The Ultimate 4-Day Guide to Monterey County, California

 This 4 Day Guide to Monterey County guide was published in paid partnership with the Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau. This post may contain affiliate links that I make a small commission off of, at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own. 

About Monterey County

A gem in the heart of California’s Central Coast, Monterey County is a feast for the senses. Home to more than 1.4 million acres of land and some of the most scenic vistas in the world, it boasts 20 beaches across its nearly 100 miles of coastline. A quick 2-hour drive from the hustle and bustle of San Francisco, it’s the perfect destination for a long weekend getaway. 

With some of the world’s most coveted soil, this region produces 150 different crops. This includes the freshest strawberries, lettuce, and artichokes, just to name a few. The land and sea is not only bountiful for the locals that work it, but are respected by them, too.  

A year-round agricultural mecca, everyone from restaurateurs to suppliers to winemakers instil sustainable practices . Environmentally responsible programs ensure everyone does their part to keep it one of the most pristine regions in the world.

Read below to learn more about where to eat, stay, and play during a four-day trip to Monterey County, California!

Getting There

There are numerous ways to travel to Monterey County safely and conveniently. 

First, Monterey Regional Airport (MRY) is only 10 minutes from downtown Monterey. It’s 15 minutes from Carmel-by-the-Sea, and 25 minutes from downtown Salinas. Daily flights are available from San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Denver, Dallas, Seattle, and more. 

 

Air, Land, & Sea

MRY is connected to more than 95 domestic and international destinations with just one connection. Other airports within driving distance to Monterey County include, San Francisco (SFO), San Jose, and Oakland. If you have a long layover on your way to Monterey, be sure to check out the affordable annual membership options from Priority Pass to take advantage of the lounge life!

There are two scenic routes to Monterey County by car which are Highway 1 and Highway 101

Amtrak and Greyhound also operate routes through Monterey County. Both stop in Salinas with connecting services to downtown Monterey. 

Tip: Fly into San Jose and pick up a rental car from the airport. The airport is small and easy to navigate with fewer crowds. However, plan to wait at least 30 minutes to an hour in line to pick it up. There are only a few rental car companies.

What to Pack

With mild weather most of the year, expect highs in the upper 60’s and lows around 50. Pack layers for the changing weather patterns which can include coastal mist, chilly mornings, and warmer afternoons. 

Photo by Travel & Leisure.

Below are the must-have items to pack for four days in Monterey County

  • Light sweaters
  • Wind breaker or light jacket
  • Rain poncho if whale watching or spending time on the water
  • Clean socks 
  • Non-slip hiking shoes or sneakers
  • Bathing suit (or swim trunks)
  • Sandals (not flip flops)
  • Jeans
  • Leggings (or sweatpants)
  • White cotton button up shirt 
  • Long sleeve white shirt
  • Maxi sundresses (or dress pants)
  • Khakis 

Day 1: Evening in Monterey

Where to Stay

Monterey County has a plethora of lodging options from low key affordable to ultra luxurious. There is a hotel for every budget!

For those seeking to stay in ultimate luxury, the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is an easy choice.

Sitting quaintly overlooking Monterey Bay near historic Cannery Row,  it’s the closest property to the ocean on the California coast. It also sits in close proximity to many of the region’s most popular sights including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Big Sur, and the 17-Mile Drive at Pebble Beach.

Built in 1980 and remodelled in 2018, it boasts 290 rooms, many which offer partial or full ocean views. 

After driving from San Jose, we leave our car in with a valet upon arrival and head for check in. From the lobby, we immediately hear crashing waves and the barking of seals at the beach below.

We are each given a glass of complimentary regional Pinot Noir and led to our rooms across a courtyard that offers full views of Monterey Bay.

Accommodations

Our room is a 400 sq. ft. Ocean View Two Queen Balcony. Sitting directly over the crashing ocean below. It’s equipped with all of the essentials and more: microfiber beds, spa amenities in the bathroom, a Nespresso machine, and marble bathroom. A pair of complementary binoculars stand on the table next to the balcony for wildlife viewing. 

