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Things To Do With Kids in Monterey

Monterey is one of the few California coastal towns that boasts world-famous beaches and small-town vibes. This coastal community overlooking the Monterey Bay is steeped in history and filled with cultural landmarks and attractions both adults and kids can enjoy. Spend some time exploring the local eateries, the famous Cannery Row, and the multiple beaches for a day in the sunshine the whole family will never forget. Take a look at this list of all the best things to do with kids the next time you’re in town.

The possibility for fun is endless in Monterey. Take the kids for a exciting day on the beach or into town for some phenomenal seafood. Here are some of the best things to do in Monterey:

  • Go whale watching aboard the Sea Goddess
  • Take a self-guided tour of the city with Puzzling Adventures
  • Look at the sea lions from Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ride the roller coaster at California’s Great Adventure
  • Fall in love with otters and sea turtles at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey is one of California’s top family vacation destinations. Both kids and adults enjoy exploring the famous Cannery Row, filled with restaurants, boutiques, and hotels. Other great family activities include:

  • Looking for silly boat names at the Historic Monterey Harbor
  • Watching an iconic west coast sunset over the Monterey Bay
  • Riding bikes or walking along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail
  • Admiring the work of local artists at the Venture Gallery
  • Checking out Point Pinos Lighthouse, one of the oldest lighthouses in the region

For a day of Monterey sightseeing that will entertain parents and kids, check out Fisherman’s Wharf. The wharf has an assortment of fine and casual dining, as well as quirky shops and scenic views. Other great places to check out include:

  • Steinbeck’s Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum, where visitors see animatronics act out history
  • The Pacific House, a monument to Spanish and Native American history
  • Pirate’s Cove Gift & Things, where visitors can purchase unique sea-themed presents
  • Cannery Row, made famous by the works of John Steinbeck
  • The Old Whaling Station, home to an old-fashioned blubber rendering pot

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It's hard for kids to turn down a trip to Monterey, a town guaranteed to bring joy. The city has multiple candy stores and gifts shops for kids to buy brights, sugary, and exciting trinkets and snacks. Here are some of the most popular kids activities:

  • Play on the colorful Dennis the Menace Playground at El Estero Park Complex
  • Get a double scoop cone at Revival Ice Cream
  • Challenge your friends to a race or battle at Monterey Mirror Maze and Laser Tag Center
  • Feed the geese at Laguna Grande Regional Park
  • Buy a stuffed animal or board game at Thinker Toys

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One of the best ways to have fun with a group of kids is to take them to a festival. Whalefest Monterey is an educational event where attendees can share the joy of the annual whale migration. Other great group activities include:

  • Taking a group ride along the scenic 17-Mile Drive
  • Seeing the colorful Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary
  • Pigging out on fried food at the Santa Cruz County Fair
  • Spotting the world’s largest swimming mammals with Princess Monterey Whale Watching
  • Trying to break out of a themed room at the Exodus Escape Rooms

Sometime kids have the most fun learning. Monterey has loads of educational entertainment, including aquariums, history tours, and museums. If you’re looking for a fun way to pass the day, check out these interactive activities:

  • Drop in on a class or workshop at the MY Museum - Monterey County Youth Museum
  • Discover interesting facts about birds and rocks at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
  • See the sharks and stingrays at the Aquarium of the Bay in San Fran
  • Learn about preserving marine life at the Pacific Biological Laboratories
  • Admire the contemporary works at the Monterey of Museum of Art

Monterey owes part of its reputation to John Steinbeck, who was famously inspired to write his novel Cannery Row after living in town. If your child also feels a burst of creative energy, consider signing them up one of these top classes:

  • Practice your scales with Monterey Peninsula Academy of Music
  • Master drawing with pencils and pens at Art Studio Monterey
  • Take a painting, hula, or building class with the Monterey Youth Center
  • Bring your tutus and ballet shoes to Peninsula Ballet & Ballet
  • Get ready for the limelight with Ariel Theatrical

Although Monterey is popular for its beaches and sunny weather, there are plenty of things for kids to enjoy indoors. Consider looking for sweets at a local candy shop or trying to bust out of an escape room. Other great indoor things to do include:

  • Tasting the handmade taffy at Carousel Candies
  • Picking out your new favorite picture book at Old Capitol Books
  • Attending a concert at the Sunset Center
  • Practicing your front flips at Rockin’ Jump - Gilroy
  • Seeing the latest feature films at Cinemark Monterey 13