Adventures by the Sea is owner Frank Knight’s love letter to Monterey Bay. As an avid cyclist, kayaker, and surfer in his youth, Frank decided to share the gift of the bay by providing land- and sea-activity rentals for tourists. But, what started out as a small bike-rental shop frequented by local hotel guests eventually transformed into a four-location recreational company that now offers kayaking, bicycling, SUP paddling, and surrey-carriage rentals and tours.
Bicycle renters can cruise along 17-Mile Drive and the rocky shorelines of Pacific Grove, while surrey-carriage rentals provide a low-key communal pedaling adventure for up to four riders. Patrons can also enjoy the serene environment of Monterey Peninsula as they glide through the waters of Cannery Row and Stillwater Cove—both part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary—on the company’s kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUP). During tours, knowledgeable guides rattle off facts about the area while pointing out its wildlife, such as harbor seals lounging on the rocks and otters snapping pictures of kayakers.
Along with providing land and water activities, Adventures by the Sea helps guests build stronger relationships with one another through their local group adventures, which include scavenger hunts. When customers are ready to invest in their own trustworthy gear, the company’s pro shop helps them stock up on boogie boards, snorkeling equipment, and paddleboards from brands such as Surftech, Naish Hawaii, and Paddle Surf Hawaii.
A family-run enterprise since 1949, Randy's Fishing Trips and Whale Watching takes marine mammal enthusiasts on a sailing excursion around Monterey Bay, where whales often hang out and swap favorite krill recipes. Either Captain Brent or Brian, both certified skippers with masters licenses from the United States Coast Guard, will narrate the aquatic wildlife tour of the bay. Gentle humpback whales are the feature attraction from May–November, and sailors from December–April can become acquainted with the gray whales that have migrated from Alaska. Marine biology buffs may spot several other fascinating ocean organisms, such as killer whales, sea otters, silver-finned raccoons, dolphins, octo-gorillas, and seals. If your trip ends without spotting a whale, you'll receive a free ticket for another expedition.
Pierce Ranch Vineyards is a boutique winery located in a highland valley at the southern border of Monterey County, but its wines have the robust characteristics of those from the Iberian Peninsula. That's because the family that operates the vineyard specializes in Spanish and Portuguese varietals. They use careful growing methods and fermentation techniques to craft a wide range of limited-run wines. Each and every one of their yearly production of 2,000 cases is grown on the estate. While lesser-known varieties such as touriga, tempranillo, and albari?o are emphasized, more familiar grapes such as cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel are represented as well. Previous vintages have included their 2010 albari?o that was awarded Best in Show at the Central Coast Wine Competition and a 2007 petite sirah that was declared Best in California at the California State Fair Wine Competition.
Flowers and ornamental vines surround the winery's tasting room, which occupies a cozy bungalow near the coast of Monterey Bay. Servers jot the day's wine offerings on a chalkboard and fill glasses behind a wooden bar. In addition to wine tastings, visitors can stop by for live music or open-house events.
Brad Cursio usually begins his golf lessons by telling his students to ignore the outcomes of their swings. This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s a cornerstone of the Fresno State alum's cerebral approach to the game—one shaped during his years as a golf-school director, when he regularly watched amateur players go crazy obsessing about the length and accuracy of their drives. When he started his own golf school, Monterey Bay Golf Academy, Brad took his past experiences into account and instituted a method of instruction that charts the swing’s progress rather than the ball’s path.
Students at first skeptical of Brad's efforts to refocus their minds on swing mechanics should remember that he used the same method to become a PGA Class-A professional. To supplement his instruction, Brad utilizes the latest in swing-analysis technologies and sends his students home with DVDs packed with analyzed footage of their swings. He and his team of golf professionals also lead multi-day golf schools for all abilities. These schools focus on developing well-rounded players with lessons in swinging, putting, and wrestling mishit balls from the jaws of lake monsters.
Visitors to Monterey Mirror Maze and Highway1 Golf Games & Grub can begin their outing with a trip through the mirror maze?a trial in and of itself, since strobe lights and a perfectly symmetrical labyrinth of mirrors mask dead ends and surprising corners. Once maze goers finally break free, the fun continues at the adjoining Highway 1 Golf Games & Grub. Here, murals of the Pacific Coast flank the 3D black-light mini golf course. As guests move from one attraction to another, they can stop to fuel up at the snack counter where sliders and corn dogs ensure each player has enough energy for a re-match.
Visitors can also reenact the 1933 Cannery Row Bank heist at Monterey Mirror Maze's laser maze, which angles green touch-sensitive lasers into a thrilling obstacle course. As competitors race toward the bank vault to complete the heist, they dodge the beams or suffer a booming alarm and extra time added to their score. Low scores give competitors a chance to land on the top 10 scoreboard.
Laguna Seca Golf Ranch requires action from every club in your bag. The course was designed in 1970 by famed architects Robert Trent Jones Sr. and Robert Trent Jones Jr., and it bears the markings of their creativity. Though the father-son duo didn't emblazon the family crest onto every fairway, they did outfit the championship gauntlet with elevated tees, several water hazards, and a bevy of bunkers to defend every hole. At hole 15, for instance, water swallows solid drives, and at hole 17, five bunkers can prove catastrophic for scores. But golfers don't have to face these challenges unprepared: Laguna Seca also boasts a 13-acre natural-grass practice facility, complete with putting and chipping greens. The ranch also offers visitors a stocked golf shop, dining, and full bar service.
Course at a Glance * 18-hole, par 71 course * Course rating of 70.6 * Course slope of 132 * Total of 6,174 yard from the back tees * Five tees per hole * Click here to view the scorecard