Best hotels in Monterey County California

A knock at the door yields the most beautiful charcuterie board from Monterey Plaza’s on-site restaurant, Schooners. It’s scattered with local meats, cheeses, and jams with assorted crackers, bread, and of course, a bottle of local Pinot Noir for pairing. 

We pull back the curtains and open the windows to the ocean view balcony and take in the sights and sounds before freshening up for dinner.

Dinner at Coastal Kitchen

A brand new dining experience at Monterey Plaza Hotel, Coastal Kitchen features an ever-changing tasting menu highlighting the region’s best ingredients.

Executive Chef Michael Rotondo brings years of knowledge and expertise in blending flavors and textures. This paired with the preciseness of Sommelier Conrad Reddick, guests experience one of the most impressive pairings on the West Coast.

The six course tasting menu has no shortage of fresh and sustainable seafood — Maine Diver Scallops and Miso Marinated Black Cod — as well as tastings of more unexpected plates like Tortellini en Brodo and 48-hour Braised Beef Short-rib. 

The meal is polished off with a wine pairing for each of the six tastings. Vinos from Spain, France, Hungary, and Austria headline the table and create an artistic design as the light reflects off the glass. An early favorite is the French Brut Rosé from Gaston-Chiquet.

Best restaurants in Monterey County California

Each dish shines equally, but the dessert is the perfect finale to enjoy with a stunning sunset over the Pacific. 

A beautiful marriage of raspberry, lychee, rose, champagne, and pink peppercorn paired with Tokaji- Aszu Royal is sweet perfection.

Make a reservation and view the current tasting menu at Coastal Kitchen here

Day 2: Monterey, Salinas Valley,  Big Sur, Marina

Tidal Coffee at Monterey Plaza Hotel

Our second day is a busy one, so we rise before the sun to take to the road. But first, we make a pit stop at another local favorite: Tidal Coffee

Finding its home at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, it serves craft coffee, breakfast sandwiches, baked goods, and snacks. It’s the perfect spot to grab a to-go meal, but this morning we decide to sit and take in the view of the bay with our breakfast. 

Since the morning is a chilly one, we order a raspberry mocha with almond milk and a dark hot chocolate with whipped cream to warm up.

For food, we choose a half-savory- half-sweet combo with a salmon lox sesame bagel with sun-dried tomatoes, and a raspberry Kouign Amann pastry.

Tip: Tidal Coffee opens at 7 a.m., and it’s best to get there as early as possible to beat the line out of the door. It’s that good!

View hours of operation and full menu here.

Ag Venture Tours

After breakfast, the agricultural haven of Castroville is our next destination.

Known for its extensive number of artichoke crops and the annual Artichoke Festival, its rightful nickname is “The Artichoke Capital of the World.” 

Ag Venture Tours Monterey California

The meeting place for the day’s first activity is the Instagrammable roadside Pezzini Farm. One of the area’s most well-known artichoke farms, Pezinni specializes in growing and selling Heirloom artichokes and other local produce and gifts. 

We meet Evan Oakes, a local tour guide and owner of Ag Venture Tours — a wine tasting, sightseeing, and agricultural education tour. Since 1997, Evan has shown visitors the very best of the region’s booming agriculture industry. 

Both half-day walking tours and driving tours are available daily. This day, we board a comfortable air conditioned van to explore the fields in the surrounding towns. 

artichoke fields in Monterey County California

From Castroville, we drive through other areas of the Salinas Valley, known as the “Salad Bowl of the World” for its vibrant and vast array of farmland.

Monterey’s Agricultural History

Along the drive, Evan describes the differences in crops and soil, how they are taken care of and ultimately harvested. We pass fields growing strawberries, lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, and blackberries that span as far as the eye can see. 

Towards the end of the tour, Evan reveals a local hidden favorite: the small roadside stop of Driscoll’s Berry Shop in Aromas. Here, locals get their daily fruit fresh from the vine. 

We order a bushel of strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries and take a seat in the picnic area to take in the sights and flavors. It’s the freshest strawberry I’ve ever had!

