. Listen to your marine biologist or naturalist guide as they share interesting information about the animals you see, the natural history of the local area, and conservation. Witness scientific research in action as marine biologists and naturalists collect sighting data to learn about the local wildlife. Then, sit back and relax as the sun sets, reflected in the water, providing lasting memories and incredible photo opportunities. Finally, return to the wharf and dry land.

Pacific Coastal Highway Tour to Monterey & Carmel

3. Pacific Coastal Highway Tour to Monterey & Carmel

Travel along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. This full-day tour takes you along California’s stunning coast to experience the beauty of Highway 1. When you arrive at the Monterey peninsula, follow the 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach to visit the Lone Cypress, where your guide will stop for you to take photos of the rugged, beautiful coast. As your tour continues, visit Monterey city where you can walk down Cannery Row, or visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium (for an additional cost). From Monterey, your tour continues to the coastal town Pacific Grove, which features charming Victorian-era buildings; and the artsy Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you will visit the historic mission established in 1770. On the way back to San Francisco, drive through Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the United States; and, as you circle round the north end of San Francisco, catch a glimpse of the Seal Rocks in the distance.

Monterey: Half-Day Electric Bike Rental

4. Monterey: Half-Day Electric Bike Rental

Begin your adventure at the Monterey Coastal Recreational Trail, near the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Enjoy a great place to practice with the bike's throttle and to experience a low-level of pedal-assist. You'll soon forget the controls and begin to marvel at the breathtaking ocean vistas. See harbor seals on the beach near the Hopkin's Marine Station, where the sweeping vistas start. After a few minutes, arrive at Lover's Point Park (featured filming location for "Big Little Lies."). There, hop on the wide and scenic Ocean View Boulevard, and share the road with slow-moving cars for a short while. Make sure to stop at Kissing Rock, Pacific Grove's beautiful little sea arch. Take your own pace as you ride this scenic stretch of coastline. Pass the John Denver Memorial, Point Pinos Lighthouse, Asilomar Beach, and the Pacific Grove Links Golf Course. After Asilomar beach, experience the full power of the electric motor. Go full throttle as the road pulls inland and climbs a long hill to the entrance of Pebble Beach. Turn right on 17 Mile Drive, and take the bike path back down to the ocean. Scan the golf courses and yards for deer — you're sure to see a few along the ride. In Pebble Beach, ride past even more stunning vistas: Spanish Bay, Point Joe, Restless Sea, and China Rock. Make sure to stop at Bird Rock (public restrooms here) to watch the sea lions splash and sunbathe. Hop back on your e-bike and continue along the ocean to the Lone Cypress. To spot some sea otters, stop at Fanshell Beach Overlook and Cypress Point Lookout. Here the true mansions start. Follow the road that winds through 300-year-old Cypress Trees and some of the most expensive homes in Pebble Beach. Suddenly, break out into a clearing and see the Lone Cypress perched on its stony outcropping. Your next stop should be the Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point where a short walk brings you to a beautifully sculpted coastline. For a little "nurture," continue on just a little further to Pebble Beach Lodge for food, restrooms, amd shopping. From here, you can either ride back the same route, take a shortcut, or continue on to Carmel to explore its coastline and cottages.

Monterey/Carmel: Wine Country Tour

5. Monterey/Carmel: Wine Country Tour

Take a wine tour of California's Monterey County, one of the largest premium grape producers in the state. Learn about local wine production and taste sample some wines. Get picked up from your hotel and listen to some interesting commentary on your way out to the vineyards. Admire the beautiful Californian landscape as you tour a local winery. Let your guide teach you about Monterey and its history of wine production. Enter the tasting room for your chance to try 2 or 3 different wines. Enjoy a convenient drop-off at your accommodations after the tour.

Monterey: Electric Bike Rental with GPS Guided Tours

6. Monterey: Electric Bike Rental with GPS Guided Tours

Discover the best of Monterey at your own pace and enjoy an eco-friendly way to sightsee with this electric bike rental. Choose from 2 different GPS-guided tours: a scenic or historic tour, or follow your own route and create your own adventure. Choose from electric-assist or full throttle modes to help you see more of the area. You could visit the Great Tide Pools and get a close-up view of creatures hiding among the rocks. Explore Lover's Point area and beach, and let the sand fill in between your toes. Stop at the various turnouts along the coast to catch a glimpse of whales during migration. You can also bike to Asilomar State Beach and watch the surfers find their perfect wave. Find your way into Pebble Beach and marvel at the golf courses, the coastal drive, and the famous 17-Mile Drive.

