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Monterey & Pacific Grove
We're meeting up with family in San Jose for a family reunion over July 4. We all have toddlers ranging from 2 to 5 yo. Thinking about visiting Monterey Aquarium one of those days. Are there resonable, family friendly hotels nearby either in Monterey or Pacific Grove you've stayed and liked? Places that come with breakfast is preferred so we don't have to lug the whole kiddie train with us in the morning! What other kid's favorite places to go in the Monterey area? Thanks much! Linh
Monterey Bay Lodge has a free continental breakfast. If that's not sufficient, you can go next door to a diner that has a pretty decent brunch menu; you get a small discount there if you're staying at the lodge. Also, when you stay at the lodge you can get two-day Aquarium tickets for the price of a one-day ticket, and you won't have to wait in line to get in! Can you tell I'm a fan of this place?
Two other recommendations... Point Lobos State Reserve is just a few miles south on route 1 and is terrific. Our 5 year old loves climbing on the rocks and looking at shells, and even our 1 1/2 year old loved it. The scenery is gorgeous. Also the Dennis the Menace playground in Monterey downtown area is great (but gets crowded). Matt
My family will be spending a few days at Asilomar later this month, and it would be very helpful to have a few restaurant recommendations. We've really appreciated past reviews for the area, but we don't eat fish and don't really need a fancy restaurant. Someplace casual, ok for vegetarians, a toddler and grandparents would be great. Thanks! Mary
I am organizing my parents 50th Wedding Aniversary in August. We found a place to stay for several days near Monterey and will be doing various activities during the week. One of the days I am looking for a spa so the girls can have a day of beauty. (More of a zen place as opposed to upscale hotel spa) That same day we may need childcare for 6 & 8 year olds, know anyone that you like and trust down there to watch our babes? Plus for their actual 50th Party, a fabulous restaurant...California cuisine would probaly be the best. I'm going down over Spring break to ''scout'' but would love/appreciate any leads (ESPECIALLY childcare) Thanks so much!!!
OK we're making one of those obligatory KID trips to the Monterey
Aquarium. What I need help with is a couple of quirky fun places
to go with them more in the line of Mystery Spot or giant
roadside dinosaurs to keep us all interested(not that the
Aquarium won't be great). We're looking for ideas beyond Dennis
the Menace park.
Casual kid-focused restaurants?
Hidden treasures that don't cost an arm and a leg?
We've got plenty of beach ideas and plan to stop all along the
way so any wacky ideas of merit would be greatly appreciated.
We travel with a five and two year year old.
Mama in need of inspiration
Our kids like to eat at Sea Harvest on Foam street in Monterey, there is also one in Carmel. Good luck. anon
I've checked the website and couldn't find any current
information on Monterey. Does anyone know of an affordable,
toddler-friendly, great place to stay in the Monterey area (not
too far from the Aquarium)? I want to hear the sounds of the
ocean as I drift off to sleep, if possible.
My husband and I are planning a trip to the aquarium in April with our then 13 month old. All the recommendations are from 2003 and before, so I am looking for recent experiences with hotels, especially regarding suites or separate room for baby (snoring husband), portacribs, etc. Also, walking distance to the aquarium is a big plus. Any recs for kid-friendly restaurants that aren't too touristy would be great, too. Thanks! ekkoster
We're looking for an inexpensive ($75-$100), but clean and friendly hotel in Monterey, possibly for April. We're mom, dad, and kids-6, 4 & 1. Our main destination is the aquarium, so walking distance would be great, but not necessary--we'll have our minivan. Any recommendations on Days Inn, Travelodge, Super 8, Best Western or other? Any other attractions, restaurants, etc. that we shouldn't miss? We haven't been there since before kids, so can't remember everything, and of course, our priorities have changed from romantic & funky, to kid-friendly & childproof! Thanks. heidi
It is not within walking distance of the aquarium but that's not a problem. There's plenty of inexpensive parking within two blocks of the aquarium.
We've recommended this hotel to a number of families and have only heard really positive comments when they got back.
Good Luck! Been There, Done That
I was wondering if anyone has stayed at this hotel in Monterey. I am looking for a nice hotel that is on the water and within walking distance of the aquarium. This inn fit the bill, but at ~200 bucks a night, I wanted to know if people thought it was worth it. Also, if anyone has a recommendation for another seaside hotel near the aquarium, I would be interested to know. (I have seen the previous recommendations on this website) thanks! denise
I checked past recommendations and they were quite old, so I was hoping I could get some recommendations for child friendly places to stay in Monterrey. Preferably near the water, not outrageously expensive and something pretty! thanks Betty
We had a fabulous time at the Aquarium.. There is a newish little, little kids area that my two year old really enjoyed, and actually had some good content. My ten year old loved *everything* but especially the scary critters, which my six year old didn't. We all loved the tide pools where we could touch things. There is (or was!) an online coupon for a discounted admission.
