Today we’re lucky to have guest blogger and San Fran resident, Margot Dunphy tell us about Monterey. She’s a reporter for the local news there, as well as a mum, so knows a thing or two about the place.
The Monterey Bay is one of the largest and most diverse marine sanctuaries in the United States. Located less than 2 hours from San Francisco it is home to an abundance of sea life and is a must stop for families taking a trip to Northern California.
The town of Monterey itself is rich in history: beautiful Mexican Adobe buildings date back to the early 1800’s and of course it’s where you’ll find the famed Cannery Row, immortalized by author John Steinbeck.
Here are our 5 favorite kid-friendly spots:
THE MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM: This is a great place for all the family. You’ll find spectacular displays of marine life like the million gallon tank Open Seas exhibit with its massive tuna and hammerhead sharks, the fascinating jellyfish exhibit and some adorable sea horses. There is even a children’s play area and splash zone with interactive activities to entertain and educate.
LOVER’S POINT: Don’t let the name fool you. This beach is perfect for kids. Located just south of Cannery Row, two sheltered coves let you relax on the sand while kids paddle in the shallow rock pools. The sheltered location also makes it considerably warmer than other beaches along the bay.
MY MUSEUM: The Northern California coast is known for foggy days and, in the winter months, rain. My Museum is perfect for younger kids to play, explore and let off steam when you have to keep them indoors. With a huge range of hands-on exhibits including crop harvesting, tree house and golf putting green, it’s guaranteed to wear out any child.
DENNIS THE MENACE PARK: According to every local kid in Monterey, Dennis the Menace Park is by far the best playground around. But this is no place for lazy parents (like me). Be prepared to burn some energy keeping up with your kids as they navigate across rope bridges, down huge slides and scale a well-preserved steam engine. This place is popular on sunny days and can get crowded on weekends, but it’s a guaranteed hit with kids of all ages.
GLASS BOTTOM BOATS: The coast along of the Monterey Peninsula has some of the best whale watching in the States. But if you balk at taking your brood out on the ocean, the glass bottom boats are a great alternative. As well as seeing sea otters and their cubs, seals and the creatures who inhabit the kelp beds below the surface, the tours are a great way to explore Monterey Bay on the cheap. A much more pleasant and educational alternative to some of the cheesy tourist attractions on Cannery Row.