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Top Family Activities in Monterey

Monterey, California Hotels and Resorts

Top Picks for Family-friendly Activities in Monterey  — From exploring local beaches to strolling along West Cliff Drive to building sandcastles on the local beaches, Monterey has many family-friendly activities that can cater to just about any age.   

To review our top picks for family activities, please scroll down the page or click on year round or seasonal activities.

Year Round Family Friendly Activities

Building sand castlesMonterey Parks and Beaches is our #1 Pick

Picnicking, swimming, building sandcastles, and kite flying are just a few of the activities that you will find at Monterey State Beachs .  

Monterey Bay Aquarium is #2 Pick

886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA (831) 648-4888

The Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, California offers visitors nearly 200 award-winning galleries and exhibits. Explore the Monterey Bay Aquarium web site to learn about ocean life, take a virtual tour of the aquarium or plan a visit.

Gilroy Gardens is our #3 Pick 

3050 Hecker Pass Rd Gilroy, CA 95020 (408) 840-7100

Excellent family oriented theme park — especially for families with younger children. The rides are pretty tame and there are lots of activities geared toward the little ones. 

Although the food at the park seems to be better than most theme parks, most families opt to bring their own snacks and drinks. It's healthier and a lot more cost effective.

Gilroy can be extremely hot in the summer, so make sure to take plenty of water and sun screen! bring their own snacks and drinks. It's healthier and a lot more cost effective.

Monterey California State Beach is our #4 Pick

The beach is a favorite place for surfers and tide pool watchers. Fishing is popular, too. The cities of Monterey and Seaside share the park, which has three separate beaches approximately a mile apart.

Monterey County Youth Museum is our #5 Pick

425 Washington St., , Monterey  (831) 649-6444

This 8,500 square foot museum is packed with a variety of hands on exhibits, making each visit unique and exciting.

Dennis the Menace Playground, Monterey, CADennis the Menace Playground is our #6 Pick

El Estero Park Complex, City of Monterey, CA   (831) 646-3866

Located in the El Estero Park Complex, it has been a destination for families with younger children for generations.  Lots of green space and plenty of fun playground equipment make this an ideal family pick.


Family Favorite Seasonal Activities

Christmas Tree CuttingChristmas Tree Cutting

During the Holidays, you can create a cherished family memory by cutting your own tree at one of the Christmas tree farms located in the Monterey Mountains.


Monterey Pumpkin PatchesPumpkin Patches

A great Fall activity is to take the whole family up to a pumpkin patch and select the perfect pumpkin.  Most of the larger farms have other activities too that range from gigantic hay labyrinth to petting pens to pony rides and haunted houses.


Berry PickingBerry and Apple Picking

During the Spring and Summer, many local farms between Monterey and Half Moon Bay open their fields to the public for berry picking.  This can be fun, educational, and yummy activity for the whole family!


What’s on Tap


Monterey Festivals & Events:

Pacific Grove Butterfly Days – Oct. 6, 7 & 8 2017

Parade, bazaar, special events at the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

Annual Monte Foundation Fireworks Extravaganza! – Oct. 8, 2017

Capitola Wharf, Capitola, CA

Monterey Pumpkin Patches—Oct. 2017

Whale Watching – Dec. through May


For more event information, click on our Festivals & Events page for Monterey.



Top Attractions:

Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Aquarium is your window to marine life in the Monterey Bay!

Cannery Row

Historic Cannery Row is great destination for hotels, shopping, dining, and, oh, yes, the Aquarium!

Monterey Fishing

Fall is fishing and crabbing season!

Kayaking and SCUBA Diving

The rocky bottom around Monterey make it perfect for ocean adventures!

Whale Watching – Whale Watching December through May


Pebble Beach…need I say more.


For more information on local attractions, click on the Attractions or Recreational Activities.




Monterey’s Summer Advisories:

Traffic Conditions. Rush hour traffic can be extremely challenging – especially on Highway 1 between Seaside and Monterey. Also, 68 between Highway 1 and 101 can be extremely slow. It’s a good idea to plan ahead and arrive early and leave late. Go to to learn about road conditions.

Yes, it’s still water, water, water! California is undergoing an extreme drought. If you are planning a lake vacation be sure to check about water levels. That rafting trip, fishing, or skiing can be impacted.

EXTREME fire danger. The drought has created a very dangerous combination of dry vegetation and no moisture in the air to help contain any fire. Please use extreme caution during your trip.

Carmel Valley and Big Sur have major wildfires. Authorities expect them to burn through the end of August! Google for the latest news.