Monterey moments are one-of-a-kind. Within the course of a day you can find yourself going from total bliss, to warm fuzzy feelings, to being absolutely amazed! Here’s our top picks for some of the best “ahhh” “awe” and “awww” moments to experience in Monterey.

1. Awww moment: Seeing sea otters play

Otters playing in the kelp? Talk about cuteness overload. Double the cuteness points if it is a mother with her fluffy baby. Best places to spot these cuddlier creatures are at Elkhorn Slough, Cannery Row and Point Lobos.

CA Sea Otter

2. Ahhh moment: Laying in the sun at the warming pool after a massage at the Bernardus Lodge Spa

Because nothing says relaxed more than some sunshine, a massage, and wine.

Pool Area at Bernardus Lodge & Spa

3. Awe moment: Exploring one of the caves at Pinnacles National Park

Exploring caves in an ancient volcanic field is undeniably awe-inspiring…plus on the other side you might see some endangered California condors!

Pinnacles National Park

4. Awww moment: Watching a mother whale swim with her calf

Head out on a whale watching boat in Monterey or Moss Landing and you might be lucky enough to catch sight of a mother whale and her baby swimming together in the bay.


5. Ahhh moment: Kicking back with a glass of wine and listening to live music at Folktale Winery

Relax out on the Folktale Winery lawn with a charcuterie plate, giant Jenga, and some live tunes… doesn’t get much better than that!

Folktale Winery

6. Awe moment: Riding horses on Salinas River State Beach at sunset

A beautiful sunset on the beach from horseback may make you feel as if you are on a Hollywood movie set and not a secluded Monterey Bay beach.

Horseback Riding on Salinas River State Beach

7. Awww moment: Watching dogs splash in the waves as you walk the soft sands of Carmel Beach

Puppies rolling in the sand and dragging seaweed along the surf is sure to bring on a case of the warm fuzzies.

carmel beach

8. Ahhh moment: Sitting in a river chair at the Big Sur River Inn

Sitting under the shade of trees and cooling your feet off in the river with a cold beer in hand is a perfect way to unwind.

The River Inn

9. Awe moment: Paragliding in Marina and getting a bird’s eye view of Monterey Bay

Take to the skies to get an adrenaline rush and incredible views of the Monterey Bay. From above you can get a snapshot of everything in-between bustling Old Fisherman’s Wharf to the sand dune-lined beaches in Moss Landing.

Hang Gliders on Marina State Beach

10. Awww moment: Discovering the cute cottages and courtyards of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea has some adorable cottages and hidden courtyards that look out of a fairy tale story book.

Secret Garden in Carmel-by-the-Sea

11. Ahhh moment: Having a full belly of seafood at Passionfish in Pacific Grove

Not only is it delicious but it’s sustainable. Don’t just take our word for it, check out their stellar reviews on Yelp!


12. Awe Moment: Soaking in the sights along 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach

17-Mile Drive is listed as one of the most scenic drives in California, and for good reason! This incredible stretch of roadway, inside Pebble Beach's private gates, hugs Monterey Peninsula's rocky coastline with awe-inspiring sights along the way like the Lone Cypress Tree, Pebble Beach Golf Links and multi-million dollar mansions.

17-Mile Drive