Are you looking for a hotspot destination for an amazing family vacation? Well, Historic Cannery Row, Monterey, California just may be the spot for you- but only if you love beautiful oceanside scenery, fabulous food, adorable shops, sunny skies, and listening to the ocean waves as you relax and explore. I just got back from a Cannery Row press trip and I really enjoyed the opportunity to become familiar with all that Cannery Row has to offer and to scope the place out for a family visit. Here I will share with you a bit about Monterey Bay, Cannery Row, and family-friendly activities to enjoy during your family vacation.
Why You Should Visit Cannery Row, Monterey CA
Cannery Row is a special part of Monterey, California. Located right along the Monterey Bay, Cannery Row has a real small town feel and you can walk up and down the waterfront strip with no need for a car. You can find plenty of places to stay, dine, shop, and things to do right along Cannery Row. The views of Monterey Bay are stunning.
If you are a history or literature buff, you will love that this is John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row! Marine biology lovers will love exploring the Monterey Bay, Cannery Row coastline and catching glimpses of sea otter, sea lions, harbor seals, star fish, and sea anemones. If you a nature lover, you will enjoy the sun, unusual vegetation, and the trails. Lovers or all things good in life will enjoy the shops, fine dining, and gorgeous ocean views.
Cannery Row, Monterey, has something for everyone and it is no surprise that this fabulous travel destination attracts over 4 million visitors a year. (Keanu Reeves sat at the same I table I did just about a week previous to me- I breathed the air in deeply and smiled.) This historic waterfront district certainly has a colorful history and a picturesque charm.
Monterey Bay Cannery Row Weather
During spring and summer the weather in Monterey is typically clear and sunny with temperatures right around 70 degrees. For more detailed weather info check weatherspark.com Because Cannery Row is located bayside, it has temperate weather, perfect for outdoor exploration and family friendly activities.
15 Cannery Row Activities
1. The Beaches.
With direct access to beaches, you could stay entertained sunning yourself, playing in the waves, building sand castles or exploring tidal pools. I found lots of pretty sea anemones, a few star fish and some crabs and hermit crabs. Did I mention I could also have passed several hours just sitting on the rocks and staring out at the ocean waves?
2. Paddle Board.
You know you have always wanted to, now is your chance!
3. Sea Kayak.
I tried sea kayaking myself and it was so much fun! It was absolutely worth it and I would say, “Go for it!” to anyone that is interested. The Monterey Bay is a National Marine Sanctuary so there is plenty to see. We got our Kayaks and guide at Adventures by The Sea and they also provided us with splash suits to keep our underneath layer pretty dry. I was a bit nervous about the water being too cold but the splash suits and the paddling made sure that I never felt cold!
We saw groups of sea otters floating in the kelp forest and one mom with her baby. We also paddled over by the Breakwater Cove Marina to see sea lions sunning themselves on the pier rocks. A few swam up behind us while we were paddling to take a peek at us. It was really, really special. I just loved it. We also got to see the Ed Ricketts lab from the Bay along with a unique view of the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
4. Monterey Bay Aquarium.
This aquarium is renowned as a window to the habitats and sea life of one of the world’s richest marine regions. With nearly 200 exhibits, you can get a up close look at everything from a sandbar shark to a cuddlefish to an octopus. Get more info at montereybayaquarium.org
5. Bike or Surrey.
Take advantage of the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. You can rent a bike for a leisurely drive along the coastline. Or if you are the athletic type, you can bike all the way from Cannery Row to Lover’s Point. If you are just bike happy you can then pick up a bike lane along the rocky shores area of Pacific Grove’s coastline that leads you along the shore to the entrance to 17-Mile Drive all the way to Pebble Beach. I would like to tell you I am bike happy but instead we got a four-wheeled surrey from Adventures by The Sea because it was just plain fun to do together and we pedaled down to the Fisherman’s Wharf.
6. Fisherman’s Wharf.
This fun wharf is packed with cute shops and places to grab a bite to eat. Unexpected bonuses? Everyone wants you taste their clam chowder sample to see if you like it the best. There was a random piano with someone playing beautiful classical music. And last but not least, a harbor seal was taking a sun bath on some rocks by the wharf. Such a cute little fellow. I just adored him. The Wharf is also the perfect place to book a whale watching trip or a boat ride.
