Local Area Attractions
We are within 18 miles of Monterey Aquarium and Canary Row. Carmel is only 25 miles with the 17 miles drive only 20 miles from us. We are right at the 101 and 156 highways with the beach at Moss Landing only 7 miles away. Whale watching is right at the marina at Moss Landing and we have the best dog beach around. The famous "Phil's Fish Market" is also in Moss Landing (which has been on the Food Network Channel with Bobby Flay). We are within 40 minutes of the boardwalk in Santa Cruz and only 4 miles from Elkhorn Slough and Manzinita Park off Hwy 1. Salinas National Steinbeck Center is only 9 miles south of the park. Seca Raceway is only 20 miles from our park and such an easy on/off to all parking. The Garlic Festival in Gilroy is 18 miles. Don't forget the 17-mile drive out of Carmel, where you will end up at one of the best shopping areas around. Go wine tasting at the many winery's in the Salinas/Monterey area. Easy access to the 101 & 156 freeways at our back door.
Monterey County is home to Big Sur’s rugged coastline, the golf courses of Pebble Beach, Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, the quaint, posh village of Carmel and the rolling vineyards of the Salinas Valley. Monterey County wineries now total over 75 with 40,000 acres planted with 40 different grape varieties. The wineries here include a few large million case producers but most make fewer than 25,000 cases annually, with a handful producing fewer than 5,000. Tasting fees range from nothing (at most of the Salinas Valley wineries) to up to $15 in Carmel Valley. Most charge $5 or less. The vineyards and wineries are spread out within seven different American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Pinot Blanc dominate the vineyards in the north. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel are most common in the south. Over 40% of the county’s vines are planted to Chardonnay with many of the vineyards owned by out-of-the-area wineries. Close to 70% of Monterey fruit is shipped out of the county.
The Monterey Aquarium is only 18 miles from the park off Highway 156 to Hwy 1 to downtown Monterey. The aquarium is one of the largest with many exhibits as follows: Giant Pacific Octopus Hot Pink Flamingos Kelp Forest Life on the Bay Mission to the Deep Monterey Bay Habitats Outer Bay Rocky Shore Sandy Shore & Aviary Secret Lives of Seahorses Sea Otters Splash Zone & Penguins
17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA
17-Mile Drive is widely recognized as one of the most scenic drives in the world. The famous coastal landmark runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the majestic Del Monte Forest. The awe-inspiring vistas and legendary sites can easily fill an entire day with exploration and discovery, although visitors with less time should not miss the opportunity to experience this wondrous journey as well. Marvel at some of nature’s treasures found along 17-Mile Drive including The Lone Cypress – one of California’s best-known landmarks – Spanish Bay, Cypress Point Lookout and Carmel Bay. You can also see the emerald fairways of The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links. Be a winner and stop at the Pebble Beach Golf course and have your picture taken on the 18th hole.
Want to see wildlife: In Moss Landing the "Elkhorn Slough Safari" gets up close and personal with sea otters, harbor seals and shorebirds during a pontoon boat ride on one of California's largest salt marshes. Older kids will enjoy kayaking on the Monterey Bay) the nation's largest marine sanctuary) past harbor seals, sea lions, kelp beds, coastal birds and more.
Whale-watching cruises depart from Monterey's Fisherman's Wharf throughout the year to spot humpbacks, blues and grays. There are also cruises that depart from Moss Landing during the season.
Wild Thing promises a roaring good time with daily tours showcasing lions, elephants, bears, zebras, camels and other animals living at the facility. Wild Things A. R. Inc. 400 River Road Salinas, CA 93908 (831) 455-1901 Fax (831) 455-1902 call us at (800) 228-7382 Located on the Vision Quest Ranch in Monterey County California "Wild Things " A. R. Inc. is dedicated to providing professionally & humanely trained wild/exotic & domestic birds and animals for film, television, live productions, education and much more. Wild Things takes great pride in offering sanctuary to many animals that can no longer participate in entertainment or would otherwise not have a home or family. We've adopted many of our animals from situations that were less than ideal for their health and well-being. We have found ways to share them with others on our tours and educational programs that we feel are fun, safe and rewarding to all - especially the animals. We invite you to tour our website to discover all the exciting ways you can visit and learn about our animals and our facility.
