One of California's most popular attractions and often rated as a top family destination in the U.S., the Monterey Bay Aquarium is good for a half-day of fun.
Land and water meet in dramatic style at rocky Point Lobos. It would be well worth a visit if only for the hiking and shoreline views, but it also harbors a wide variety of fascinating creatures to watch.
Downtown CarmelDepending on your budget, you may do more window-shopping than buying, but checking out downtown Carmel's boutiques and art galleries is a pleasant way to spend some time.
Our out-of-town visitors (and local friends, too) always enjoy Sunday brunch at the Mission Ranch. The food is reliably tasty, the views never fail to impress - and there's even a live jazz ensemble.
This famous scenic drive passes some gorgeous scenery, over-the-top houses and the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links.
A harbor cruise on the glass-bottomed boat Mermaid is the best way to get a sea lion's-eye view of the harbor. We tried it once, enjoyed seeing (and photographing) the sea lions, otters, cormorants and other critters. In fact, this simple pleasure has made it on the list of things we do every time we're in Monterey. You don't need reservations and the cruises go out about every half hour.
Wintering in the trees in Pacific Grove, Monarch butterflies wake up in the morning and take flight like bunches of orange leaves fluttering around you.