When I was young, my family used to take trips down to Monterey. I remember walking along Cannery Row, coveting dolphin stuffed animals in the aquarium gift shop, and buying a novelty “I heart Monterey” sweatshirt because I was not prepared for the cold. It’s been years since I visited, but I’ve always had warm memories of the place, so when my husband and I were brainstorming locations for weekend trips, I knew just the place.
We spent our mornings taking foggy walks along the beach, while I was on high alert for otters (one of my spirit animals). We got free passes to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, so we spent a few hours watching shimmering schools of fish dart around in the floor to ceiling tanks. There’s also something mesmerizing about watching large kelp beds sway in slow motion at the aquarium.
One of my all time highlights of the trip was the half-day we spent along 17-mile drive. We stopped at Mundo’s Cafe for picnic fare (yummy tri-tip sandwiches) before heading out. Then, we leisurely made our way along the coast. Our favorite spot was China Rock, since there were so many wildflowers in bloom in that area. We stopped at one of the more quiet spots for a picnic overlooking the water. And then toward the end, we had fun oogling the showcase homes along the way (seriously, who lives in these homes?!).
We may have spent our time a little differently than my days in the aquarium gift shop, and this time, we were prepared for the cold. But all these years later, I still have that same soft spot for Monterey.