If you’re a mom, you know the drill: packing lunches, drop offs at soccer practice and homework all come first. And that’s not even including your own work, inside or outside of the home, or your relationship! What’s a mom have to do to get a little break? In case you need to give your family (or yourself) a few reasons to unplug and recharge in Monterey County, here are just a few ideas:

1. Wine, wine and more wine

Since the Franciscan Friars first introduced wine grapes in Monterey County near the Soledad Mission in southern Monterey County more than 200 years ago, the region has been doing it up with wines of many varietals. Today, some 85 vintners and growers tend to over 40,000 acres of wine grapes with over 60 tasting rooms to choose from. Note: the most popular are Chardonnay (yes, way) and Pinot Noir (get in my glass!). Wine lovers can tour wineries and sample tasting rooms throughout Carmel Valley, Salinas Valley and Carmel-by-the-Sea

Where to start? With over 60 tasting rooms, you’re going to need to narrow down your list and then make notes of those you’d like to visit, or revisit, on your next trip to Monterey.

Dawn's Dream

2. Shopping

Many of my girlfriends can attest a tried and true wine pairing: shopping! What’s better than combining pleasures? Carmel-by-the-Sea is an obvious choice with quaint shops in addition to more widely known stores (hello Tiffany, I see you). And you can even pick up a souvenir or two for the fam. Feeling a little self-indulgent after all that wine and shopping? Let’s move on to something that will take care of that mommy guilt ASAP.

Carmel Plaza

3. Hiking

You can’t come to Monterey County and NOT get outside. Bonus: hiking = exercise = endorphins. A healthy way to work off the stress of mom life. If a challenging hike is your thing, venture out to Pinnacles National Park. Climb spires, wind through trails and maybe see a California Condor or two. Tip: if you’re in need of refreshment after that strenuous (or not so strenuous) hike, there are a plethora of wineries awaiting just beyond the park in Soledad. But I digress, if your outdoor style involves the coastal air on your face, the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail is perfect for a leisurely hike (ok, walk) along the beautiful Monterey Bay coastline. The sun, the surf, the seals barking in the distance…what could be more relaxing? Actually, that gives me another idea.

Pinnacles National Park

4. Spa

Did someone say Mommy Spa Day? Why wait for Mother’s Day to roll around to treat yo’self to some requisite R&R? And fortunately, Monterey County is home to a host of world-class spas. Many such spas are located in the local hotels and resorts, making it uber convenient to head back to your room post-treatment for a (gasp!) nap. Naps aren’t just for kids ya know, especially with all of the wine, shopping, activity and spa treatments you’ll be enjoying.

Spa Deck

5. Events

One thing I know about moms, as much as we love the occasional moment of peace—we’re often so accustomed to the go-go-go pace of life that we aren’t comfortable sitting still for too long. Besides, Monterey County offers a variety of events—from family friendly to those that will take you back to your pre-mom days. The Monterey Jazz Festival is an iconic event and checks the box on entertainment and relaxation. To really let loose there’s the Beer Festival and Cali Roots festivals. And if you’re in the mood for something a bit more upscale, Pebble Beach Food and Wine in spring or Big Sur Food and Wine in the fall.

Big Sur Food & Wine

With so much to see and do, or the option to not do anything aside from enjoy yourself, it’s time to pack your bags and come to Monterey. Tell the kids you’ll send a postcard and bring back one of those adorable stuffed otters. And once you’ve recharged your mommy batteries, come back and bring the kiddos--because there’s a lot more to see and do with the whole family.