We drove into Monterey on Friday evening, after a stunning drive along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco.
If time had permitted we would have stopped a while to enjoy the many picturesque, sandy bays. Some of the bays were carved deeply into high cliffs, with difficult access making them even more appealing to explore. The quiet, remoteness of some of the bays reminded us very much of New Zealand.
We stopped at one bay, which curved along the edge of the highway, to watch some incredible kite surfers catching the prevailing wind.
I often carry a small kite or two in my holiday suitcase (along with a ball, pens, paper and a couple of electronic gadgets!) and this was a perfect place for a quick fly.
Miss 4 didn’t need to run with her kite to catch the wind at this spot; on the contrary she had to cling on tight or lose her kite! I’m just glad the kite wasn’t any larger – as I’m sure she would have flown with it!
After a quick breather (literally!) we climbed back in the car, along with a burned log that Miss 4 insisted on carting along with us. She was hoping to make a driftwood house, like some we’d spotted earlier on our drive, but nature hadn’t delivered any to this particular beach.
When we arrived at Monterey we were all pretty tired and ready to relax. The beautiful Intercontinental Hotel, which hubbie had booked us into for two nights, was a perfect place to chill – and we had a room with a view.
We didn’t have much on our agenda for our brief visit to Monterey. We had all day Saturday, before driving back to Santa Barbara on the Sunday; though there was one place which was an absolute ‘must do’ and that was the incredible Monterey Aquarium.
It’s not like any other aquarium we’ve visited. The sheer magnitude of the tanks has to be seen to believed.
There is a whole kelp forest, which can be viewed on a number of levels, along with an ‘Open Sea’ tank, where you feel like you’re right there, in the midst of all the action.
It’s really like having a glimpse into another world.
As well as these spectacular large scale exhibits there’s also plenty of hands on activities for younger children to learn about the ocean environment, alongside touch pools and smaller viewing windows on particular species and different environments.
And there’s the most incredible and fun jellyfish exhibit.
A very incredible place indeed!
What’s more, the waters surrounding the aquarium are absolutely teeming with life. Hubbie went to find a bottle store, to pick up a celebratory bottle of bubbles for our 15th Wedding Anniversary, and came across a beach of seals!
He did eventually return with a bottle of bubbly (after a slight Forrest Gump style detour!), along with some food from Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. opposite the hotel.
A wonderful weekend with great memories.
Now, go visit the wonderful Coombe Mill in Cornwall, England, for some beautiful outdoor fun… 🙂