The following article was originally published on travelwhistles.com on 4/6/18.
Located on Monterey Bay on California’s Central Coast, Monterey is one of the state’s best-kept secrets for family vacations. From arts and culture to historical attractions and top-notch museums, the city has a little bit of something for adults and kids alike. If you’re planning a trip to the city and need some ideas for things to do with kids, add these activities to your list.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
No trip to Monterey is complete without a visit to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. With over 2 million guests per year, it’s the most-visited aquarium in the country. Open daily from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., the aquarium focuses on regional marine habitats. In total, it showcases over 35,000 animals across 550 species in tanks that hold a total of 2.3 million gallons of water. Jellyfish, sea otters, turtles, sharks, and stingrays are just some of the species your kids will love to view.
The aquarium covers 322,000 square feet of space, so exploring it in one day is a daunting task. Fortunately, many hotels near the Monterey Bay Aquarium offer two-day deals and discounts to the aquarium so you won’t feel rushed. Single-day tickets are $49.95 for adults, $39.95 for seniors and students, and $29.95 for children 13 and under.
Monterey County Fairgrounds
For an affordable vacation with the kids, head to the Monterey County Fairgrounds. This 22-acre site hosts some of Monterey’s top festivals and events, thanks to its two concert venues, carnival grounds, and 30,000 square feet of indoor space.
Annual events perfect for kids include the Monterey Bacon Fest, Scottish Games & Celtic Festival, the annual Monterey County Fair, and free concerts. An on-site RV park is convenient for multi-day events, but if you don’t have an RV, don’t fret. Several hotels near the Monterey County Fairgrounds make it convenient to get to and from all the festivities.
Explore Cannery Row
Set along the Monterey Bay waterfront, Cannery Row is a strip of old sardine factories that have been transformed into the area’s top dining, entertainment, and water sports district. Spanning just 1.5 miles, it’s the perfect spot for kids to explore.
Cannery Row has arguably the best and freshest seafood along the Central Coast. You can also grab a lunch and eat it aboard one of the ships or kayaks provided by local operators. Save money by booking a hotel near the Monterey Conference Center, which is a short walk from all the hot spots.
Discover the Culture
If you have more time in Monterey, don’t miss out on other top-notch attractions. The Monterey Youth Museum, known as MY Museum, is popular with younger children and is packed with plenty of adventure for a day’s visit. After a good night’s rest, head to the Monterey Zoo, which offers a chance to see lions, tigers, elephants, and more.
With so much to offer families and kids, Monterey is always a great choice for a vacation destination in California. Discover all the city has to offer as you plan your next trip.