Coming from the East Coast I was pretty skeptical of California. I first moved to La Jolla and then to Encinitas. I fell in love with Southern California. So when I had to move to Monterey I was excited for a new opportunity but I was certainly going to miss the SoCal life. I grew accustom to perfect 75 degree weather, fantastic beaches with the perfect surf, a vibrant night life, and the perfect mix of organic restaurants.
But when I moved to Monterey I more than discovered a new place, I discovered a part of myself.
But when I moved to Monterey I more than discovered a new place, I discovered a part of myself. I have always been the type to be on the go and looking for the next adventure. Monterey is the kind of place that begs you to slow down and take time to unwind. It certainly has a small town feel, as compared to San Diego, but I feel so blessed to have lived here.
So what does Monterey have to offer? Well you’ve probably heard of the tourists traps like the Monterey Aquarium and the Wharf but I tend to enjoy going off the beaten path.
- Run, bike, skate, or stroll on the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. It really offers the best views of Pacific Grove, Monterey, and Marinas. If you head south on the trail you will pass the Wharf, Cannery Row, and run into Lover’s Point. If you go north you will have the option of going to the coastal part of Fort Ord.
- Explore Lighthouse Ave and travel down to Cannery Row. My favorite time is during early morning. Start with a coffee or chai tea from Bright Coffee, which is located inside of the cutest artisan gift shop Lilify. Once you have your caffeine and a pastry to snack on head down to Cannery Row. I suggest a quick stroll on the main street and then head up to the back path’s trail. There are signs along the path that guide through a historical walk…it’s quite interesting! Head back up to Lighthouse Ave and browse through records at Recycled Records, do some vintage shopping at Cat’s Meow Fashion, and finish up with some Middle Eastern food at Paprika Cafe.
- If you’re in town on Tuesday evening check out the farmer’s market located on Alvarado Street, or if you’re in town Wednesday evening head over to Pacific Grove for their farmer’s market. You can’t go wrong with a Californian farmer’s market!
- Osio Theater is an adorable indie film movie theater. I am not a huge movie watcher but I love the atmosphere at this place. They have IPAs and unique snacks for you to enjoy while you watch a movie. Seriously worth it.
If you have a car or can find a way to travel around here are a few more suggestions…
- Travel north to Moss Landing for some amazing kayaking! You’ll see some amazing wildlife like the seals or otters. Definitely worth it! (Monterey Bay Kayaks or Kayak Connection are located right there in the bay!) If you have time travel a little farther north to Aptos St. BBQ. It is the best BBQ I’ve had since coming to Monterey. Plus every night they have incredible live music – usually folk, jazz, or blues.
- Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Valley: Looking for a fun girls’ afternoon? Head on over to Cowgirl Winery…with corn hole, wine, sunshine, and country music you can’t go wrong.
- Big Sur: Now this is where I found myself. Go hike, explore, become enchanted with the magical mountains that drop into a deep blue sea. Have a few days to explore? Hike the Pine Ridge Trail. You can stay overnight at Syke’s Hot Springs..it is perfect for the summer time. Start your hike early and get to the hot springs in the afternoon. Travel up the river to the hot springs and you’ll find nirvana. The hike is about 20 miles out and back. Just driving through and want a unique stop? Try the New Camaldoli Hermitage it offers incredible views from the top. take a break at the Big Sur Bakery – one of my favorite places for brunch, or pick up a book for your road trip at the Henry Miller Library. Want to camp for free? If you have a 4×4 hit up Nacimiento-Ferguson Road. (This site can give you all the details…don’t forget if you want a fire to get an applicable permit!)