Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea are nestled along California’s picturesque coastline.  Indeed, they offer a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history and vibrant culture.  Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff or a lover of fine dining and art.  These neighboring towns provide an array of activities to suit every interest.  Now, here’s a comprehensive guide on what to do in Monterey Carmel.


1. Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium

A crown jewel of Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is renowned for its impressive marine life exhibits.  Located on Cannery Row, this world-class aquarium offers visitors a chance to see everything from playful sea otters to mesmerizing jellyfish.  What’s more, interactive exhibits and a focus on conservation make it a hit with families and marine enthusiasts alike.

2. Explore Cannery Row

Explore Cannery Row

Cannery Row was once the bustling center of Monterey’s sardine-packing industry.  However, today it’s now a lively waterfront street filled with shops, restaurants and attractions.  Therefore, stroll along the historic strip, visit boutiques and enjoy seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants.  All while you take in the scenic views of Monterey Bay.  Lastly, John Steinbeck fans will appreciate the area’s literary history, as the famous author immortalized it in his novel “Cannery Row.”

3. Walk the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Walk the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Stretching 18 miles from Castroville to Pacific Grove, the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail offers stunning views of the coastline.  Whether you prefer walking, jogging or biking, this trail provides a serene way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.  Equally important, don’t forget your camera to capture the panoramic vistas and possible wildlife sightings, including sea lions and harbor seals.  In contrast, if you enjoy hiking read about the Pennine Way.

4. Visit Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Visit Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is a historic wharf offering a blend of dining, shopping, and entertainment.  Sample clam chowder from one of the many seafood vendors or embark on a whale-watching tour.  In contrast, simply enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.  The wharf’s colorful history and scenic location make it a must-visit spot in Monterey.

5. Explore the Pacific Grove

Explore the Pacific Grove

Adjacent to Monterey, Pacific Grove is known for its charming Victorian homes and the scenic Asilomar State Beach.  Visit the Point Pinos Lighthouse which is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast.  In addition, enjoy the natural beauty of the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary during the migration season.


1. Stroll through Carmel Village

what to do in Monterey Carmel - Carmel Village

Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply referred to as Carmel, is renowned for its European-style village charm.  Wander through the quaint streets lined with unique shops, art galleries and cozy cafes.  Indeed, the village’s fairy-tale cottages and hidden courtyards create a whimsical atmosphere perfect for leisurely exploration.

Read about Gatlinburg, Germany.

2. Relax on Carmel Beach

Relax on Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach is a stunning stretch of white sand offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean.  It’s an ideal spot for sunbathing, beachcombing and picnicking.  The beach is also dog-friendly, making it a favorite destination for pet owners.  Finally, the scenic beauty of the beach, especially at sunset is truly captivating.

3. Visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

Just a short drive from Carmel, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a paradise for nature lovers.  Moreover, the reserve features breathtaking coastal scenery, hiking trails as well as diverse wildlife, including sea lions, harbor seals and sea otters.  The underwater reserve is a popular spot for scuba diving, offering a glimpse into the rich marine life of the area.

4. Explore the Carmel Mission

Explore the Carmel Mission

The Carmel Mission, officially known as the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmelo, is one of the most beautifully restored of California’s historic missions.  Founded in 1771 by Saint Junípero Serra, the mission is a serene place to learn about the region’s history and enjoy its stunning architecture and gardens.

5. Drive the Scenic 17-Mile Drive

Drive the Scenic 17-Mile Drive

The 17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove is famous for its breathtaking coastal views.  Not to mention, luxurious mansions and world-class golf courses.  Key stops along the drive include the iconic Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.  Additionally, there is a small fee to enter but the spectacular views make it well worth the cost.

If you love scenic highways, try the Golden Pass Railway in Montreux.

Enjoy What to do in Monterey Carmel

Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea offer a wealth of experiences that cater to a variety of interests.  From exploring marine life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to strolling through historic Cannery Row.  Alternatively, enjoying the serene beauty of Carmel Beach and the rich history of the Carmel Mission, there’s something for everyone in these charming coastal towns.  Whether you’re planning a day trip, a weekend getaway or an extended stay.  Monterey and Carmel promise an unforgettable adventure filled with scenic beauty, cultural richness and delightful discoveries.