Throughout Monterey County, twinkling lights are being strung, trees are being adorned, wreaths are being hung and both retail stores and lodging properties are decking their halls – all to bring some much needed cheer this holiday season. It’s the perfect time of year to support local businesses and gift a piece of the stunning California central coast to loved ones near and far. From stocking stuffers to unforgettable experiences, we’ve compiled a list of memorable gifts to celebrate this magical season.
Experience the Outdoors
Monterey Bay Kayaking Tour
Give a private guided kayaking tour of Elkhorn Slough Estuary Reserve in Moss Landing, known for its abundant wildlife – from sea otters and harbor seals to more than 300 species of birds. Rated the #1 tour in the Monterey area by Trip Advisor, these tours are open daily and available to book in advance. Two-hour tours for up to four people are $440.
Pebble Beach Resort Golf Gear
Find the perfect gift for golf-lovers at Pebble Beach Resort’s online shop. From a new tumbler, golf shirt, ornament or set of golf balls, Pebble Beach has all the gifts golf enthusiasts need to score a hole-in-one this holiday season.
Classic Car Experience
Give a gift that comes complete with stunning views. Car enthusiasts can enjoy a drive down Highway 1 and take in the iconic Big Sur coastline with a classic car rental from Monterey Touring Vehicles. Explore nearby areas, from fairy tale-style cottages in Carmel-by-the-Sea, to world-renowned 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, and award-winning vineyards and horse ranches in Carmel Valley. Choose from more than 35 cars that can be rented for a minimum of 4 hours or however long your road trip takes you. Car rentals range from $200 to $600 for four hours.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Gift Packages
Ocean lovers will be ecstatic with one of eight gift packages the world famous Aquarium is offering this holiday season. Suitable for all ages, these exclusive gifts will provide year-round fun and the opportunity to learn about wildlife native to the Monterey Bay and Pacific Ocean. Packages are priced between $25 and $75.
Wine Tasting Helicopter Tour
Gift a wine tasting tour with a twist! Specialized Helicopters offers wine tasting tours complete with aerial views of the Monterey Bay. Flights take guests directly to wineries in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, roughly 25 miles inland from the Monterey Bay. The region is the largest grower of Chardonnay in the United States and produces the highest-rated and largest amount of Pinot Noir in California. Once on the ground, winery staff greet guests and provide a tour of the winery. Tours start at $460 per person.
Relax and Rejuvenate
Give Them What They Really Want: An Overnight Stay
Gift the ultimate relaxing escape with a gift card to one of more than 200 lodging properties in Monterey County for when the time is right. Several properties are offering with savings up to 40% off. Plus, Monterey County lodging properties are committed to providing a for its guests with added safety precautions for your peace of mind. Several properties are offering deals and specials with savings up to 40% off. Plus, Monterey County lodging properties are committed to providing a healthy and safe stay for its guests with added safety precautions for your peace of mind.
Luxurious Home Goods
Bring the luxury of Big Sur, California’s Post Ranch Inn home with products from the resort's online shop. Situated atop cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, the world-class resort makes their signature sateen sheets ($600) and plush robes ($160) available for purchase via their online shop. These gifts are perfect for creating an at-home sanctuary and providing a sneak peek of a future Big Sur getaway.
Outdoor Spa Treatment
Carmel Valley’s Bernardus Lodge & Spa is now offering innovative pa treatments in light of COVID-19 safety requirements. The Spa now has four private outdoor treatment spaces on patios that adjoin to the treatment rooms and all massage and facial services take place in the new outdoor spaces. Carmel Valley enjoys 300+ days of sunshine each year, making it the perfect place for a vitamin D-filled relaxing escape.
John Steinbeck Novels
Looking to experience Monterey County without leaving home? Purchase novels by legendary author John Steinbeck, who was born and raised in Monterey County’s agricultural hub of Salinas. Monterey County is the backdrop for many of his books – including “Cannery Row” and its sequel “Sweet Thursday.” Both books can be purchased from the National Steinbeck Center’s online shop.
Taste California’s Finest
Handcrafted Pasta Sauces
Chef Pèpe’s handcrafted Little Napoli pasta sauces make the perfect gift for foodies. These authentic sauces — available in Garlic-Basil, Puttanesca and Arrabbiata — offer a taste of Italy from home. Chef Pèpe’s Little Napoli sauces are staples at his restaurants, Little Napoli and Vesuvios Italina Restaurant in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Each bottle is handcrafted in Chef Pèpe’s kitchen with 100% natural ingredients and no preservatives. All three of Chef Pèpe’s Little Napoli sauces can be purchased and shipped nationwide via Amazon.
Monterey Bay in a Box
From local chocolates to honey, scented hand soaps and hand-painted ornaments, Monterey Bay Food Tour’s gift boxes bring a taste of California’s central coast home and help support local businesses in Monterey County. Perfect for those who’ve had to cancel travel plans but still looking to cure their wanderlust, these gift sets include everything necessary for the ultimate “staycation” with a West Coast twist. View the gift collections online.
Sea Salt Caramels
The Cottage of Sweets is a traditional British-style sweets shop that has called Carmel home since 1959. They provide a collection of fudge, locally made chocolates, British sweets, gummies and a wide variety of nostalgic and children's novelty candies – and have been ranked as one of the best candy shops in the U.S.! Pick from its robust collection of sweets, guaranteed to make crowd-pleasing stocking stuffers.
Baker’s Bacon Gift Box
Formerly at Monterey’s Montrio Bistro, local chef Tony Baker recently opened his own shop in Marina, specializing in signature bacon cuts. Previously only available to high-end restaurants, now Baker’s Bacon is available to enjoy at home. Browse their gift boxes and order online. Click here for 10% off.
Award-Winning Olive Oil
California’s best olive oil is found in southern Monterey County near the tiny town of San Ardo at 43 Ranch. Choose from four extra virgin olive oil flavors or its new reserve. The internationally acclaimed Ranch doesn’t stop at producing olive oils, but also offers soap and honey. A 250 milliter tin starts at $19 and can be ordered online.
Located in Pacific Grove, is all about farm driven foods. Known for its award-winning jams, marmalades and jellies, gift a delicious variety of California fruits with their Sweet California Gift Box. The box can be ordered and includes plum jam, blackberry jam, Big Sur marmalade and Meyer lemon marmalade.
Didn’t see your favorite outfitter or eatery on this list? Monterey County attractions and restaurants also have gift cards available to purchase for the holiday season. Whether you’re looking to provide a romantic dinner at The Sardine Factory or explore the wide-open seas on a whale watching voyage, there is something for everyone in Monterey County.
We wish you a safe and happy holiday season!