The Dennis the Menace playground is great, a walk on the pier a lot of fun. We actually went out to eat at Fresh Choice, but there do seem to be a lot of fun non-chain restaurants around. Have fun!
The website has a few older recommendations. My extended family will be going to Asilomar for a long weekend to help my parents celebrate their 50th anniversary. We'll have a few adults, a 3 yr old and a 15 yr old. We'll go out to eat one night and one or two lunches (my parents want to have the Asilomar meals for the rest of the time). Any favorite restaurants? I know about Dennis the Menace park, and I've heard about the bike path. How about other toddler friendly or teen friendly activities? Do we still need to purchase tickets in advance for the aquarium? Is it still over-busy? Anything I should know specifically about Asilomar? janet
Asilomar is great but lacks some of the high-tech amenities of a hotel (TVs, internet access). There is a boardwalk through the adjacent dunes, excellent bird-watching, and a short walk to a beautiful beach (a bit windy/cold). I'ved biked and roller-bladed along the coast road from Asilomar to Monterey and the bike path. Carrie
If it's a warm day, you might want to check out the butterfly grove. Probably won't wow your 15 year old, but your 3 year old might like it. There are about 15,000 butterflies nesting there this year, until about March. but, if the weather is cold, they stay clustered in the trees, and there's not so much to see. Alison
My parents are visiting from overseas, and I'm taking them to Monterey/Carmel area. My mom is a professional French chef, so I'd like to take her to a nice restaurant there although it does not have to be French. Does anyone have good recommendation? anon
Hi. My family(me, hubby, 15mo old, and my mother) will be going down to Monterey/Carmel area for Thanksgiving and want to have dinner somewhere at a restaurant there. Does anyone know of any restaurants which will be serving Thanksgiving dinner in that area? We are looking for a traditional type (gourmet twists are fine) fare, and somewhere friendly to children. We'd like a nice restaurant (But not too pretentious or quiet, with a 15mo old!) Thanks in advance for any recs. Julie
I have looked over the recommendations on the website but was hoping that other parents would have some additional recommendations about where to go/what to see and do in Carmel and Monterey with a toddler (23 month old). We will be there for a few days in July and already have rented a home so don't need help with a place to stay but do not help with what to do. Any ideas appreciated! Ioana
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is wonderful at all ages;toddlers often enjoy petting the starfish and other sea creatures there. There is an old-fashioned carousel close to the aquarium. Another Monterey favorite is the Dennis the Menace Park right downtown. Be prepared to follow your kid everywhere as some of the slides in the park pre-date the more stringent safety codes of the last decade. The biggest hit at the park is the full size train car where a child could spend hours of climbing and exploring. Carmel may be more challenging with a toddler but the beach alone ought to provide hours of play and entertainment. Laura W
2. Hike at Pt. Lobos (named for the sea wolves, aka sea lions, not wolves.) Spectacular, some stroller friendly paths, and all the paths are very easy walking and amazing ocean views. There is a rusty red lichen on trees in one area that doesn't grow anywhere else in the world. I'm pretty sure there is also beach access there. HWY. 1, several miles south of Carmel.
3. Try to find out if the aquarium has any less busy, off hours. It will be crazy lines in the summer, but I would still go. Chris
2. While the fisherman's wharf area is very ''touristy'' it is a fun place to walk and watch the boats, birds and occasional sea lion.
3. The Coast Guard pier always has sea lions lounging on the rocks and they rest up against the fence for some awesome pictures.
4. Dennis the Mennis park is big and has a train engine to play on as well as an assortment of play structures.
5. Treat yourself to a great meal at Roy's at Spanish Bay. They are very kid friendly (the children's menu is good) and the food is delicious.
Does anyone know of decent, cheap accommodations in Pacific Grove or Monterey? Melanie
There's a Fresh Choice at the Del Monte mall on Munras. Papa Chano's on Alvarado in Downtown Monterey is a nice mexican restaurant that's noisy but good (high chairs available.) For lunch we have purchased sandwiches at the Fish Wife in Seaside on Fremont Blvd. and then eaten them in the park down the street - play structure available and big grassy field (not fenced in, but not too much traffic.) By the way, the place is great for dinner too, but a little small to fit in kids or even parties bigger than 4. My favorite Thai place would probably be OK too for kids if they like Thai food! It's Bay of Siam or Siamese Bay (I never get the name right!) on Webster in downtown Monterey.
