Hiking and sightseeing at Monterey Bay


Maryam Mahmood

Monterey has much to offer to its visitors including numerous hikes, farms and restaurants that provide local seafood. To top it all off, the bay is also a great place to view the scenic Pacific Ocean and its marine life.

With spring break right around the corner, having the time to relax during vacation is an absolute must at Monterey Bay. Hiking, sightseeing and discovering new restaurants all with an oceanic view. It doesn’t get better than that. 

Año Nuevo State Park

This state park highlights the beautiful habitat of the elephant seals as well as a mesmerizing view of the bay. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, viewing the elephant seals is not a current option. However, you can engage yourself in a great hike that spans a total of two miles right along the coast.  


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve 

The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve provides an opportunity to view the beauty of marine life. The hike features glimpses of caves and gradients of the bay waters along with the occasional sights of seals basking in the sun. The state reserve offers a myriad of hikes that one can choose from. I would recommend the Bird Island, South Plateau Trail, and Mound Meadow Trail Loop which spans as a two mile loop located in Carmel, CA. 


Cannery Row

While Cannery Row is not considered as a hike, it provides an avenue to view the bay while enjoying shopping areas and restaurants along the way. Additionally, Cannery Row features the bust of famous author John Steinbeck who wrote “Of Mice and Men” in the plaza that houses the restaurant The Fish Hopper. Take the day to explore the shops, restaurants and magnificent views that Cannery Row has to offer. 

Traditionally during Christmas time, a central tree is decorated in that plaza which also makes for a great place to take aesthetically appealing photos for the holiday season. 


Harley’s Goat Farm 

Harley’s Goat Farm, located in Pescadero, CA, offers an assortment of their house made goat cheese ranging from regular plain cheese to goat cheese and chives and much more. Additionally, one can view the myriad of goats at the farm which is certainly an attraction that is worth engaging in. 


Asilomar State Beach and Coast Trail

Located near Pacific Grove, CA and spanning about 4 miles, the Asilomar State Beach and Coast Trail is a great hike and provides scenic views of the ocean. Dogs are also welcome however they must be on a leash. Across the street from the Asilomar State Beach is the Asilomar Dunes Natural Preserves. It provides a phenomenal panoramic view of the hues of the Pacific Ocean.  


Swanton Berry Farm

Offering fresh berries, produce and an assortment of organic berry jams, Swanton Berry Farm is the perfect spot to enjoy delicious food with an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean at Davenport, CA. All of the jams that are offered are organic and locally grown from the farmers. Jams include strawberry, olallieberry, strawberry-olallieberry, strawberry citrus, strawberry rhubarb, tayberry and blackberry. My personal favorite is the tayberry since it is not too sweet and has a little of a tart note. 


Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park 

The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park holds 21 moderate trails that are ready to be explored that range from 2.2 miles to 9.5 miles. The park aims to preserve the old redwood groves and other trees such as madrones, oak trees, ponderosa pine trees and many more. My favorite hike at this park is the Redwoods Reborn- Fall Creek hike. It is a loop that spans about 8.5 miles. You don’t have to partake in the entire hike but rather you can do part of it and walk the rest of the way back. This particular trail provides close views of the towering redwood trees in their natural habitat. 


Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery

Located at Moss Landing, CA, Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery is a great place to relax and unwind from all your strenuous hikes and enjoy local seafood. The restaurant is most famous for its Cioppino. Other recommendations include the Snapper Sandwich and the Mediterranean Pasta that has fresh shrimp, bay scallops and other seafood in a sicilian sauce. Due to the pandemic, all orders will be done to go, however there is outdoor seating. Spaces are limited so make sure you beat the rush hour that is typically at 2 pm. 


Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop

You can’t expect to visit Monterey without having Ghirardelli ice cream. Located at 660 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940, Ghirardelli offers some of the best ice cream from classic vanilla to their new Gold Rush Caramel Sundae, which features vanilla ice cream, sea salt and caramel sauce topped with whipped cream. There is no greater way to end the day than with Ghirardelli ice cream in the Cannery Row plaza overlooking the picturesque Pacific Ocean as the sun sets. 

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  • Due to the pandemic, the Año Nuevo State Park does not allow visitors to see the majestic elephant seals. However the coastal trail is available to the public.

  • The Asilomar State Beach and Coast Trail provides an up close view of the bay and makes for a great time to snap a picture of the crashing waves.

  • The Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park aims to preserve the natural beauty of the old redwoods and a myriad of other trees while offering various hikes that visitors are welcome to partake in.

  • The Point Lobos State Natural Reserve offers numerous hikes, one of the most famous ones being Bird Island, South Plateau Trail, and Mound Meadow Trail Loop. It depicts the beautiful hues of the Pacific waters.

  • Ghirardelli is a must try at Cannery Row at Monterey Bay. Indoor dining is currently not available but to go orders and outdoor seating is taking place.

  • Cannery Row is a great place to take a stroll and enjoy some Ghirardelli ice cream as well as browse the numerous stores. The plaza also has the bust of author John Steinbeck.

  • Swanton Berry Farm not only provides customers with fresh produce, desserts and opportunities to pick fresh berries but it also provides a wide variety of their own organic berry jams.

  • Offering a variety of freshly made goat cheese, Harley’s Goat Farm is the perfect place to indulge in some creamy goat cheese while admiring the goats and other animals at the farm.

  • Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery provides customers with classic seafood dishes in large family style portions.

  • Phil’s Fish Market and Eatery is most famous for its seafood rich Cioppino.

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