Skip to main content

Walnut Creek Magazine

Weekend Getaway: Monterey

Mar 26, 2024 01:29PM ● By Fran Miller
A couple of hours south of the East Bay, Monterey attracts visitors from all over the world, lured by the world-famous aquarium, abundant coastal sea life, and waterfront hotels. Cannery Row is the ideal place to soak up this fabled town's colorful history and charm. 


InterContinental The Clement Monterey

Sleek and elegant, the InterContinental welcomes honeymooning couples with as much fervor as vacationing families. Visitors love its location in the heart of Cannery Row where vibrant art galleries, eclectic boutiques, and enticing eateries line the streets. Perched above the waters of Monterey Bay, rooms and suites at The Clement feature fireplaces and marble bathrooms with soaking tubs. Work off the day’s indulgences at the fitness center, schedule a massage at the spa, or swim a few laps in the outdoor pool. The famed Monterey Bay Aquarium is less than a block away. 

Monterey Plaza Hotel. Photo courtesy of the hotel

Monterey Plaza Hotel

This well-appointed property is known as the ‘grand dame of the bay’ for its impressive legacy dating back to the early 1900s. The hotel's bay facing rooms come equipped with binoculars for the best in harbor seal and otter spotting. Oxygen Infusion Facials and Bliss on the Bay body treatments are among the standout treatments at Vista Blue Spa. For fresh fish, craft cocktails, and unparalleled ocean views, book a table at Schooners Monterey.

Sanctuary Beach Resort. Photo courtesy of the resort

Sanctuary Beach Resort

Though not technically in Monterey, this family-friendly resort in nearby Marina sits directly on the beach. This hidden gem has something for everyone: a large central pool and hot tub, sand volleyball court, spa services, miles of beach, wine and cheese each evening, plus nightly bonfires. With some of the best seafood on the Monterey coast, the onsite restaurant-Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette-offers a beachy chic dining experience at brunch and dinner.  


One of the country’s most popular destinations, the Monterey Bay Aquarium provides a front row seat to ocean life. Watch penguins and otters enjoy a mid-day meal, touch a starfish, and learn about the ocean’s health. There’s nothing quite like the quiet calm of an underwater jellyfish scene or the joy of getting up close and personal with penguins and sea otters.

Adventures by the Sea is the place to rent a bike, paddleboard, or kayak. Explore the rocky shores of Pacific Grove’s coastline all the way to famed 17-mile drive. Or grab a paddle, hit the bay, and kayak alongside harbor seals.

Cannery Row may attract the biggest crowds, but a walk along the pier at Fisherman’s Wharf is a must. From here, hop on a boat to go whale watching, do a little shopping or enjoy a bowl of clam chowder. 

If your wanderlust extends beyond Monterey, take a drive to Pacific Grove, known for its Monarch Grove Sanctuary, where migrating monarch butterflies seek shelter every fall. Visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, the crown jewel of the California State Park system. Stop for dinner at Passionfish where foodies flock for the truffle butter scallops.


Tucked-away in a garden courtyard in Old Monterey, Alta Bakery & Cafe is a lovely spot to sip a latte or mimosa with huckleberry pancakes and smoked salmon toast. 

Stokes Adobe Monterey FB Page

Located in a welcoming historic home, Stokes Adobe is one of the most celebrated restaurants in Monterey for fresh pastas, woodfired pizzas, and Australian Wagyu steak. The bar pours seasonally inspired cocktails and quality wines by the glass. 

Catch an early bird supper and sunset on the protected outdoor patio at Beach House at Lover's Point. It's a favorite among locals for sand dabs, panko-crusted calamari, and steaks. 

Beach House Lover's Point FB Page

Charming Bistro Moulin serves classic French dishes in an intimate setting. House specialties include escargot and coq au vin, but the real showstopper is gnocchi doused in cream sauce. 

Sign Up for our newsletter. Get the latest news, events & adventures delivered to your inbox every week.
Social Media
Best spots for food, booze, and fun.
WCM Weekly Brief 2023 Newsletter Archive