Cruising the California Coast

BATD ON Aug 10, 2009 AT 5:15 pm

Big Sur

Big Sur

Fancy a warm little get-away? We’ve been to the gorgeous Monterey, California, and couldn’t say enough of this coastal gem. Situated between Los Angeles and San Francisco, Monterey offers a bit of everything: culture, history, and the great outdoors. Here are some of the highlights that won us over.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a world-class wonder. It features over 35,000 specimens, including giant octopuses, playful otters, to a 50-year-old lobster. A proper visit could last from a few hours to a whole day. All exhibits are open daily, save for Christmas. It’s family-friendly and good for an interesting afternoon if you get a cloudy day.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium

To get the full scope of the countryside, we suggest finding a bike and hitting the trails! The company Bay Bikes offers a range of bicycles for a reasonable hourly rate, perfect for guided tours along either the Monterey Peninsula’s dirt trails or a 17-mile stretch of bayside paths. The home operation opens at 9 am daily at 585 Cannery Row—famous by Steinbeck’s novel of the same name—just a few blocks from the Aquarium. This is a great way to breathe in the fresh coastal air wedged between California forest and the open ocean. Visit http://www.baybikes.com/ for more information.

Big Sur

Big Sur

For more breathtaking views, check out the huge expanse of Big Sur—a fabulous expanse of coastline along the Santa Lucia Mountains. Over 3 million visitors each year cruise along the 90-mile length of Highway 1 to take in the practically untouched beauty of Redwood forest and foggy coast. The area boasts rustic lodgings, campgrounds, hiking, mountain climbing, and scenic beaches perfect for lazy strolls. There are a handful of five-star resorts for the Hollywood luxury experience, as well! Big Sur also boasts nine State Parks and a notable 19th century lighthouse complex. This stretch is perfect for the true coastal experience.

Need a little taste of California? Try touring along the River Road Wine Trail in Monterey. This series of a dozen wineries offers all the events and attractions to suit your palate. Many of the businesses are welcoming visitors for holiday open houses and even Valentine’s Day tours for you and your man. The Wine Trail’s website http://www.riverroadwinetrail.com/index.php offers full details on each of the wineries, including the award-winning Paraiso Vineyards or the family owned Boekenoogen Vineyards and Winery.

 The Cypress Inn

The Cypress Inn

Another worthwhile stop in the Monterey Valley is Carmel-by-the-Sea, or Carmel for short. Carmel is home to rich natural beauty and plenty of artistic history. Once home to Upton Sinclair and an entire artists’ colony, this quaint town now features a bustling performing arts scene as well as a host of get-away opportunities. I had to visit the famous hotel owned by Doris Day, The Cypress Inn, because I think she is just fabulous, and I love that wherever you are in Carmel her songs are piped out of the walls…Que Sera Sera…off I go. Take a day to really enjoy this pretty little town and duck into the chi-chi boutiques and many galleries before taking in the sloping hills down to the pearly white coastal beaches. I want to live here and just bake cakes I loved it so much. More details are available at http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/.

Named one of America’s Prettiest Towns by both Yahoo! and Forbes Traveller, Monterey and the surrounding valley will stun you with coastal beauty and hip happenings. Visit http://www.monterey.org/ for help planning your get-away, whether with girlfriends, family, or just your adventure-loving self!

Fancy a trip? Click here to read our review of Chateau Coralini

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments are closed.