We’ve been making our way up north to Monterey County once a year during winter for the past three years. While we’ve done most of the main attractions already, we never get bored of repeating a few, like the breathtaking 17-mile drive to Carmel Valley.
In today’s post, I’m going to share our lists of favorite things to do in Pacific Grove, Big Sur, and the drive home to L.A. Along with our favorite places to stay that are pet-friendly (because we bring the whole gang), and places to eat.
The Centrella Inn. is a national historic landmark in Pacific Grove. This is the first bed and breakfast that we booked the first time we visited this city. What I love about this place is how it can easily transport you to the 1800s. I was reading Little Women around that time and fell in love with that era of time. There’s the main house with rooms beautifully decorated in the Victorian-era and 2 suites in the back.
If you have dogs, you’ll be very happy to know that they also have 2 cottages in the back through a secret garden. We loved that it offered more privacy. It was a 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a living room, porch, and a back door to the street, right by the ocean.
Things to do in Pacific Grove and Monterey Bay
- Monterey Bay Aquarium – We LOVE this aquarium! It’s one of the best we’ve ever visited. Izek and Jesse especially love learning about marine life and seeing the sharks, penguins, otters, and many other animals. I highly recommend it!
- Cannery Row – The aquarium among many places to sleep, eat, and have fun are all located on Cannery Row. Check out this link for a list of more fun things to do along this beautiful coast. It truly is an “unforgettable place”.
- Lovers Point Beach – The perfect place to take a stroll with your dog, picnic, sightsee, and partake on many fun watersports available! You can do it all here! We rented one of those bicycles where three people fit and peddle together. We rode along the coastline for about 1 hour, it was super fun!
- Point Pinos Lighthouse – Point Pinos is another historic landmark and the oldest existing lighthouse on the west coast since 1885 that is still active today!
- 17- Mile Drive – This is a must-do for us every single year. The 17-mile drive starts in Pebble Beach and ends around Carmel Valley. You will get to visually experience some of the most beautiful views of the central Pacific Ocean. There are many stops along the way in which you can pull over to take in the beauty of what God has created. The ocean waves are tall, powerful and loudly ferocious, a definite sight to see.
Pictures were taken at Point Pinos
Outside the Monterey Aquarium. Izek loves bringing a new friend home each year from the gift shop.
View from the second floor at the aquarium.
Asilomar State Beach (Pacific Grove)
This is the location of where my favorite spiritual movie, The Shift by Dr. Wayne Dyer was filmed! I had to visit it!
17- Mile Drive
Pacific Grove is known for these cute cottages! Can I move in?
Driving down the 1 freeway home you won’t miss the chance to see Bixby Bridge!
Big Sur is a rugged stretch of California’s central coast between Carmel and San Simeon.
There’s also a lot of great places to hike and camp out with the family in the forest!
We made a stop at McWay Falls!
This was our view as we had lunch at Nepenthe. This place is very popular so plan on waiting a long time! But, they do make the wait worthwhile. You can play ping-pong, have a drink at the bar, or just take in the views while you wait for your table!
On our way back home we made a stop by Hearst Castle located in San Simeon. Like I mentioned before, driving down to L.A. from Central California is a 5-6 hour drive depending on which freeway you take home. We love taking a long way home so we can take advantage of some really cool places to see. One of them being Hearst Castle. They offer a great tour of the property which is great for adults and some kids, but my Izek was not interested in the history of the place if we are being honest.
Random stop off the 1 Highway to stretch and let our doggies pee.
We ended our trip by watching the sunset in Pismo Beach. Simply beautfuil!