Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey & Carmel-by-the-Sea – California
Have you ever gone on a holiday and wondered if you’d really booked the right hotel? What if it’s in a bad area in a dodgy part of town? Sometimes you just have to hold your breath and hope you’ve got it right.
We were visiting the Monterey area of California to do some touristy stuff like whale watching, and we booked a hotel in a town called Seaside. Ever heard of it? Us neither. On the map it looked fine, but what does a map tell you about a town other than it has roads and parks.
Well we needn’t have worried, because we get there and it turns out that Seaside is a nice town that is hard to differentiate from Sea City, Sand City and Monterey – because they all basically run into each other with no breaks between them. In fact the whole area is about as perfect as you could imagine – we didn’t want to leave.
The signposts directing you to Fisherman’s Wharf are numerous and easy to follow from anywhere in the Seaside/Monterey area. If you ever get lost, just follow the incessant barking of the harbor seals and sea lions – they’ll get you there!
Old Fisherman’s Wharf is very rustic with plenty of daily fishing vessels for hire as well as several restaurants. The newer Fisherman’s Wharf is a short trek (or you can pay to park closer) past the many boats docked in the harbor. Most of the tourists head to the new one because of the abundance of restaurants and shops along the pier. We spent time browsing in the shops and found the souvenir prices were very reasonable and the selection was plentiful – if you can’t find anything here to take back home to your friends and family then you’re not trying hard enough!
Don’t forget to take a trip through downtown Monterey – a beautiful little city that’s very clean and has a small-town look to it. It sits between Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row.
Cannery Row is another touristy destination in the area – after leaving Old Fisherman’s Wharf we arrived there so fast we actually wondered if we were in the right place! Less than 5 minutes from Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row at night was lit up in all its glory. With top-class hotels, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and plenty of boutique stores we’d have to return during the day so we wouldn’t miss a thing.
We returned the next day and found parking at Cannery Row to be problematic with everyone being encouraged to park in the surrounding area (parking police are everywhere), but we found a parking lot at the beginning of the street (at the opposite end to the Aquarium) which was both convenient and quite cheap – $5 all day. Walking down one side of the street and back up the other afforded us the opportunity to see most of what Cannery Row has to offer. About half way down on the ocean side is a covered mall that has lots of specialty stores – be sure to take the time to explore the art galleries and souvenir shops while taking in the well-preserved and authentic look of Cannery Row.
For a terrific map of the area check out this website: Discovery Maps – Monterey. Another good website is www.SeeMonterey.com – it helped us a lot to figure out what the area has to offer.
Heading south on Highway 1 from Monterey is Carmel-by-the-Sea, a beautiful little town right on the ocean with a white sand beach. Carmel is more upper-crust than the other towns and cities in the area, with plenty of art galleries and several gourmet restaurants. It’s worth the time to visit and have a relaxing stroll along the tree lined streets and boulevards. www.CarmelCalifornia.com
17-Mile Drive & Cyprus Tree
Just a little further down the road is the world-renowned 17-Mile Drive with its large expensive mansions and the infamous leaning Cyprus Tree and Pebble Beach (you have to pay to get onto parts of the road – FYI). We ran out of time and didn’t have the opportunity to see this part of the area, but it just gives us another reason to return in the future.
Iain Shankland & Gail Shankland started blogging in order to inspire and motivate people to travel the world from their perspective – specializing in having the most fun while using the least amount of money, travelling on the cheap without sacrificing comfort.
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