Monarch Grove Sanctuary
Every year, over 25,000 Monarchs Overwinter in Pacific Grove. Arriving in October, the Monarch Butterflies cluster together on the pines and eucalyptus trees of the Sanctuary. Their migration to Pacific Grove is so unique and inspiring that Pacific Grove is nicknamed "Butterfly Town, U.S.A." The community has always welcomed the butterflies and sought for their protection. Citizens of Pacific Grove voted to create an additional tax to create the Monarch Grove Sanctuary, led by dedicated volunteers. Where do they come from? The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is a widespread tropical insect that ranges as far north as Canada. It cannot withstand freezing winter temperatures. To survive, the Monarch migrates to safe overwintering sites that are neither cold enough to kill it, nor so warm that it wastes precious energy flying too much. Monarchs east of the Rocky Mountains spend the winters in high mountains in central Mexico. Monarchs west of the Rockies migrate to locations on the central California coast. En route, they may travel as far as 2,000 miles, covering one hundred miles per day, and flying as high as 10,000 feet. A mighty achievement for such a seemingly fragile insect!
National Steinbeck Center
Kids can step into recreated scenes from Steinbeck's novels while learning about the author's life and work. The Center also houses the Rabobank Agricultural Museum, and interactive exhibit on the Salinas Valley agriculture industry. You can even follow the journey of a head of lettuce from picking to shipping.
Winchester Mystery House
The Winchester Mystery House™ Beautiful but Bizarre! Winchester Mystery House™ is an extravagant maze of Victorian craftsmanship – marvelous, baffling, and eerily eccentric, to say the least. Tour guides must warn people not to stray from the group or they could be lost for hours! Countless questions come to mind as you wander through the mansion – such as, what was Mrs. Winchester thinking when she had a staircase built that descends seven steps and then rises eleven? Some of the architectural oddities may have practical explanations. For example, the Switchback Staircase, which has seven flights with forty four steps, rises only about nine feet, since each step is just two inches high. Mrs. Winchester arthritis was quite severe in her later years, and the stairway may have been designed to accommodate her disability. The miles of twisting hallways are made even more intriguing by secret passageways in the walls. Mrs. Winchester traveled through her house in a roundabout fashion, supposedly to confuse any mischievous ghosts that might be following her. This wild and fanciful description of Mrs. Winchester’s nightly prowl to the Séance Room appeared in The American Weekly in 1928, six years after her death: “When Mrs. Winchester set out for her Séance Room, it might well have discouraged the ghost of the Indian or even of a bloodhound, to follow her. After traversing an interminable labyrinth of rooms and hallways, suddenly she would push a button, a panel would fly back and she would step quickly from one apartment into another, and unless the pursuing ghost was watchful and quick, he would lose her. Then she opened a window in that apartment and climbed out, not into the open air, but onto the top of a flight of steps that took her down one story only to meet another flight that brought her right back up to the same level again, all inside the house. This was supposed to be very discomforting to evil spirits who are said to be naturally suspicious of traps.”
Climb, hike, trot
Back on land, explore the region's trails and back roads. Day-hike options: "The climb" - Rock climbers should go to Pinnacles National Monument for a variety of routes. Sand City's Sanctuary Rock Gym offers climbing guides to help you explore the techniques of the trade, including top-rope climbing, rappelling, anchoring skills, outdoor etiquette and more. "Hike if off" - Big Sur Guides and Hiking shows visitors the region's secluded waterfalls, lush canyons and secret coves. For a list of the top-10 day hikes, visit seemonterey.com "Saddle up" - Many of the area's hiking routes are also equine-friendly. Several local companies can arrange excursions along wind-sculpted dunes, over oak-studded hills and past the shifting shades of the Pacific, including Molera Horseback Tours, Pebble Beach Equestrian Center and Monterey Bay Equestrian.
Two wheels or four, choose from miles of on- and off-road options that showcase Monterey County's incredible views and diverse terrain. The scenic route: The paved Monterey Bay Coastal Recreations Trail follows the old tracks of the Southern Pacific Railway 18 miles fro Pacific Grove to Castroville. Cycle past vibrant tide pools, Fisherman's Wharf, Cannery Row, towering sand dunes and abundant row crops. Off-Road: Jump some serious dirt on miles of trails at Carmel Valley's Garland Ranch Regional Park, Toro Park in Salinas or the Fort Ord Public Lands in Seaside and Marina. On clear days, many trail crests offer well earned glimpses of the Monterey Bay.
Santa Cruz Boardwalk
What is the Boardwalk? The Boardwalk is a half-mile long historic amusement park next to Santa Cruz’s mile long Main Beach. It features more than 34 rides and attractions including two National Historic Landmarks: the 1924 Giant Dipper roller coaster and the 1911 Looff Carousel plus plenty of modern thrill rides, dozens of restaurants, shops, games, indoor arcades, and miniature golf.