Get Back to Nature Itinerary

Monterey County's wide-open spaces are waiting for you to explore. From hiking, biking and kayaking to birding, whale watching, scuba diving and more - there's so much to see and do by land, sea and air, you'll want to plan ahead so that you don't miss a moment. This itinerary will help you plan a rejuvenating 3-day getaway in Monterey County.

Day 1

What's wilder than having an elephant personally deliver food to your room? The kids are bound to go ape-crazy once you pull up to your digs at the Vision Quest Ranch in the Salinas Valley

The Ranch, also home to the Monterey Zoo, is home to trained exotic and domestic birds and animals who once starred in film, television and live productions. You will feel like you are on a safari once you check-in to your African style bungalows equipped with running water, electricity and a private bathroom. Don't be surprised if you hear lions and tigers roaring just outside of your canvas walled suite.

Salinas Valley Monterey Zoo

Home to 100+ exotic animals ranging from spiders to African elephants, the zoo offers a unique zoological experience. Many of the zoo’s animals have extremely close and personal relationships with their handlers and trainers which they are able to share with visitors. Spend the day getting to know your new animal friends before enjoying some family-friendly BBQ at neighborhood joint T&A Cafe

Day 2

Now it's time to get up close and personal with some sea creatures. Just a 20-minute drive away from your bungalow is the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium on Cannery Row. The aquarium reopens for all guests on May 15, 2021. Be sure to plan ahead and reserve your tickets online, as reservations are now required. Learn more about reopening, and how to plan your day at the aquarium here.  

Monterey Bay Aquarium Guests

Time to refuel! Just down Cannery Row is the Sly's Refueling Station. Dine on the outdoor patio and enjoy fresh sustainable seafood, or opt for kid friendly choices, like Corn Dog Bites, and Fish n Chips. Be on the lookout for a playful otter (or two) down below, and take your time to enjoy the massive views of Monterey Bay.

Test your sense of direction at the Monterey Mirror Maze just across the street. The psychedelic setting is complete with high-tech lighting and exciting music to dance to. Once you find your way out take time to stroll around the shops and attractions along Cannery Row. You can even take the Recreation Trail down to Old Fisherman's Wharf for a cup of good old clam chowder to round out the day.

Day 3

It's time to catch an up-close and exhilarating view of the whales found throughout the Monterey Bay on a whale watching excursion. You can see whales in the Monterey Bay year-round.

Gray Whale

You could see gray whales, blue whales, humpback whales or orcas depending on the time of year. You might even see sea lions, sea otters, jelly fish and a pod of dolphins.

Next, head over to Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley This popular leisure hiking spot has over 4,462-acres to explore, with trails varying from easy to strenuous. Notable features at Garland Ranch Regional Park include the Carmel River, Garzas Creek, a redwood canyon and a charming waterfall. Historic buildings dot Garland Ranch Regional Park, allowing visitors to experience Carmel Valley as it once was.

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