One of my favorite places to visit is the ever beautiful Monterey Bay. When I was much younger -- about 20 years ago -- I lived in Monterey. After a long day at work it was always a treat to run off to Asilomar Beach, stick my toes in the sand and watch the HUGE waves crash onto the beach and surrounding rocks.
When I got married and had children it was obvious where I wanted to spend vacation time. Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, and Carmel-by-the-Sea is the perfect vacation for families. One of my favorite activities in Monterey is going to the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you have older children, and plan your vacation right, there are wonderful marine biology classes and camps that they can attend. You can even learn to scuba there! If you are a beach goer there is a variety of beaches to explore. From the sandy Asilomar to rocky Lover's Point, and one can't forget Carmel-by-the-Sea white beach!
You can visit Carmel's old Mission, take nature walks right in the city of Carmel, and peruse the old storybook cottage neighborhoods. You can even have high tea at the Tuck Box! If you drive a little farther south to Big Sur you can watch wales migrating or stop off at the one of the hippie community restaurants. Don't blink though, you could miss the small town of Big Sur! On your way back up you can visit the EarthBound Organic Farm. There is a wonderful children's garden and store.
Finding a place to stay in the area is simple. From rustic lodges, to fancy B & B's, or to big hotels, the area has it all. We like to stay near Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. There are fun shops, restaurants, and those every entertaining barking sea lions. There is even a fun maritime museum walking steps from the water. Just north of Monterey is a Dennis the Menace themed park great for little one's to run around. Why, there is so much to do on this little bay, I've forgotten to mention it is John Steinbeck country! Oh! And I must not forget the most darling lighthouse, Point Pinos Lighthouse in Pacific Grove! Sigh! Just take my word for it and run away to Monterey!