Blue Water Ventures owner and naturalist Kim Powell and her trained staff of naturalists lead adventurous groups on tours of trails and waterways from the East Bay of California to San Jose's Elkhorn Slough, exploring caves, forests, and wildlife-rich areas on the way. On protected Elkhorn Slough, groups of up to 20 make their way on stable kayaks as their attentive tour guides give rich history of the area and point out wildlife including seals and sea otters. In Florida's Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge, groups snorkel and canoe to observe wild west indian manatees and their notorious poker habits.
The company also does specialty tours for school groups that include tide-pooling adventures and trekking through a redwood forest to see some of the country's oldest trees. Tours for women-only groups include private cruises where ladies can spy whales and a variety of seaborne wildlife, including fish, dolphins, and long-lost swim fins.
The towering trees that line the outer perimeter of Monterey Bay Racquet Club block out many of the outside world’s distractions, leaving tennis players to fill the air with the thumps of fuzzy balls and the grunts of cross-court strokes. The club’s six outdoor courts open their gates to players of all ages and skill levels, who can practice their craft in unsupervised pairs or team up with experienced instructors for tennis lessons that adhere to club manager and USPTA Master Professional Hans Römer's three pillars of learning: communication, commitment, and creativity. Beyond the standard amenities, the club also furnishes complimentary towels, newspapers, and hot coffee for guests to throw at mistaken line umpires. An onsite pro shop ensures top performance on the courts with racquet-stringing services and professional Head and Penn products.
When Monica Wason moved to Salinas, she was in the midst of planning an addition to her family. Though she soon discovered that there were no prenatal health venues near her new home, she was undeterred. She decided that she'd simply open one herself, and founded Green Belly as a wellness center for fellow pregnant women. Soon, her clientele expanded to include postnatal and non-pregnant women as well as men, prompting Monica to broaden her efforts. She funneled her experiences as a nurse and massage therapist into pampering services, and hired a teaching staff to help lead yoga, Pilates, and belly-dancing sessions. Today, she continues to welcome guests from all walks of life into Green Belly's lime- and cream-colored rooms to fulfill their wellness needs. As sun beams through the studio's skylight and bay windows, her aestheticians work to brighten faces with Jadience skincare products. She exclusively stocks the spa with organic products, complementing the center's nature-inspired décor while also honoring the trees who taught her slow-breathing techniques.
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.
Inaugurated in 1991 as a 350-athlete competitive summit, the Sea Otter Classic has blossomed into a sprawling event with more than 50,000 spectators, 10,000 cyclists, and 300 vendors peddling bikes and gear with demos and samples of new products. Situated within Laguna Seca, the festival draws amateur and professional athletes into competitive mountain- and road-bike races, and recreational cyclists behold Monterey County's striking vistas in three Gran Fondo routes. Children's bike events plant the seeds for the next generation of cyclists with a skill-developing play zone and friendly races.
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.