If you are looking to enjoy the holidays without having to shovel snow then winter in Monterey is the season for you! It's always a great time to experience the bounty Monterey has to offer but the winter months bring some of our best weather without the crowds. From whales and sea otters in the Pacific to the hiking trails in the Salinas Valley, there are plenty of activities to do that don't include having to pack your ski jacket!
There are over a dozen holiday happenings packed between late November and early December that evoke the warm and fuzzy feelings this season was meant to engender. Find your holiday cheer at the Cannery Row Holiday Tree Lighting on November 27 or the Salinas Parade of Lights on November 29.
Browse the lit up inns and B&Bs in Pacific Grove during Christmas at the Inns, December 1-2 and see rarely open Monterey adobes dressed up in seasonal splendor for Christmas in the Adobes, December 11-12.
Ring in the New Year at Frist Night Monterey where downtown Monterey is transformed into an all-day family-friendly NYE bash. Kick off 2015 on the right foot with at the Rio Grill Resolution Run bright and early on January 1.
Need we say more? The air may be cool and crisp but it rarely dips below 45 degrees on the Monterey Peninsula, which is the perfect weather to tackle that hike you have been putting off. Fog is not usually an issue in the winter months and it's often our sunnier time of year.
Rain is hard to predict but if you happen to be caught in a shower you are still sure to enjoy the accompanied clouds hugging the dramatic coastline. Here are "7 Fun Things to Do on Rainy Day in Monterey" just in case.
Fireplaces with a View
Cozy up next to someone special and enjoy a winter night snuggling by the fire. Whether you're looking for a scenic view, a people-watching view or a view made for two, you'll find the perfect fireplace just for you.
Score seats at one of the fire pits on the upper deck of Kula Ranch Island Grill for a great view of Marina State Beach where you can often watch hang gliders take to the air or simply soak in the sunset over the ocean.
For a more intimate take book a room at the Spindrift Inn on Cannery Row where several rooms come with their very own crackling wood fire and an ocean view. Click here for a full list of the "Best Fireplaces with a View."
Warm Up with a Steamy Beverage
Several restaurants and cafés in Monterey County hope to warm you up from the inside out with one of their cozy concoctions ranging from Mexican coffee, hot cocoa to traditional Irish coffee.
Sip in the legendary views of the Big Sur coastline at Nepenthe where they brew up a legion of coffee drinks, the highlight of which is without a doubt the Keoki Coffee, made with specialty coffee, Kahlua, Créme de Cacao and brandy.
Indulge in luxury and a liquor libation at The Inn at Spanish Bay. Sit by the fire pits on the patio to admire the surf, the bagpiper and the sunset, or snuggle inside on overstuffed chairs by the fireplace. Every hot drink is done to perfection, from the traditional Irish coffee to the less traditional Nutty Scotsman to the utterly decadent (and delicious) Chocolate Raspberry Nutty Truffle, a must for every chocolate lover. Click here to view "Top 10 Places to Grab a Hot Drink."
Winter Whale Sightings
Monterey Bay is unique in that you can catch a whale watching tour just about every day of the year. Winter is especially a prime time to catch the action on the bay as gray whales begin their migration north and start appearing in the Monterey Bay region in the beginning of December. You'll even have the opportunity to see the usual residents like dolphins, sea otters, harbor seals and sea lions.
Formally celebrate the return of gray whales to the Monterey Bay during Whalefest Monterey! Old Fisherman's Wharf and Custom House Plaza throw quite the migration party for these much loved creatures, January 23-24, 2016. This 2-day family fun festival hosts a variety of activities including live entertainment, face painting, educational exhibits, historic walking tours, chalk art, live music and much more.