FaceBook Twitter Flickr Youtube Google+ Pintrest Blog Instagram
FaceBook Twitter Flickr Youtube Google+ Pintrest Blog Instagram
Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley
Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium


After a few family vacations full of amusement parks or children's museums, parents long for an adult activity where their children are welcome. Monterey County has perfected creative ways to please every member of the clan. Be the family hero and book these Monterey experiences for your next vacation.

1. Hike it up

The most well-traveled parents catch their breath when they hike Big Sur cliffs, explore the Point Lobos tide pools or roam the talus caves of Pinnacles National Park. Kids can teach us a thing or two about the joy of exploring in these natural wonders.

In addition to self-guided nature activities, Monterey County's parks have plenty of ranger-led excursions that cater to the whole family. Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park's Campfire program runs from Memorial Day through Labor Day, with multiple ranger-led hikes and walks daily. Tweens can get a taste of independence with hour-long "Junior Ranger" activities, giving Mom and Dad a chance to kick back at the campsite.

Edu-vacation bonus: The Monterey Peninsula Regional Park District offers weekend hikes and nature exploration activities designed for kids from tots to teenagers as well as their parents. Introduce your toddler to butterflies in the morning, your tween to the adventure sport of geocacheing on an afternoon exploration, or your teen to owls on a special evening hike. Tweens and teens can even learn basic first aid skills at all-weekend classes.

2. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

Who doesn't like fast cars? Kids will rev up to the auto races, while mom and dad can get up close and personal with the cars of their dreams.

For parents, one of the best elements of a race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is the relaxed atmosphere. Mom and Dad can bring in food and drink for the kids, set up camp chairs on the grass, and have a family picnic while watching the action. Children can also burn off steam with a trip to the playground near turns 5 and 6. For a totally immersive experience, reserve a campsite at the raceway and set up your home away from home.

At many of the races, children will have the opportunity to meet racecar drivers. Younger children can participate in family activities in the racetrack infield, while older kids may want to browse the merchant booths and watch the live bands.

3. Down on the Farm

Get dirty. Harvest honey. Pick organic vegetables. The best way to create a memorable experience with children is to get down and dirty alongside them, and several of Monterey County's farms offer endless options for "quality time."

The Farm, located in Salinas, is a working farm designed to tell the story of Monterey County's agricultural heritage. Giant sculptures of farm hands are scattered throughout the fields, illustrating the acts of growing and harvesting food. Families can tour The Farm, meet real farmers, and learn how vegetables are grown. Kids can even visit farm animals such as goats, chickens and rabbits at The Farm's miniature zoo. Events throughout the year celebrate the seasons with activities and educational events.

Families can also explore gardens from pioneering organic food producers Earthbound Farm. Earthbound Farm's Carmel Valley Farm Stand is surrounded by the Cut-Your-Own Herb Garden and a Kids' Garden. Throughout the year, the Farm Stand has activities designed to educate children and their parents about organic farming and gardening. Reward your family after class with delicious local produce, organic ice cream and organic frozen yogurt from the Farm Stand.

4. Monterey Bay Aquarium

We know why this gem is great for children - but the Monterey Bay Aquarium is also a big draw for adults. Parents also giggle with abandon at the sea otters and gasp in awe at the Kelp Forest exhibit while learning a thing or two about our global commitment to ocean life. The family can take turns, first participating in child-focused hands-on activities, then enjoying some of the more tranquil and exotic exhibits.

Meals in the dining room are several cuts above average zoo and aquarium fare; the Monterey Bay Aquarium Restaurant features grownup, sustainable cuisine devised by celebrity chef Cindy Pawlcyn as well as some of Monterey County's best views of Monterey Bay.

5. For the Love of Wine

In Monterey County, making first-rate wines is a family business - and Monterey's wineries understand that families involve children. Some wine tasting rooms host play areas, video rooms, and kids activities to ensure the kids are entertained while the adults enjoy a Cabernet or Chardonnay. (The one place children are not allowed, according to California state law: the actual tasting bar.)

In the Cannery Row area, check out Pierce Ranch Vineyards or A Taste of Monterey. In the Salinas Valley, stop by the Scheid Vineyards tasting room in Greenfield, where kids can play bocce ball as their parents taste on the patio.

Lay of the Land

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)

Get Our eNewsletter

Get Our eNewsletter

Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more. more

Free Travel Guide

Free Travel Guide
Find out everything there is to see and do in Monterey County with the 2015 Offi...


Monterey Spotlight

Featured Events

  • Dec 1, 2015
    - Dec, 2, 2015

    Christmas at the Inns

    Visit 10 bed & breakfast inns decorated for the holidays in Victorian-era splendor. Limited number...more

  • Dec 11, 2015
    - Dec, 12, 2015

    Christmas in the Adobes

    Experience 20 of Monterey’s beautiful historic buildings illuminated by candlelight during this...more

  • Dec 25, 2015
    - Dec, 25, 2015

    Christmas Dinners in Monterey County

    Why suffer the stress of trying to please everyone's palate this Christmas? Start a new tradition...more

  • Dec 31, 2015
    - Dec, 31, 2015

    First Night Monterey 2016

    First Night Monterey is a festive New Year’s Eve community arts celebration designed for the...more


  • Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card

    The “Enjoy the Wonders of the Wharf VIP Card and Special Offers Campaign includes a free VIP Card...more

  • Flash Your Badge for Club Member Rewards

    The Del Monte Shopping Center is located just minutes from downtown Monterey and its top...more

  • Flash Your Badge for Various Discounts

    Come by the Carmel Plaza Concierge Center located on the second level next to Cole Haan. Receive a...more

  • Carmel Valley Wine Discovery

    Carmel Valley Wine Discovery 2015 2 Nights in One of Stonepine’s Houses or Cottage Accommodations...more


    Choose a FREE APP or 1Hr of Pool with any $20 purchase on selected items *Mention SEEMONTEREY to our...more

  • Flash Your Badge for a Complimentary Appetizer

    Portola Hotel & Spa is proud to participate in the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s...more

  • Flash Your Badge for a Complimentary Dessert

    Portola Hotel & Spa is proud to participate in the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau’s...more

  • Flash Your Badge for 20% Discount

    When meeting attendees visit Monterey Mirror Maze and show a meeting badge we will provide a 20%...more

  • Flash Your Badge for 20% Discount

    When meeting attendees visit Highway 1 Golf Games & Grub and show a meeting badge we will provide a...more

  • Flash Your Badge for Complimentary Tastings

    When meeting attendees visit Joyce Vineyards and show a meeting badge we will provide a...more

  • Flash Your Badge for Discounts

    When meeting attendees visit Trio Carmel and show a meeting badge we will provide two-for-one wine...more

  • Flash Your Badge for Discounts

    When meeting attendees visit Princess Monterey Whale Watching and the show a meeting badge or call...more