The most successful family vacations keep one essential component in mind: the grown-ups in the group have to feel as engaged, as excited, and as happy as the young ones - and vice versa. Monterey County's edu-vacation offerings like the Monterey Bay Aquarium, National Steinbeck Center, Carmel Mission and MY Museum are all loaded with activities that appeal to children as well as the child at heart.
Activities for Young Children
Monterey has so many intriguing options, your most difficult moment will be deciding what to do each morning. There's MY Museum, a real hands-on place where kids can make a TV program or run a country store, and the adventure playground of Dennis the Menace Park (created for the city by the creator of Dennis, Hank Ketcham).
Children can learn about marine wildlife at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, weave in-and-out of the Monterey Mirror Maze, then play ‘eye-spy' during a drive through Pebble Beach's 17-Mile Drive, home to shoreline birds, harbor and elephant seals, and more. Kids can even have an encounter with a kangaroo, elephant or monkey at Wild Things. You may never hear them say ‘are we there yet?' again - at least until you leave Monterey.
Children can be reluctant shoppers. To coax a little cooperation, choose a destination that makes browsing as much fun as possible: Cannery Row. The old canneries are now packed with a dazzling array of shops, galleries and places to eat. You can reward patience while you do some bayside wine tasting at the end of Steinbeck Plaza by sampling every known flavor of saltwater taffy, or honor their good humor while you try on sportswear and silver jewelry in the American Tin Cannery with a kite or wind toy.
Who knows? You might even pique their curiosity about how the Row got its name: buy them a copy of John Steinbeck's Cannery Row to read on the way home.
Fly direct from these five airports: Denver International Airport (DEN) Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) McCarran International Airport (LAS) Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX) San Francisco International Airport (SFO) San Diego International Airport (SAN)
Funded in cooperation with the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the communities of Pebble Beach Company, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, Sand City, Seaside, Moss Landing, Carmel Valley, Big Sur, and Salinas Valley.