After exploring Old Fisherman’s Wharf and the Monterey State Historic Park, we headed over to Cannery Row to browse the shops, have some lunch, and check out the beautiful views that Monterey Bay is famous for.
Running parallel to the Monterey Bay coastline, Cannery Row consists of luxury waterfront hotels, fabulous restaurants and bars, tasting rooms, and more than 85 shops, ranging from high-end boutiques to souvenir shops. It is also home to a number family-friendly attractions, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, an indoor miniature golf course, a mirror maze, laser tag, and an XD theater.
This historic waterfront district was made famous by writer John Steinbeck, who illustrated Cannery Row life in his books.
We first browsed the Cannery Row Shops, where Natalie found some awesome elephant pants and a tiny gold elephant sculpture and Carter found several penny machines. Score! He collects flattened pennies from all of our trips.
Cannery Row Dining
Home to over 25 different restaurants, Cannery Row offers many dining options.
We chose The Fish Hopper because of its fabulous location over the water and stunning views of Monterey Bay. Even though it was already after noon, we were seated right away at a table along the windows. The food was delicious, the service was great, and our server was friendly and helpful.
On the way back to our car, we stopped by the Nestle Toll House Bakery for some fresh baked cookies and handmade ice cream sandwiches, and the IT’SUGAR candy store for some road trip sweets. We spent a lot of time in this store marveling at the giant boxes of our favorite candies!
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Located at the end of historic Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium provides a close look at marine life, including sea otters, penguins, sharks, jellies.
Today, more than 30 years after opening, the Monterey Bay Aquarium showcases the habitats and sea life of one of the world’s richest marine regions. More than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species fill 34 major galleries. With nearly 200 exhibits in all, the Aquarium is a spectacular window to the wonders of the ocean.
We have visited the aquarium a few times now, and every time the kids have loved the up close and personal experience with the marine life, watching the daily shows and feedings, and walking through the Wave Crash Gallery Tunnel that pumps 600 gallons of water and crashes every 30 seconds. Their favorite exhibits are the penguins, sea otters, kelp forest, and sharks.
- Take a virtual tour of the aquarium.
- Download games and activities for kids of all ages.
- Check out the live webcams of a variety of exhibits.
Monterey Bay Coastline
After leaving Cannery Row, we continued our drive along the coastline to Lovers Point and the Point Pinos Lighthouse. Driving along the coastline provides absolutely spectacular views of waves crashing on the shore, water spraying into the air as it crashes over rocks, and stretches of rocky beaches.
With many areas to pull off the road and explore, it took us an hour to drive just a few miles!
We watched the waves crash along the shoreline and beaches, climbed on rocks, collected sea shells, and played along the pacific coastline. It was relaxing to not be in a hurry to get anywhere!