The three-hour tour ends back at Pezzini Farms where Evan demonstrates how to properly cut, steam, and eat an Heirloom artichoke. 

The tour not only teaches guests valuable insights into the hospitality and agriculture industries in the area, but gives a unique perspective on local life in the community. 

Book a half-day van or walking tour by contacting Ag Venture Tours directly. You can email Evan at Evan@agventuretours.com. Booking in advance as this tour fills up quickly. Guests with disabilities are given accommodation with advance notice.

Tip: Don’t leave Pezzini Farm without placing an order of fried artichokes with garlic aioli dipping sauce from the Choke Coach food truck. Take a homemade artichoke cupcake to-go — you won’t regret it. 

Lunch under Wharf #2

Under Wharf #2 at Fisherman’s Wharf (also known as the Commercial Wharf), you can find one of Monterey’s best hidden gems — literally. 

The Sandbar and Grill hangs underneath the pier in a dramatic fashion, but it is anything but forgotten. 

A favorite meeting spot for locals, the Sandbar and Grill offers a simple menu with fresh local seafood alongside stunning views of the marina. 

We hear that the homemade clam chowder can’t be missed here. To oblige, we order a large bowl along with a toasted French baguette for dipping.

To share, we order a bowl of steamed mussels with dry sherry, garlic, tomatoes, and tarragon, and the famous “Sanddabs” — local catch — with homemade tartar sauce. 

Other menu items worth trying are the calamari steak with lemon and capers, and the Prawns Scampi.

Tip: Make time to walk down the wharf to admire the sail boats, and keep an eye out for seals and otters!

View hours of operation and full lunch, dinner, and Sunday Brunch menus here.

Big Sur Salts

From lunch, we head back to the Monterey Plaza Hotel to meet Carlo Overhulser, the founder of Big Sur Salts.

After a run-in with a rogue wave while hiking in Big Sur, Carlo decided to take some water home with him in a beer bottle. Weeks after forgetting the beer bottle was there, he found it. 

Big Sur Salts Monterey

More than just water was left in the bottle: inside was the purest salt he had ever laid eyes on. His fascination of salt dehydration began, thus, so did the idea of Big Sur Salts

Respecting Nature’s Bounty

Currently, Carlo is the only company with permission to responsibly and sustainably harvest salt from Big Sur. This is done in an effort to preserve the coastline’s unique habitats and fragile ecosystem.

To see first-hand where the harvesting magic happens, we head to the coastline for a short hike. Our destination is one of Carlo’s many salt holes. From above, Carlo explains the process from harvesting to dehydration, and finally, to production and sale. 

We then drive to Carmel Valley and make our way through the property at Carmel Valley Ranch. Propped on a beautiful hillside sits one of Carlo’s numerous salt houses where the magic happens. 

Carmel Valley Ranch Big Sur Salts

The process of “sel gris” made popular by the French is one that Carlo has made perfect, reflecting the classic and laid back vibes of Monterey County in each jar.

Currently, Carlo’s salt blends are featured in dozens of retail stores and regional restaurants. He also partners with big-name brands for innovative collaborations. This includes the Monterey Bay Aquarium which sells the exclusive “Deep, Dark, and Salty” chocolate bar. 

His Barbera salt blend is also featured on the menu at Salt Wood Kitchen in the popular Grilled Ad Astra Olive Bread.

Carlo offers personal tours to give visitors a chance to learn about his process of creating Big Sur Salts first hand. His salt blends are also for sale at nearly 50 retailers across California.

Shop all of Carlo’s Big Sur Salts blends here.

Dinner Among the Dunes

Near Marina State Beach, the stunning property of The Sanctuary Beach Resort lies among towering sand dunes. 

In the middle of the property is Salt Wood Kitchen and Oysterette.

One of the region’s leading culinary destinations, Salt Wood serves refined California coastal classics and craft cocktails with no shortage of stunning views.

With three main dining environments, guests can enjoy their meals at the full service bar, the outdoor patio, or the main restaurant. A wood burning fireplace sets the scene for the ultimate coastal dining experience. 

