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Things to do in
Monterey

Our most recommended things to do in Monterey

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

1. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

2. Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

Discover the diverse wildlife of Monterey Bay on a guided dolphin and whale watching boat cruise. Feast your eyes on massive gray whales, watch playful dolphins leap from the water, spot turtles skimming underneath the waves, and learn about the ecological landscape of the bay's oceanic habitat. Begin your tour by meeting your captain and boarding the boat at the Old Fisherman's Wharf. Sail into Monterey Bay, watching for birds and otters along the wharf's shallow banks. Learn about local efforts to protect what is considered to be one of the most ecologically diverse bays in the area. As you sail further away from the shoreline, watch for harbor seals, bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, elephant seals, and even sharks. Catch sight of gray whales leaping alongside the boat and curious killer whales, with their characteristic black and white coloring, swimming nearby.

Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching Cruise with A Guide

3. Monterey: Sunset Whale Watching Cruise with A Guide

Take an ocean adventure on this whale-watching cruise at sunset from Monterey. Keep an eye out for gray, humpback, and blue whales as they migrate along the Pacific coast, along with sea lions and dolphins. Hear commentary from your naturalist guide and take in the sunset over Monterey Bay. Meet your guide at the wharf and climb aboard the boat to start your tour. Spot whales, dolphins, and a wide variety of marine wildlife in Monterey Bay. Whales are seen every day in this area. Listen to your marine biologist or naturalist guide as they share interesting information about the animals you see, the natural history of the local area, and conservation. Witness scientific research in action as marine biologists and naturalists collect sighting data to learn about the local wildlife. Then, sit back and relax as the sun sets, reflected in the water, providing lasting memories and incredible photo opportunities. Finally, return to the wharf and dry land.

Monterey: Whale Watching Cruise

4. Monterey: Whale Watching Cruise

Get up close and personal with some of California's marine life on this whale-watching cruise in Monterey Bay, departing from Moss Landing. See humpback, orca, gray, and blue whales, and get the chance to spot a friendly dolphin. Start your cruise in the quaint fishing village of Moss Landing. From here, depart from the harbor and listen to your marine biologist guide talk about the local area and its abundance of sea creatures. In the harbor, you can spot the beloved Monterey Bay sea otter and numerous species of seabirds as you listen to the sealions' bark. Continue into the open waters of Monterey Bay, one of the top whale-watching destinations in the world. The bay's unique ocean floor allows for frequent upwellings of food, meaning you can see both resident and migrating whales year-round. Learn more about the area from your naturalist guide and spot whales including humpback whales, gray whales, killer whales, blue whales, sharks, and other sea life such as mola mola, sea turtles, and jellyfish. Finish your cruise with a relaxed ride back to the port in Moss Landing and get one last glimpse of the wildlife of Monterey Bay.

Monterey: Whale Watching Tour with A Marine Guide

5. Monterey: Whale Watching Tour with A Marine Guide

Hop onboard one of the largest vessels in Monterey for a guided whale-watching tour. Leave the harbor and head out into Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary in search of whales, dolphins, and other marine wildlife that migrate through the waters of the Pacific Ocean. Relax in the heated cabins of the 110-feet Princess Monterey and the 100-feet Atlantis Monterey. Grab a snack or drink from the onboard bar, enjoy spacious indoor and outdoor seating, and never miss a moment with a 360-viewing walkaround deck. With deep nutrient-rich waters just offshore, Monterey Bay hosts humpback whales and blue whales during summer and fall. Gray whales pass by the coastline as they navigate one of the longest migrations of a marine mammal during winter and spring, while dolphins come to the bay throughout the year. Every trip is different, so whether it’s your first time on a marine wildlife cruise or you’re a whale-watching veteran, see what Monterey Bay has in store for you.

From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

6. From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

Discover the scenic coastline of California on a day trip by air-conditioned bus from San Francisco. Visit the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Travel scenic California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, famous for its spectacular ocean views, abundant wildlife, and historical past. Stop at Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, where there are great shops and restaurants overlooking the Pacific. Next, travel through the famous 17-Mile Drive and see Pebble Beach Golf Course. Photo stops will be made along this gorgeous drive.  Your tour continues to Carmel by the sea where ample time is given to walk through this charming town dotted with lovely shops, and beautiful architecture.

