{10 second vacation} Winter Weekend in Monterey, California

Monterey is most famous for its fabulous aquarium, but the area boasts lots of other charms. If you can largely avoid the tacky, touristy Cannery Row area you are in for a real treat. A 10 minute drive down the peninsula will put you in the quaint town of Carmel, so it’s really like a two-for-one! Point Lobos State Reserve is one of the absolute gems of the California coastline – and rivals many a national park in beauty and sights. You can spot sea lions, tide pools, and hidden beaches at nearly every turn. 

There are lots of fancy spots to try, and I do enjoy a sunset drink with bagpipes with the upper crust at The Inn at Spanish Bay, but I find myself gravitating more to the down-home dives for meals… like an early morning stop on funky Fisherman’s Wharf to hit up Loulou’s for creme brulee-style oatmeal or enormous pancakes, or chicken shawerma lunch with fluffy pita and garlicky sauce at teeny-tiny Paprika Cafe. To warm up, try a big sourdough bread bowl of creamy clam chowder at Schooner’s right over the water. For more Monterey recommendations, check out this article with tons of great suggestions. 

Gibson Beach

Sea lion swimming in clear blue water

Creme brulee oatmeal from Loulou’s Griddle

Jellyfish at Monterey Aquarium

Historic Monterey Canning Company building 

Sea anemones in tide pool

Sunset at the Inn at Spanish Bay

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2 Responses

  1. Hey there Karen! I am living in Monterey for a short time and I love it here! I agree, Point Lobos is amazing. And I love Loulou’s. If you ever get a chance, there are two more amazing restaurants that you should try. First is Fish House, it is the best seafood here at prices comparable to the touristy wharf. Also, Restaurant 1833 is amazing. It is pricey, but worth it for a special occasion. They have this bone marrow appetizer, and well…you just have to try it 🙂

    • Karen says:

      @Christine thanks so much for the recommendations! We almost went to 1833 but they only had a very late reservation so we didn’t make it.