Fisherman’s wharf in Monterey bay is the most family-oriented pier in all of California. Simply put – the place is cozy and perfect for parents with infants, toddlers, and teenagers. You can walk the entire length of the pier in less than five minutes even at a strolling pace. Check out this guide where we walk from the fisherman’s pier to the lovers point in Pacific Grove. Come along!
We typically enjoy having brunch at one of the dozen restaurants at the wharf or the Municipal wharf. Our favorite end of the line stop is undoubted – the Water + Leaves Café.
Fun fact: Monterey was the capital of California for a month back in 1848 following the Bear Flag revolt.
Then we usually walk to the plaza by the Custom House Museum for our son to blow off the remaining energy. Following that we go for a “nap walk” along the coast toward the cannery row. The first stop on our tour is the Coast Guard pier
1. Coast Guard Pier
Check out the mounds of sea lions on the Coast Guard Pier. Our son always has a blast trying to communicate with the animals. It is far more exciting to see the animals in their natural habitat. Furthermore we would recommend checking out the Monterey Bay aquarium. One of the best aquariums in all of California with Long Beach Aquarium being an equivalent in Southern California. See this website for more detailed information for your marine experience at Monterey Bay.
2. Cannery Row Monument
Then we just walk to the Cannery row shops. Including the famous Cannery Row Monument dedicated to John Steinbeck – a bitching California writer who adequately captured the life in California of his era. Perhaps many of the fundamental truths in his stories like the “The grapes of wrath” or “Tortilla flat” still resonate with today’s American society.
“Author John Steinbeck anchors the monument at the top of the rock with a friend and marine biologist Ed Ricketts towards the bottom. Several other characters represent those who once worked in the bustling canning industry on the row including Chinese fishermen.”
3. Restaurants with an Oceanview
The row has tons of shops and restaurants as well. We highly recommend pop in into one of these unique eateries that overlook the Pacific Ocean. Lalla Oceanside Grill is featured in a photo down below. It is also perfect if your child is in a stroller, that way they can sleep through the visit.
4. McAbee beach
Check out the surreal McAbee beach in the Cannery row. It’s pleasing to watch the iridescent teal tinted ocean water swaying back and forth as if counts off the ephemeral time.
Typically we’d culminate our stroll at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. By the way, we’d recommend spending a whole day at the location. Our son had probably one of the best times of his life at this marine sanctuary.
6. Marine Station
Occasionally we continue our walk past the Point Cabrillo, a hermit research facility. Here’s a cool piece of info I found from the local guide named David Wittrock
This is a really interesting and historical site for Pacific Grove. As a research facility, it is without parallel. It is also a place called China Point which was the home of many of the Chinese who lived here. The history is of many Chinese who came to California to get rich in the Gold Rush of 1848 and 1849. They were not treated well, with many excluded from immigration and those already here having claims jumped. By the 1860’s, the railroad was being built by the Southern Pacific across the Sierras. The Chinese helped build it. After the completion, many settled here in Monterey and fished for squid, which they dried and shipped back to China. They were living on land which was not theirs. When their village burned one night, the owner slipped in and put a chain-link fence around the site and excluded the Chinese. Look for occasional open houses at the Station. It’s a fascinating place. “David Wittrock
Lovers Point could rival the Heisler Park in Laguna Beach, Southern California. Succulents dropping off the cliffs right into the ocean. Swaying cypress trees and blooming aloe plants. Here’s a photo that worth more than any description.
To begin with the basics, there are three distinct but overlapping geographical areas bearing the name of Monterey. There is the actual city of Monterey, a surprisingly small (30,000 souls) city that’s more middle-class than wealthy, with a definite working-class legacy left behind by the fishermen and cannery workers you may have met through John Steinbeck. There is the Monterey Peninsula, including, in addition to Monterey, the adjacent coastal village of Pacific Grove (which calls itself “America’s Last Home Town” and feels like it), the tony tourist town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and the corporate golf and megamansion enclave of Pebble Beach (which is mysteriously absent from BLL). The places share the blue Monterey Bay and famously stable weather, but are otherwise very different, which makes BLL’s projection of the area as tight-knit feel strange.
Check out our favorite spots on the Monterey peninsula while you’re exploring Central Coast California with your family.