Getting out in the great outdoors is the best way to explore Monterey Bay. Whether you’re sunbathing on the shores of Del Monte Beach or want a more naturalistic view atop the Santa Lucia Mountains, there are plenty of ways to explore Monterey Bay. If you’re traveling with young children, you’ll want to experience Monterey playgrounds or play at the local beaches, play areas, and hiking trails. Here are our top places to spend a fun day with the family exploring the area.
Dennis The Menace playground
It is known as one of the most iconic Monterey playgrounds in the area and was created with Hank Ketcham’s help, the mastermind behind the Dennis the Menace comic strip. This playground is a wonderland for kids of all ages. There’s even a rock-climbing wall for the most adventurous kids. Kids of all ages will love getting up close with the full-size steam engine train from the 1920s, also located in the park. While kids at one time could climb all over the steam engine, it’s since been fenced off and only for observation. There are mazes, tubes, bridges, and much more at the playground. Located inside El Estero Park, the playground offers more opportunities for the entire family to play together while strolling around walking trails with waterfront views.
Lovers Point Park and Beach
Beach lovers will rejoice at this popular beach spot in Pacific Grove. The park has hosted residents since the late 1800s, when members of the Methodist church would gather for retreats at the park. Now, the park is a popular place for beachgoers, picnickers, and surfers. Photographers also love this location as it is one of the only places on the West Coast where you can view a sunrise over the ocean due to its unique east-facing location. The park also attracts a wide variety of water sports lovers. Surfers enjoy the constant waves, while kayakers find that launching from shore is a convenient way to enter Monterey Bay. It’s also home to Pacific Grove’s Feast of Lanterns tradition, which is held every July.
Jacks Peak County Park
This park is known for its excellent birding opportunities. Jack’s Peak is part of the Central Coast Birding Trail and is home to various bird species. The park is also known for its spectacular views of Monterey Bay, the Santa Lucia Mountains, and the nearby Carmel Valley. There are 11 trails inside the park, and there is even a parking lot near the top of the peak, so you can easily access the stunning views of Monterey Bay without having to walk far. You can also view several types of fossils from the Miocene epoch while hiking through the park. Some fossils are infused into the shale while you roam around the Coffeeberry Trail, while others are located inside display cases along the Skyline Nature Trail.
San Carlos Beach Park
Located in the heart of Monterey on the west end of Cannery Row, San Carlos Beach Park is known as a local scuba diving spot. There are grass lawns, sand-filled beaches, and picnic tables located throughout the park. Divers frequent the area to look for old cannery gear that may have fallen to the bottom of the bay. Monterey Peninsula Recreation Trail is a paved trail located directly behind the beach park, making it a perfect spot for runners and bikers to spend a sunny afternoon. It's also an excellent location for fishing and wading in the bay.
Stay in Monterey Bay
Book your room at the Ramada Monterey and take in everything the area has to offer. Wondering what there is to do in the area? Visit our blog to learn about the best activities and things to do in Monterey!