The first few visits to Monterey are normally focused on the Monterey Bay Aquarium and perhaps whale watching. However, behind these famous Monterey activities is a city with a deep and fascinating historical past. The best place to start is by taking a short walking tour of the historic buildings. We recommend that you visit the HistoricMonterey.org website for details about these amazing walking tours.
The other side of Monterey that is often overlooked is the recreational sports activities. Start with a visit to Adventures By The Sea and spend an afternoon kayaking the Monterey Bay. Then, when you are ready, step up to stand-up paddleboarding.
We have saved the best for last... as the “Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail" wanders 18 miles from Catroville on the north, past the aquarium, and out to Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove. Once again check in with Adventures By the Sea and rent a few bicycles for your family and take this tour.
The mission of the Monterey Bay Aquarium is to inspire conservation of the oceans. To that end, the aquarium project was initiated in 1977 by a group of four marine biologists at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. The aquarium opened in 1984, and in 1996 the Outer Bay Wing doubled the exhibit space. The main feature of the aquarium is the Outer Bay Waters exhibit, a one-million-gallon tank housing tuna, sharks, ocean sunfish and sea turtles. Other exhibits include the Kelp Forest, Sea Otters, Jellies and the Splash Zone. Adults and children alike will enjoy a fascinating visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium - don't miss it!
Made famous by John Steinbeck's 1945 fictional bestseller, Cannery Row was originally a dirt road that led from Monterey to a settlement of Chinese families near Pacific Grove who helped build the fishing industry for which Monterey would become famous. F.E. Booth's development of sardine packing technology in the mid-1800's spawned several competing canneries, and the wagon-rutted, unpaved coastal road between Monterey and Pacific Grove grew to host the sardine factories that for half a century would dominate Monterey history and commerce. The years tell an epic tale of the lives and fortunes at stake in the plunder of a seemingly inexhaustible natural supply of sardines. Alas, the sardines inexplicably disappeared in the late 1940's, marking the end of Cannery Row's industrial days. In 1958 the street was renamed Cannery Row in honor of John Steinbeck, and today is host to shops, restaurants, and the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. The buildings that once harbored a great industry still stand, offering a glimpse into Cannery Row's tumultuous history.
Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf had its beginnings more than a century and a half ago when it was built in 1846. During the wharf's heyday, several hundred market fisherman brought in their daily catch of salmon, albacore, mackerel, rockfish, ling cod and squid. Nowadays, sport fishermen still carry on the tradition that gave the wharf its name. The old blends with the new with the advent of whale watching and deep-sea fishing trips. Some of Monterey's best restaurants are found on the Wharf, and it should come as no surprise that this is one of the best places on the Peninsula to buy fresh fish. Round out your visit with the handcraft shops selling nautical items from local crafters, and the unique Wharf Theater. Enjoy Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey and don't forget to try the superb clam chowder.