The word “tourist” hasn’t received the most love in recent years, and we’re here to tell you that tourism in California is as acceptable and beautiful as ever. When you visit a destination for a brief period of time, you’re not always granted the leisure of discovering local gems casually or by chance. And if it’s your first time there, it’s especially valuable to see the proverbial sights. In a destination as rich as Monterey, it’s super helpful to take advantage of experiences provided by local tour companies, and to seek out popular attractions.
To help bring some love back to the world of being a “tourist,” we put together this guide on how to truly enjoy being one in Monterey.
Local experts can offer a great deal of historical insight and direction when exploring a new destination. Luckily, Monterey’s experts curate and operate some of the best-reviewed touring experiences in the region. When taking a tour around Monterey, you’ll discover amazing vistas, delicious wine and historic structures.
One of our favorite local tour companies is Tours Monterey, which is well known for its Wine Trolley tour that visits tasting rooms and wineries around Monterey and Carmel Valley. Another beloved company is Walk Monterey, which sets up tours to take by foot around famous attractions like Monterey State Historic Park, and Cannery Row.
Visiting Cannery Row
Cannery Row is among the most essential Monterey tourist attractions. The historic neighborhood is home to numerous, now-defunct sardine canning factories. Today, the waterfront is packed with plenty of contemporary delights including bars, restaurants, and shops.
Throughout the year, you can find local events in Cannery Row including an annual exotic car show in August, and the annual Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony in November. Top places to eat include Chart House and Schooners Coastal Kitchen and Bar. For more recommendations, read all about Cannery Row here.
Sea Car Tours
For the uninitiated: Sea Cars are small, go-cart-like vehicles that have the steering of a motorized scooter, but the two-seat design of a small car. These machines are easy for most to operate, and a truly exciting way to cruise around the city.
There are a number of options for Sea Car Tours. One favorite is the one-hour Cruise the Coast tour, past the region’s famous ocean vistas, Monterey’s most historical buildings, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Cannery Row. There’s also a two-hour option that includes the same stop-offs, and a tour of nearby Pacific Grove. Free spirits can indulge in a three-hour option, where they’re free to explore the area as they wish.
Monterey From The Water
Monterey is a destination that revolves around the water. So it makes sense that one of the most enjoyable ways to be a Monterey tourist is to get out on an excursion on wildlife-rich Monterey Bay. It’s a mecca for whale watches, thanks to the four species of whales visible in their natural habitat: gray whales, humpbacks, and orcas in their natural habitat here.
When exploring Monterey from the water, you can also indulge in a number of other boating activities on Monterey Bay, from sport fishing excursions to a glass-bottom boat outing and sailing expeditions.
Discover More of Monterey Bay
Planning a visit to the shores of Monterey Bay? Experience the region like a local, following our insider recommendations on the Sanctuary Beach Resort blog!