Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach, California

Though the Monterey Bay Aquarium is the big draw here, there is lots to see and do Monterey and nearby Carmel and Pebble Beach.

Jump to activities, hotels, shopping


Dennis The Menace Park

Address 777 Pearl Street, Monterey, CA 93940 Map, Tel (831) 646-3860 Call,

Dennis The Menace park was originally designed in 1956 by Hank Ketcham (the creator of Dennis the Menace). The playground equipment has been modernized over time, but the park still maintains its original charm and uniqueness, making it a local favorite. There's a real train engine to climb on, a long rollerslide, and several fun bridges and tunnels. more

Lake El Estero

Address Lake El Estero, Monterey, CA Map, Website

During the summer, you can paddle around the lake in paddle boats that have been a part of the park since I was a child. Bring along a picnic and enjoy it under the shade of the weeping willows. You will find a snack bar and a skate park nearby. more

Monarch Grove Sanctuary

Address 250 Ridge Rd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950-2426 Map, Tel 831.648.5716 Call, Website

Every year, over 25,000 monarch butterflies winter in Pebble Beach. Their population has been dropping over the years, so this is something to see while your children are young, and a great way to teach about our changing environment. more

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Address 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940-1085 Map, Tel (831) 648-4888 Call, Website

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is the big draw for families visiting the Monterey area, and it is a sure hit with kids. Plan to spend most, if not all, of your day here. You can bring in a lunch and enjoy it on steps overlooking the bay or at a picnic area behind the education center. If you prefer to purchase lunch at the cafeteria, be aware that there can be long lines during meal times. To avoid the lines, consider making an advance reservations at Portola - seats are often available if you call on the morning of your visit. more

Readers recommend:


Readers recommend:

  • Carmel Mission Inn “Children and pet friendly. large swimming pool and whirlpool. Easy to walk ...”
  • Hotel Carmel “My daughter enjoyed the delicious juices, cereals and croissants she had for ...”



Address 57 Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, California 93940 Map, Tel 831.373.1851 Call, Website

Ablonetti, located on Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf, is known as one of the area's best seafood restaurants. While you dine on fresh Calamari or Cioppino, your kids can make a selection from a well-priced kids menu (that includes local fish and chips). Arrive early to grab one of the window seats. more

Giant Artichoke Restaraunt

Address 11261 Merritt St, Castroville, CA 95012 Map, Tel (831) 633-3501 Call,

On the road between San Francisco and Monterey, in the heart of artichoke growing country, you'll find the Giant Artichoke. This is a fun place to stop off and eat lunch. In addition to serving expertly prepared steamed artichokes (most likely the best you've ever eaten) there are other creations - artichoke muffins, artichoke soup, and my favorite, deep fried artichoke hearts. For the less adventurous, there's a menu full of tried-and-true road food including grilled cheese sandwiches, hamburgers and noodles with butter. There is nothing fancy or gourmet about the Giant Artichoke, but everything is well prepared. more

Red's Donuts

Address 433 Alvarado St, Monterey, CA 93940 Map, Tel (831) 372-9761 Call,

This small, traditional donut shop serves carefully made classics like apple fritters and chocolate raised donuts. more

Rocky Coast Ice Cream Company

Address 708 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950 Map, Tel (831) 373-0587? Call,

The ice cream here is good, but if you are in town, the real reason to stop in at Rocky Coast is to take a step back in time. The walls here are covered in the owners memorabilia which ranges from old children's books to just about everything "Beatles." Once you've finished your sweets, play a game of "Elvis" pinball. more

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