Cocktails, Crab, & Coastlines, Oh My!

I order a lemony cocktail called the “Summer Fog” to pair with the “Grilled Ag Astra Olive Bread” made with Big Sur Salts. The two together taste like a sunny summer day.

To share, we order an appetizer of the Dungeness Crab Mac n’ Cheese with chunks of fresh crab meat and a blend of creamy cheeses. 

We’re told not to pass up the Coffee Crusted Scallops, so we get a plate of those too.

For mains, I choose the “Ora King Salmon” with Shrimp Etoufeé and pickled peppers, and my dad goes for the “Oak Wood Smoked Half Chicken” with a side of mac n’ cheese.

The portions are very generous in relation to the prices, so there is no leaving hungry. 

Other menu items that can’t be missed are the “Wasabi Crusted Ahi Tuna,” and the “Baby Lettuce Caesar.”

View Salt Wood’s hours of operation and full brunch, dinner, and wine menus here.

Day 3: Monterey, Soledad

Breakfast on the Bay

We start our third day in Monterey with breakfast on the bay at the elegant oceanfront restaurant, Schooners.

On site at the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Schooners specializes in serving contemporary American cuisine using sustainable seafood.

breakfast at Schooners in Monterey
On the heated waterfront terrace, it’s easy to see why it’s known as “the best drink with a view.” 

Seafood & Fresh-Pressed Juices

We order two vanilla lattes and a perfectly pressed juice called “Summer Love” to start. The breakfast menu features plenty of fresh seafood including Dungeness crab, prawns, and smoked salmon. 

Second, we choose two of the most popular dishes: the “Dungeness Crab Benedict” with breakfast potatoes, and the decadent “Buttermilk Pancakes” with local blueberry jam and yuzu marmalade. 

Other breakfast dishes that are worth trying are the “Barrel Aged Smoked Salmon”, and the “Monterey Seafood Omelette” with Dungeness crab and smoked prawns.

If an early morning drink is your thing, the “Plaza Mary” is a popular choice, and comes adorned with two slices of crispy bacon, fresh olives, pickle, and seared prawns. It’s voted the best Bloody Mary in Monterey for a reason!

Learn more about Schooners and view the full breakfast, lunch, dinner, wine, and kids menus here.

Wine Tourism in Monterey County

Home to a robust wine region with nine American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), Monterey County has no shortage of award-winning wineries. 

Visitors can not only participate in wine tastings, but can experience educational vineyard tours or food and wine pairings featuring dishes made from the bounty of the region. 

Prime for Growing Vines

The Santa Lucia Highlands AVA alone is the largest grower of Chardonnay in the United States. It also produces the largest amount of Pinot Noir in California!
Both the scenic Salinas Valley and Carmel Valley areas continue to expand their tasting room scene — three have opened in the past six months at vineyards within 22 miles from each other. 

We spent a day exploring two of Monterey County’s most unique wineries: Chalone Vineyard and Joyce Wine Company.

Chalone Vineyard

As Monterey’s first winery, Chalone Vineyard is a must-visit. 

It sits at the base of the Pinnacles National Park on the Gavilan Plateau, 1,800 feet above the Salinas Valley.

Here, the volcanic limestone soil of the Chalone AVA gives these wines a very distinctive and award – winning flavor. It’s the only winery in this particular AVA, a federally designated area that has rare climatic and geologic features. 

However, it’s not just the wines that draw visitors to Chalone each year, but rather the history. The first vines were planted in 1919 and still grow in the front of the vineyard to this day.

With a focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, Chalone winemaker Greg Freeman also produces limited amounts of Pinot Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Syrah. The entire process from vine to bottle is controlled and completed at the estate. 

For the tasting, we sample a Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Syrah each. The Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay are an easy favorite, but it’s the 2019 Reserve Pinot Noir that takes the prize. 

Learn more about Chalone and view its full wine selection and prices here

Joyce Wine Company

A short 30 minute drive from Chalone, we arrive at Joyce Estate Winery in Soledad. 