Monterey: Private Surfing Lessons

7. Monterey: Private Surfing Lessons

Learn to surf in Monterey with experienced instructors. Receive all necessary equipment including wetsuits, comfort-fit booties, and a range of boards suited for all experience levels.  Choose between the following options: Private Single Lesson Benefit from one-on-one instruction so you can quickly learn and apply the fundamentals of surfing. Discover optimal positioning, paddling, and pop up form. Enjoy a demonstration on the beach, followed by plenty of practice time on the water. Knowledge of surfer etiquette, board selection, reading surf reports, and oceanography will also be discussed. After completing their first lesson, you should be able to rent or purchase equipment and surf with confidence. Private Group Lesson (2-4 people) Choose this option to learn to surf as a group with your family or friends. Enjoy a similar lesson structure as the private single lesson, where you will cover all the basics. Watch a quick demonstration on the beach followed by some extended time on the waves with instructor guidance and supervision. Large Group (5+ people) The large group option is a wonderful way for large parties to experience surfing and also have access to additional equipment. Receive training with additional instructors involved to facilitate safety, guidance, and supervision at all times. Spend most of the lesson in the water so all participants have a chance to practice on the waves.

Monterey: Scenic Half-Day Self-Guided Electric Scooter Tour

8. Monterey: Scenic Half-Day Self-Guided Electric Scooter Tour

The experience begins with check-in at the local partner’s office in Monterey and a short video and demonstration on how to use the electric scooters safety. Once you’re kitted out with your riding gear, hop onboard and set out onto the streets of Monterey where adventure awaits. The tour allows you the flexibility to follow the route on the app or explore the area according to your interests, taking any detour that looks appealing to you. On your scooter, follow the GPS driven app on your phone to a selection of different locations. The tour starts on Wave Streets, traveling towards San Carlos Beach and onto Breakwater Cove Marina where sea otters and sea lions are frequently seen frolicking among the jetties and the kelp forest tops. Stop by Hopkins Marine Sanctuary next, which is home to harbor seals soaking up the sun on the beach or nesting their young. Continue the tour to Lover’s Point, followed by Perkins Park, then see the great tide-pools that dot the shoreline and offer epic scenic views. Soak up the tranquility at Asilomar Beach, then head to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary where you can admire clusters of butterflies in the pine trees above. At the end of an unforgettable day of exploring, return the scooter to the starting point.

Monterey: Guided Walking Food Tour with Tastings

9. Monterey: Guided Walking Food Tour with Tastings

Taste your way through Monterey’s restaurants and food spots along the side streets of downtown on this guided walking tour. Discover all the culture embedded here, from little bites to coffee on draft to Italian, Indian, and Greek food, just to name a few. Follow alongside your guide down Monterey’s lively streets and get filled in on local history and culture, including some things even the locals hardly know. Come to the tour hungry, as you’ll stop at 5 to 6 spots along the tour to taste a variety of foods and drinks, including wine and beer. You’ll quickly find there’s a lot more going on downtown than expected.

Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

10. Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

Experience the ultimate scenic drive between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach on a self-guided tour in your vehicle. Take advantage of the flexibility to set your own pace, stopping to take in the many sights and views along the 17-Mile Drive. Start by downloading the app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one (download instructions received via email after booking), then begin your self-guided adventure. You'll embark on this scenic drive in downtown Monterey near the historic Fisherman's Wharf. Discover Cannery Row, the delightful waterfront street bordering Pacific Grove. Optionally, stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to get an up-close look at a large variety of sea creatures (entry not included). Take in the views from Point Joe, the rocky southwestern end of Spanish Bay, also known as the Restless Sea. Journey to Bird Rock and Seal Rock, and try to spot seals, sea lions, and local birds. Next, you'll continue through Crocker Grove to the Lone Cypress, which stands dramatically at the edge of a cliff against crashing waves. End your tour at the world-famous Pebble Beach, a paradise of pristine white sand and sensational coastal cliffs. The audio tour is curated by local guides and creative writers and is narrated by professional voice artists. Along with written descriptions, most tour stops have animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or building interiors.

Other Sightseeing Options in Monterey

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What people are saying about Monterey

Overall rating

4.6 / 5

based on 553 reviews

Absolutely fantastic trip. Isaiah the marine biologist was really knowledgeable and provided great commentary. The captain Danny and crew were very friendly. We got to see sea lions, dolphins, sea otters and the best display from humpback whales. One was breaching for over an hour right by our boat which was amazing ! Would 100% Recommend !

this guide I would highly recommend any visitor/traveler to do, to enjoy some of the sights you might miss otherwise. And definitely pay to enter Pebble Beach.... it is well worth the $11.25. Absolutely beautiful and informative!

Loved this tour! We learned so much about the area from Alex. He’s a charismatic guide with a sense of humor. We had beautiful views along the coast. Highly recommend!

It was great! It was better than I expected and I will be back. The guys on the boat also were friendly and gave good information regarding the ocean animals.

The guides were excellent... so friendly, and found us 5 whales! Plus dolphins and otters. Awesome trip!