7. Whale watching.
You do have to make advance reservations for this. I did not go while in Cannery Row but I did hear that they spot all kinds of fabulous sea life since the Monterey Bay is a feeding ground for multiple whale and dolphin species.
8. Wine Tasting.
There is more than one place for this but I can’t imagine anywhere could top A Taste of Monterey. You can get wine flights that come with great little cards under the glasses that tell you all about each one so that as you sip it you can say to yourself, “Wow, I really do taste the apricot and honey.” At least, that is what I said to myself! Plus the oceanside view is amazing and the food you get to nibble on while you wine taste is going to make you one happy person. Such a fabulous experience. Don’t skip this! You can also get some of the local wines shipped home while you are there.
9. Mrs. Laurie’s Palm and Card Reader.
Two of my new girlfriends had a tarot card reading and they both loved it. It is nice to know what is in the cards for you after all!
10. The Spa at the InterContinental.
While I did not try the spa out myself, I did visit the InterContinental and they had this amazing light fixture that created an underwater experience that was so relaxing it was kind of like a mini spa!
11. Monterey Mirror Maze & Lazer Challenge.
This is a great evening time attraction. I had already been to a mirror maze before and was shocked how fun they can be. This mirror maze was even more fun that the other I had been too. It was really pretty challenging, even more so if you wear the 3D glasses they give you with it. In fact, I found my way back to the beginning 3 times before I finally found my way out of the Monterey Mirror Maze! When I did get out, they had a laser challenge which I was not planning to do but they said I should give it a try so I did. I loved it! It was a Mission Impossible type thing where you squirm around trying not to touch the lazers and I know my kids would want to do that one over and over.
12. Highway 1 Black Light Mini Golf & Games.
Again, I had done black light mini golf before but this one was even nicer. The blacklights and the 3D glasses really provided some unusual effects and putt putt golf is always fun to me. The holes are themed around Highway 1 sights so that was fun too. I thought the Black Light Mini Golf was a fun way to spend a family evening.
There is something for everyone with more than 85 Cannery Row Shops, including toy stores, candy shops, a sock shop, aPebble Beach Golf shop, art galleries, jewelry stores, enlightenment stores and many more. My three personal favorite shops- #1 ZFolio (amazing Alex Septkus collection that left me wanting to get a mortgage on my house and take home every piece they had!), #2 Fine Art Turkish Grand Bazaar (I was going to use the rest of the money from my new mortgage to buy all the beautiful lighting fixtures they had, a silver chandelier, and exquisite glass lamps), #3 Shen Design Studio (gorgeous and affordable glass works with jellyfish inside).
14. Cannery Row John Steinbeck Plaza.
A beautiful little area to enjoy the public gardens, The Cannery Row Monument, and look out at the beach.
Cannery Row Monument
The Cannery Row Monument pays tribute to the characters who were vital to the evolution of Cannery Row, among them John Steinbeck.
15. Wildlife spotting.
Walk along Breakwater Cove Marina and you can see sea lions (an endangered species) just sunning themselves about 10 feet away from you but separated from you by the marina. Pretty awesome!
16. Eat At The Amazing Cannery Row Restaurants.
Sample the region by dining your way through Cannery Row, Monterey. I am going to have to do a separate post on places to eat in Cannery Row because there are so many great choices. There were also some fabulous wine tasting rooms. After all, you are in Monterey wine country.
Even sleeping is a happy affair in Cannery Row. With the most ocean view hotels in all of Monterey, Cannery Row had lots of great options all within walking distance of family friendly activities. I will share details in my next Cannery Row post.
Cannery Row, Monterey is a great family travel destination as there is plenty to keep children entertained and parents happy. If you are planning a trip, you may want to check out canneryrow.com as a great resource for details and contact info on every aspect of your trip. Have you ever been to Cannery Row? What was your favorite thing to do in Cannery Row or which would you like to do the most?