California's Pacific Peninsula; Monterey & Carmel


Travel south on Highway one, to the southern tip of the Monterey Penninsula to Carmel-by-the-Sea. For first timers, the best place to start is on Ocean Street. You can spend the day shopping in the boutiques, lounging on the beach or eating in the many restaurants.

Carmel is a bit chilly for a coastal town, be sure and bring a jacket. Also, it is a bit up-scale; no walking around in your bikinis.

LIttle known Carmel Treasures

  • There are many inviting alleys and "secret passages" leading to a block within a block. Dare to explore one of these are find charming gardens, hidden eateries and quaint shops and galleries off the beaten path.
  • Actor Clint Eastwood was once the mayor of this fine town. He married local Salinas newscaster Dina Ruiz. Clint Eastwood owned "The Hogsbreath Inn" a small restaurant off San Carlos and 5th.
  • Once upon a time, ice cream was illegal. Delicious cones would make a mess on the beautiful walkways and was therefore deemed unlawful. Thankfully, I believe this law is no more.
  • A few blocks away is the Mission San Carlos de Borromeo. It was the second mission in California to be built by Father Junipero Serra & is buried here.
  • Many locals name their homes in lieu of having a numerical address. It is fun to stroll the neighborhoods admiring these homes and their monkier.

Monterey Peninsula

What is your favorite part of Fisherman's Wharf?

  • Sampling all the seafood; the chowders, fish & chips and cocktails!
  • Souviner shopping; postcards, T-shirts and anything imaginable with a thermometer
  • Watching the "locals;" fisherman, sea otters, sea lions and birds
  • Eating sweet treats; fudge, salt water taffy and peanut brittle
  • The history; walking the old buildings and learning about California
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Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey

Before Sacramento and Benicia, Monterey was once the capitol of California. At Fisherman's Wharf, you can take a walking tour of the buildings that once housed government seats, custom houses for commerce and founding father's homes.

Fisherman's Wharf is a bit misleading these days. When I was growing up in nearby Salinas, the Wharf held many fishing vendors and even a monkey with an organ grinder but alas, these for the most part are gone. The distinct fish smell is quite subdued and have been replaced by more tourist attracting restaurants and shops.

You can however still get a shrimp cocktail, chowder served in a sourdough bowl and salt water taffy. You can eat in the many restaurants overlooking the bay and watch the boats and sealife activity outside. Walk to the end of the pier and watch the boats come and go from the harbor, take a whale watching cruise or a bay tour in a glass bottom boat. Hear the bark of the sea lions as they wait for local fisherman to drop bits of fish as they clean their catch. Pelicans and gulls perch on railings for the same treats.

If you a bit adventurous, you can rent kayaks, bikes and paddle boats. Don't forget your wet suit, the Monterey bay is known to be chilly.

Monterey Checklist

Things to Bring
Things to see
Things to do
Sea otter floating in kelp
get a pressed penny
Historical sites
take photos
17 mile drive
Sample local seafood

Other Local Sopts

  • Dennis the Menace Park. Great place for kids to burn off steam just down the road from Fisherman's Wharf. It has a wonderful playground and is surrounded by a water lagoon to feed birds and go out in a paddleboat.
  • Historical Walking tour. Pamplets are available near the custom house just outside Fisherman's Wharf. The self led tour takes you through a few blocks of historical homes and buildings explained by placards that help you learn of California's history during the days we were under Spanish and Mexican influence before become part of the United States in 1850.
  • 17 Mile Drive. Contains the famous Pebble Beach Golf course, and the Lone Cypress. There is a toll to drive the grounds.
  • The Monarch Butterflies in Pacific Grove. October through February, the clusters of butterflies can be seen at 1073 Lighthouse Ave during their migration.

Try something new!

  • Sample Calamari
  • Wine Trolley Tour
  • Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Learn to scuba dive
  • Go Whale Watching
  • Hike Point Lobos
  • Cross the Bixby Bridge
  • Go horseback riding on the beach in Big Sur
  • Visit the Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum
  • Tour the hidden Thomas Kinkaid gallery in Carmel
  • See the Cactus Garden across from the Del Monte hotel
  • Take the Haunted Monterey tour
  • Shop the outlets at the Tin Cannery
  • Dine under the glass gazebo in the Sardine Factory
  • Sip a drink in Sly McFly's
  • Rent a tandem bike and pedal up the coast

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rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I have always wanted to go to Carmel. Thanks for sharing your knowledge about the area!

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