The Big Sur International Marathon is by no means an easy run but the insanely beautiful views and prime location help make that burning feeling in your legs worth it. There is so much more to experience in Monterey County outside of the marathon course. Be sure to treat yourself post-race to a few extra days of rest and relaxation, you deserve it!

Whale Watching

The Monterey Bay is teeming with sea life and is a great place for whale watching since these giant ocean mammals can be seen year round as they migrate up and down the California coastline. Both Monterey and Moss Landing offer great options for whale watching excursions. Fast Raft Whale Watching is always a crowd-pleaser where visitors can get up close and personal with the ocean aboard a rigid inflatable raft.

Humpback Whale

Stroll through Point Lobos

Point Lobos, often referred to as “the Gateway to Big Sur,” isn’t far from town but gives visitors a glimpse into the amazing scenery and rugged coastline that makes Big Sur unique. The hiking trails are fairly easy which makes it a perfect place to explore with family and can be managed despite sore muscles post-race.

DSC_7025 Explored 1/28/2012

Wine Tasting on River Road

River Road has a wide selection of tasting rooms that feature premier Monterey County wines. River Road tasting rooms allow wine-lovers to truly immerse themselves in Monterey wine country as many of these wineries are nestled on beautiful vineyard properties at the base of the Santa Lucia mountain range. Forget drawing straws for a designated driver and book Ag Venture Tours to do the driving for you.

Hahn Vinyards

Picnic on Carmel Beach

The gorgeous white sands of Carmel Beach are sure to re-energize you after your long jaunt. This dog-friendly beach is just a couple blocks away from Ocean Avenue and is a great place to watch the sunset. Do as the locals do and stop by in town to grab some delicious snacks and a bottle of wine before heading down to the beach for a quintessential California beach picnic.

carmel beach

17-Mile Drive & Happy Hour at Spanish Bay

The Big Sur Marathon course takes place on one of the most breathtaking scenic drives in Monterey County, but those looking to see more of the county, a leisurely drive along 17-Mile Drive is not to be missed. Be sure to take advantage of the beautiful beaches along the way and stop for an iconic photo of the Lone Cypress Tree. Leave time at the end of the drive to grab a drink at Spanish Bay, relax at their outdoor fire pits and enjoy the tunes of their resident bagpiper as the sun goes down.

Lone Cypress Tree, 17-Mile Drive, California

Refuge Getaway

Combat sore muscles and fatigued bodies at the Refuge. The thermal cycle of hot and cold pools, outdoor fire pits, sauna and Eucalyptus steam room are perfect elements to recharge and unwind after running 26.2 miles. For those looking for the next level of relaxation, the Refuge also offers 50 and 100-minute massages.

Eat Global Cuisine in Seaside & Marina

Looking to refuel after the marathon? Look no further than Seaside and Marina. A short drive from Monterey, both cities host several restaurants that feature cuisines from around the world. Gusto’s is a great spot for carbo-loading that includes many ingredients that are imported directly from Italy for authentic Italian pizzas and pastas.

Capricciosa Pizza at Gusto