Tip: buy tickets to the aquarium ahead of time at your hotel. Even the economy motels offer these. Not only do you get a discount, but you avoid waiting in the entrance line. You can go right in. With kids, who usually don't tolerate lines well, this makes a big difference, as this line can be very long!
>During the Christmas vacation we are planning to take a few days and visit >Monterey. Does anyone know of a nice vacation rental near the wharf and >aquarium? A condo would be fine. We've stayed at the Monterey Plaza Hotel >before and the location was great but this time we would prefer to stay >somewhere a little more cozy.
I don't have a good answer to your question, but I do have a few related thoughts. We went down to Monterey last year around this time and are probably going to go down again, but our accomodations weren't particularly noteworthy. If you hear about anything good, I'd like to know about it, too.
I mostly wanted to mention a couple of fun activities. My kids are 2 1/2 and 8 months, but I think both of these activities are good for somewhat older kids, too.
Dennis the Menace park is really fun. It's a few blocks from the wharf area. They have a an old steam locomotive and coal car that you can climb on, a wide (15 feet?) metal slide on the side of a hill, a rope bridge, a small hedge maze (with a climbing tower/slide in the middle), and a number of other climbing structures in the shape of boats, planes, etc. It's near a lake on which you can rent paddle boats, too.
The surreys are also a lot of fun. These are four-wheel carts with two sets of bicycle pedals; they seat two or four big people plus two or three little people. You can rent them behind the building with the carousel (towards the water). You'll probably see people riding them around.
Very close to Monterey is the town of Pacific Grove. Recently we stayed at the Bide-a-Wee hotel. It'a a quaint little motel on Asilomar Road, just down the street from the conference Center. Cross street takes you right down to the ocean and wonderful tidal pools. Not quite walking distance (but easy biking distance) from the aquarium et al. We got a two bedroom place with a kitchen and two! bathrooms (one shower) for $60 a night. Don't have the number handy, but you can get it from information.
i have two suggestions. first, the town right next to monterey on highway 1, and also right on the bay, is called seaside. seaside is at the entrance to the old military base, and has a lot of low-price motels. for reasons i've never understood, it's considerably cheaper to stay in seaside, ten minutes from the aquarium, than in monterey, five minutes from the aquarium. i recommend calling some motels in seaside to check rates. we stayed at the days inn there a year or so ago, and liked it very much. you can get pretty low rates if all you want is a place to sleep; some of the motels are very inexpensive.
one other thing you might try is the asilomar resort. i've been to several conferences and workshops there; the rates are astonishingly reasonable. they have hotel rooms, cottages, and houses, and a cafeteria in case you want to buy a dining plan. i'm not sure that they rent to individuals, but i've noticed that they often have some spare capacity when i'm there for a workshop. if you call them, and you get a good answer, please post a response to the list.
i was at asilomar about three months ago for a workshop. on my way back to my room one evening, i saw six deer and one fox. the resort is right on the bay, with lots of nice hikes in the dunes on paths.
best of luck.
Just want to verify that, yes, individuals can get rooms at Asilomar, if they have extras. We did it last October (96), calling a couple of weeks in advance. It was really lovely. However, I've heard that some of the accomodations aren't as nice as others; ours was in a woodsy area and was quite spacious, whereas others are smaller and feel more like a motel. Unfortunately, you can't request any specific building/ area.
My husband and I took our almost-2-year-old on a long weekend to Monterey last week and I want to recommend a wonderful place to go -- the Dennis the Menace Playground. It's in Monterey, sort of across the main road from their Fisherman's Wharf. It's FREE, really clean (no beer cans, cigarette butts, etc. in the sand), and great for kids of all ages. They have an authentic old steam train that has been rendered immobile and turned into a giant climbing toy for kids, swings (both infant and regular), about half a dozen slides of various sizes and types, and a small lake around the park where you can rent paddle boats. (My son just *loves* boats so we had to ride on the paddle boats -- they do have infant life jackets there.) I thought my son would be interested in the Aquarium, but he wanted to spend all day every day at this playground or at the beach -- both of which are FREE! (how long will this last?! Pretty soon he'll probably want to go to the Santa Cruz boardwalk and spend money on rides...!)
Anyway, I've seen people comment that various activities for children are too expensive so I wanted to recommend something that was free except for the drive down (gas was $1.57/gallon this morning -- gasp!)
Hi all, I just came back from a weekend in Monterey with my two sons 10 & 13. I wanted to share a couple of things with everyone!
