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.
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 where earthquake motions up the challenge on each par. The heart-pumping Speed Freak course pits up to four players against each other in a life-size version of whack-a-mole. As guests move from one attraction to another, they can stop to fuel up at the snack counter where sliders, corn dogs, and waffles on-a-stick 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.
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.
With a client list that includes the likes of Dennis Quaid and Harry Connick, Jr. as well as 7-time LPGA Tour winner Danielle Ammaccapane, it’s safe to say PGA pro Ben Alexander has coached the best of the best. But his rarefied students need not speak for themselves; a contributor to Golf Digest, Golf Tips, and PGA Magazine, Ben was named Northern California PGA’s Teacher of the Year in 2004 and nominated for the same distinction on a national scale in 2008. In addition, Ben has released multiple instructional DVD’s, which showcase the uncanny ability to help golfers improve their game without abandoning their natural swing that drives every one of his lessons. Ben imparts his golf knowledge from Poppy Hills Golf Course, a scenic club set on the Monterey Peninsula famous for co-hosting the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am from 1991–2009.
The California Wine Festival – Monterey Peninsula celebrates the Golden State's vintners by allowing attendees to sample a selection of more than 250 Californian wines. The event includes winemakers and representatives from 53 wineries—including Grgich Hills Estate, Bernardus Winery, and Paraiso Vineyards—as well as booths with artisan cheeses, fresh fruits, and barbecued meats from local, gourmet restaurateurs. Spread across two afternoons and evenings, the festival encourages guests to revisit their favorite wineries or discover obscure gems at a new booth or through a trap door connected to a hidden cellar. The California Wine Festival – Monterey Peninsula aims to support the community by donating 100% of the net proceeds from the Silent Auction to The Food Bank for Monterey County, which distributes food and provides antihunger education throughout the region.
The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is home to 27 species of marine mammals, more than 100 species of marine birds, and 345 species of fish, as well as the leatherback turtle. Captain Chris Arcoleo, Sr. and his fellow skippers introduce visitors to this wildlife menagerie during three-hour narrated tours of the sanctuary. Collectively, the skippers captain three different vessels equipped with all of the standard safety features, as well as sonar, radar, and eco-friendly twin engines. This technology—plus the captains' vast experience—gives groups unforgettable glimpses of the area's marine life, including the possibility of an up-close encounter with gray or humpback whales. Passengers should also keep their eyes peeled for Pacific white-sided dolphins, California sea lions, otters, harbor seals, and pirate ghosts.