Old Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey

Old Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey

Monterey on a Shoestring

Monterey can be a blast without having to drop a bundle on food, entertainment and fun! Check out our ideas on ways to enjoy the beautiful city on the bay with activities costing under $40 for two people.

  • During the summer visitors can enjoy FREE transportation around Monterey with MST’s trolley, The WAVE. Ride in style and leave the stress of driving and parking to your trolley conductor. The trolley makes convenient stops at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, designated parking garages, Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown Monterey.
  • Stop by the Monterey Visitors Center located at Lake El Estero for free information and coupons. Let one of the friendly staff members map out your itinerary and the must-see activities in the area.
  • Traveling with kids? Take your tiny tots to MY Museum where kids can tap into their curiosity with hands-on science exhibits.
  • Just a short distance from MY Museum is the famous Dennis the Menace Park at El Estero Park. The creator of the Dennis the Menace comic strip, Hank Ketchum, designed the children’s stomping ground himself. It includes three large slides, a climbing wall, suspension bridge, a giant adventure ship, a Southern Pacific steam engine and more.
  • Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along the scenic coastal recreational trail. Rent a bike at one of the fine bike rental companies along the trail and cruise hot spots such as Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row.  For those with a larger party try the surrey, a four wheeled bike carriage that can seat up to six. For other bike rides check out the list of the top 10 bike rides in Monterey County.
  • History buffs can get a taste of what Monterey was like in the early days during a self guided “Path of History” tour. Visitors can simply download the walking map or utilize the cell phone tour.  The tour of Old Monterey is marked by yellow tiles set in the sidewalk and explores adobes, gardens and other sites of historical interest.
  • For a guided tour of Old Monterey catch a Monterey Walking Tour Friday through Sunday starting at 10am. Curious historians will embark on a 2 hour excursion with snippets of Monterey’s history beginning with the Spanish explorers.
  • Outdoor enthusiasts on a budget can experience some of the best views of the Monterey Peninsula at Jacks Peak. This county park offers great day hikes throughout its 8.5 miles of trails. Pack a lunch and relax at one of the several picnic benches. For more great hikes in Monterey County check out the list of top hikes.
  • The flat beach at Monterey State Beach is an excellent spot for beachcombing. The long stretch of sand provides treasure hunters of all ages with the thrill of the hunt.  Sea glass is among one of the more popular finds.
  • Head to Fisherman’s Wharf and get your fix of fresh clam chowder. Whether you’re buying a bread bowl full of the creamy goodness or trying multiple samples from wharf restaurants you are sure to stay on budget.
  • Is it Tuesday? If so then mosey over to Alvarado Street in Oldtown Monterey for the freshest produce on the peninsula. The Oldtown Farmers' Market not only features great fruit and veggies but arts and crafts, musical performances, handmade jewelry, clothing, international food, organic produce, flowers, and pastries as well. The market runs 4pm-8pm during the summer months and 4pm-7pm during the winter.
  • It’s time to get your golf on, disc golf that is! The Ryan Ranch Disc Golf Course offers 27 challenging holes and is free to visitors. The grounds even held matches for 2011’s PDGA Pro Disc Golf World Championships- equivalent to the US Open for golfers.
  • Pack the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolates because it’s time to make smores! Del Monte Beach off Casa Verde Way permits bonfires in designated fire rings until 10pm.
  • While you’re in Monterey don’t miss out on the fabulous wines that Monterey County has to offer! Several tasting rooms are located on Cannery Row including Pierce Ranch Vineyards and a Taste of Monterey.
  • The Monterey Mirror Maze on Cannery Row is great adventure for the entire family! Adults and youth are challenged as they try to find their way out of the psychedelic labyrinth.
  • Several great happy hours are to be had in Monterey but those at Esteban’s and Hula Island Grill and Tiki Room stand out amongst the crowd. These local eateries will get you in and out for under $40, even with a beverage or two. 
  • Museum of Monterey in Custom House Plaza offers visitors a glimpse into Monterey’s unique heritage and culture. Exhibits include over 50,000 artifacts including maritime relics, early Californian art, examples of clothing from the mid-19th century and historic documents. 
  • Head over the Monterey Museum of Art and linger among their eight exhibits dedicated to American and early California paintings, photography and contemporary art. Haven’t had enough? Check out their sister location at La Mirada. Here you will find even more exhibits, lush gardens and an old stone adobe where Hollywood’s elite were once entertained.
  • Time for dessert! Warm up by one of the fire pits at the Cannery Row Brewing Company and order the cookie skillet. You will not regret the warm chocolate chip cookie smothered in vanilla bean ice cream and drizzled with caramel sauce.


Lay of the Land

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Lay of the Land



County Map


Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.


Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

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Monterey Highlights
Monterey County's scenic drives range from the legendary to the little-known, from Highway One to ... more
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative ... more
This is a great place to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Monterey. ... more
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course best known for The Corkscrew and ... more
The Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission (Carmel Mission) was founded in 1770, making ... more
Cannery Row houses an eclectic blend of specialty shops, local artists' galleries, more than 25 ... more
Home to museums, galleries and performing arts venues, Monterey County is a hub for artistic ... more
The antique restored adobes make Monterey the most historic city in California. ... more
Monterey County's shopping scene is full of great deals and extraordinary surprises, from fine art ... more
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Monterey Spotlight

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Artichoke Festival

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