A trip up the coast to Monterey

A trip up the coast to Monterey

My favorite way to celebrate my birthday is by taking a trip along the California coast. In the past I'll usually just stay a night or two in each town and visit a few different places. This year I decided to just spend the whole trip in Monterey and it was wonderful. I got to really wander around and also enjoy some down time. 

The perfect birthday trip for me always includes time in nature, good food, and checking out some local businesses to shop and support. 

I've posted about Monterey before, but I thought I would share some new links because we wandered around a little more this trip. 

kayaking in Monterey

There are so many fun things to do in Monterey from hikes to whale watching, kayaking, an aquarium visit, bike rides and more. It's always hard for me to choose. But kayaking in the Monterey Bay is something I do on every trip and it never disappoints. Because of the great conservation efforts along the coast you'll see otters, seal lions, seals, jelly fish, lots of birds and sometimes even dolphins. 

kayaking in Monterey

kayak rentals from Adventures by the Sea

kayaking in Monterey

The Monterey Bay coastal recreation trail runs for 18 miles along the coast and we could walk there from our hotel, so each day we walked a different parts of it. It's a shared use trail so you'll see people biking, running and walking. I have yet to bike this path but I'm sure I'll do one of these trips. 

monterey bay coastal trail

Here's a list of some of the restaurants, coffee shops and shops I loved:

  • East Village Cafe - I always love finding a good local coffee shop and East Village was just that. It's located in a historic building and is under new ownership but the owners have run the gift shop next door for years. Cute place, good coffee and friendly people. It's definitely worth stopping in.
  • Maybe on Monday - I saw this shop on Yelp and knew I had to check it out. Ryan is so friendly and I would have loved to have more time to chat about all the cool things the shop was filled with. I left with some great Tibetan incense and an awesome keychain he gifted me for my birthday.
  • Hula's Island Grill - I've eaten on a few different trips and love it. We've always a great mean and friendly service. They have great seafood dishes as well as an awesome vegetarian menu, not the mention the yummy cocktails.
  • Alvarado Brewing
  • Toribashi - A good ramen spot in Monterey. Casual spot where we avoided the long waits at some of the other restaurants.
  • Kuma - Good sushi and really friendly service, I'd definitely eat here again. 
  • Old Fishermen's Grotto - This restaurant is on the Fisherman's Wharf, so it's definitely a tourist spot but I like the vibe inside and the service feels old school. The food has also always been really good. It's a good date night spot.
  • Bookworks - This spot in Pacific Grove combines two of my favorite things: books and coffee. I grabbed a latte, a new book and some cards from a local artist.
  • Artisana Gallery - This shop had a great selection of local artisans and fair trade items. I picked up a cool pair or earrings and the staff was really friendly too.

east village cafe

East Village Cafe in Monterey, CA

If you're visiting Monterey anytime soon or have been there recently I would love to hear your favorite places and experiences. You can also check out this past post about a trip to Monterey.


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