1. Amtrak is great
You can't exactly get to Monterey on Amtrak, you have to get off in Salinas, a 20-minute drive away. We had someone picking us up at the train station but there is a bus from the station into Monterey. Oakland to Salinas was a pleasant 2-1/2 hour trip. There were lots of other families on the train, so my kids hooked up with some other kids and I hardly saw them - I got to read. The train is so comfortable and roomy - beats out plane and car travel. Tickets Oakland to Salinas one way were $10 for each kid and $20 for me. On other California lines (for example the one to Sacramento) kids ride free. And have you seen the new train station at Jack London Square? It's great. We enjoyed the train ride so much I am thinking about other short trips we could take this summer on the train.
2. Monterey activities
Of course we went to the Aquarium - there are lots of new exhibits
since the last time we went and we all especially liked the jellies.
Tip: don't go on the weekend unless you like big crowds!
We also saw the Dennis the Menace Park that Sharon Taylor clued us
all in on. Though my kids are a little too old to enjoy this park,
I noticed there were paddleboats nearby and also an
The funnest thing we did was renting bicycles ($6 hr per person at
Fisherman's Wharf near the Doubletree Hotel). There is a bike trail
that runs along the Bay, thru Fisherman's Wharf, the Cannery, to Pacific
Grove and it takes about an hour to go all the way down it and then
come back. Everyone enjoyed this including me who hasn't ridden a bike
in at least 15 years. We also hit the outlet stores near the aquarium -
there is a big Nike store that the boys spent over an hour in while
I just looked around the other stores. They also enjoyed wandering
around Fisherman's Wharf, visiting the candy stores and junky souvenir
stores. We ate lunch there both days - they liked the clam chowder
and fish&chips and those little cups of crabmeat.
This was a nice, pretty relaxing weekend holiday!
We went to Monterey for a long weekend a couple of weeks ago and had a
great time there with our 2 year old. We really appreciated the tips from
the ucbparents website. The Dennis the Menace park (especially the steam
train engine) was really fun. Of course the Aquarium was lots of fun. We
found a good family restaurant to add to the site: Del Monte Express
restaurant at 2329 North Fremont St, in Monterey, 655-1941. Working model
trains, an extensive collection of railroad memorabilia, and excellent
hamburgers make this a great treat for train fans. We only went there for
dinner, but I would heartily recommend it for any meal. We went early, it
got pretty crowded soon after we arrived.
as for Monterey, we just got back. There is a Travelodge on North
Fremont that goes for $37-$39/night, Sun thru Thurs.; you can get
their coupons in the lobby of Denny's (without having to EAT there!)
You have to present the coupon. But it was nice, quiet and had a
heated outdoor pool, very nicely maintained and landscaped. It's at
the Casa Verde Way exit off 1 north outside of Monterey. As for cheap
on weekends, well...
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Date: Wed, 19 Feb 1997 11:02:25 -0800
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 97 11:15:49 PST
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The funnest thing we did was renting bicycles ($6 hr per person at Fisherman's Wharf near the Doubletree Hotel). There is a bike trail that runs along the Bay, thru Fisherman's Wharf, the Cannery, to Pacific Grove and it takes about an hour to go all the way down it and then come back. Everyone enjoyed this including me who hasn't ridden a bike in at least 15 years. We also hit the outlet stores near the aquarium - there is a big Nike store that the boys spent over an hour in while I just looked around the other stores. They also enjoyed wandering around Fisherman's Wharf, visiting the candy stores and junky souvenir stores. We ate lunch there both days - they liked the clam chowder and fish&chips and those little cups of crabmeat.
This was a nice, pretty relaxing weekend holiday!
We went to Monterey for a long weekend a couple of weeks ago and had a great time there with our 2 year old. We really appreciated the tips from the ucbparents website. The Dennis the Menace park (especially the steam train engine) was really fun. Of course the Aquarium was lots of fun. We found a good family restaurant to add to the site: Del Monte Express restaurant at 2329 North Fremont St, in Monterey, 655-1941. Working model trains, an extensive collection of railroad memorabilia, and excellent hamburgers make this a great treat for train fans. We only went there for dinner, but I would heartily recommend it for any meal. We went early, it got pretty crowded soon after we arrived.
as for Monterey, we just got back. There is a Travelodge on North Fremont that goes for $37-$39/night, Sun thru Thurs.; you can get their coupons in the lobby of Denny's (without having to EAT there!) You have to present the coupon. But it was nice, quiet and had a heated outdoor pool, very nicely maintained and landscaped. It's at the Casa Verde Way exit off 1 north outside of Monterey. As for cheap on weekends, well...
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website! Read more, and see how you can help: BerkeleyParentsNetwork.org