Monterey: Half-Day Electric Bike Rental

7. Monterey: Half-Day Electric Bike Rental

Begin your adventure by picking up your powerful e-bike. After a safety briefing hop on your bike and throttle up the hill to 17 Mile Drive. Turn right on 17 Mile Drive onto Pebble Beach and take the bike path back down to the ocean. Scan the golf courses and yards for deer — you're sure to see a few along the ride. In Pebble Beach, ride past even more stunning vistas: Spanish Bay, Point Joe, Restless Sea, and China Rock. Make sure to stop at Bird Rock (public restrooms here) to watch the sea lions splash and sunbathe. Hop back on your e-bike and continue along the ocean to the Lone Cypress. To spot some sea otters, stop at Fanshell Beach Overlook and Cypress Point Lookout. Here the true mansions start. Follow the road that winds through 300-year-old Cypress Trees and some of the most expensive homes in Pebble Beach. Suddenly, break out into a clearing and see the Lone Cypress perched on its stony outcropping. Your next stop should be the Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point where a short walk brings you to a beautifully sculpted coastline. For a little "nurture," continue on just a little further to Pebble Beach Lodge for food, restrooms, amd shopping. From here, you can either ride back the same route, take a shortcut, or continue on to Carmel to explore its coastline and cottages.

Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Guided E-Bike Tour

8. Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Guided E-Bike Tour

Soak up the beautiful coast of Northern California on a guided e-bike tour through Pebble Beach on the famous 17 Mile Drive. Ride on powerful eBikes which make climbing the region’s hills and inclines a breeze. Watch for deer, sea lions, and flocks of sea birds as we roll past famous golf courses with fairways overlooking the ocean. Feel the soft, white sands at the Spanish Bay Beach and smell the sagebrush mixed with the sea air. Snap a photo of China Rock, Bird Rock, and the Lone Cypress Weave through the Del Monte Forest of 300-year old Cypress trees, and take a minute to imagine yourself in one of the luxurious mansions along the path. Stop for a quick break at the Pebble Beach Lodge where you can enjoy coffee and gelato while gazing over Carmel Bay and Point Lobos. Your local guides will share their knowledge of the area’s unique ocean wildlife and iconic landmarks throughout the tour.

Monterey: Macabre Monterey Ghosts Walking Tour

9. Monterey: Macabre Monterey Ghosts Walking Tour

Nestled in a crook of the California coastline, Monterey is known as a scenic waterfront city — but there’s something dark and sinister lurking in the bay. Come explore the bone-chilling, haunted history of this iconic port with a seasoned US Ghost Adventures guide. You’ll meet your guide at Colton Hall Museum and Jail, where the spirits of innocent prisoners can be heard gasping, wailing, and picking guitars. From there, you’ll wind through seven other historic, haunted locations, including the famous Monterey Hotel. Scan the water for sea monsters at Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Learn why John Steinbeck ordered a priest to exorcise the Lara-Soto Adobe before he moved in. You’ll hear tales of murderous doctors, fun-loving tavern owners, and the victims of a bloody 19th century tragedy. By the time you reach the final stop, you’ll have plenty of spooky stories to fuel your nightmares. You may even have a ghost story of your own…

San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

10. San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

Begin your tour by traveling south on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, California Highway 1. Head to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. At your first rest stop in Davenport, you will have a chance to take a selfie with the whole Pacific as your backdrop.  At Monterey, you will have 2 hours on your own to explore. You can visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, rent a kayak or paddleboard, hike along the coast, or take a bike to roam. You can also stroll among the quaint boutiques and art shops along the historic Cannery Row. Grab a seafood lunch at Old Fisherman’s Wharf.  Enjoy another eyeful of Pacific beauty along the scenic 17-Mile Drive through Del Monte Forest and take photographs of the hardy Lone Cyprus Tree. This famous road winds its way by magnificent homes and the spectacular coastline, between the greens and tees of world famous golf courses, and among the last remaining forest of a rare species of the Monterey Cypress.  Your scenic drive finishes at Pebble Beach Village. Upon arrival in the enchanted town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can explore the boutique shops on Ocean Avenue and be dazzled by the white sandy beach. If there is time, you can visit the historic Carmel Mission. Then, it will be time to head back to San Francisco. 

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What people are saying about Monterey

Overall rating

4.7
(1,315 reviews)

Had a great time! The guides were a lot of fun and very attentive and interactive with everyone. We saw just a few whales but the “Biggest” Mola Mola our crew had ever seen! So that was exciting. Will definitely be back to take another trip with this crew. The ride was comfortable, relaxing and loved the smaller group limit so it was more personal.

We got lost amd we were 5 min late, but the gracious staff waited for us. The guide and the voyage were exceptional, and extremely expert. Great people !

Highly satisfied with the tour and Pablo, our guide. He managed to fit all the sites in one day, together with a visit to Monterey aquarium.

Our tour guides truly wanted to give us the best experience and they went out of their way to do just that.

Our kids remembered a number of historical and other facts the guide explained