A part of the Arroyo Seco AVA, owner and founder Russell Joyce places importance on harvesting locally grown organic fruit from the estate. Joyce Vineyards also works with trusted local growers to promote innovation and sustainability. 

Joyce has been in the wine making business since he was a kid, when the first vines were planted behind his family’s home in Carmel Valley. 

Since then, the self-taught Joyce has built Joyce Wine Company into two locations — a tasting room in Carmel Valley, and the Estate Winery in Soledad. 

Laid Back Cali Vibes

The vibe at the Soledad location is typical of a laid back California summer day. Families enjoy games of corn hole outside, groups of friends enjoy wine tastings, and couples have picnics paired with their favorite blend. 

Here, we sample a Submarine Canyon Chardonnay, a 2021 Sauvignon Blanc, an Arroyo Seco Rosé, and two different blends of Pinot Noir.  The 2021 Arroyo Seco Rosé and the Submarine Canyon Pinot Noir are my favorites, but the Pinot Noir wins a coveted spot in my suitcase.

Tastings at the Estate Winery can be completed inside or outside. They can be reserved for parties of one to six people on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Learn more about Joyce Wine Company wines and make a tasting reservation here

17-Mile Drive

There are nearly 100 miles of coastline in Monterey County, but one of the most beautiful is easily the 17-Mile Drive located within Pebble Beach.

Since 1881 when horse-drawn carriages would travel the road from the former Hotel Del Monte, it’s been a source of scenic history for those visiting Monterey County

Today, guests follow the red-dashed line in the middle of the road to wind through the Del Monte Forest to lay their eyes on one of the most scenic drives in the world.

17-Mile Drive’s Best Stops
  1. The Lone Cypress. A more than 250 year-old Cypress Tree sits atop a rocky pedestal overlooking a dramatic Pacific Ocean coastline. It’s also the halfway point of the 17-Mile Drive.
  2. Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point. Explore hundreds of spooky sun-bleached Cypress trees.
  3. Seal Rock/Bird Rock.
  4. This wildlife hub is buzzing with hundreds of birds, harbor seals, and dramatic sea lions. It’s also a great spot for a picnic, a walk among the tide pools, or a stretch.
  5. Cypress Point Lookout. This is the best spot on the drive to enjoy a California sunset against pure white sand. Keep in mind it’s closed from April 1 to June 1 each year for pupping season.

It costs $11.25 per vehicle to enter the 17-Mile Drive. The gate fee can be reimbursed with a purchase of $35 or more at all Pebble Beach Resorts restaurants. 

Tip: Plan to spend at least a full day exploring all of the stops on 17-Mile Drive. There are 17 stops along the route and all of them are worth getting out of your vehicle for. 

Dinner in Carmel-by-the-Sea

A short 10-minute drive South, we arrive at the quaint beach town of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Known for its fairytale cottages and village-like town center with European influenced architecture, it also has a bustling food scene. 

Basil Seasonal Dining

We’re here for dinner at Basil Seasonal Dining, a locally-sourced casual spot serving Italian fare with California flare. As Carmel’s first Certified Green Restaurant, menu ingredients change four or five times a year. The menu features only organic ingredients and sustainable seafood is delivered daily.

Owner Denis Boaro, a native of Venice, Italy, is no stranger to the restaurant business, serving cuisines that bring guests back again and again.

Cozy and romantic both inside and out, the outdoor patio is a local favorite for its dog-friendly atmosphere. 

Since it’s slightly chilly, we take a seat outside under the heating lamps.

Italian Cuisine with a Cali Twist

First, we order a large bowl of creamy artichoke soup to warm up. 

Second, we savor Basil’s famous bruschetta on fresh ciabatta bread. It is topped with cherry tomatoes, black truffle sauce, buffalo mozzarella, Monterey Sea Salt, and Basil’s very own pesto.

It’s the freshest and most flavorful bruschetta I’ve had (and I’ve been to Italy five times!)

For mains, I order the special of the day which is a tender lobster ravioli in a creamy pink sauce. My dad orders the Traditional Lasagna with beef bolognese, ricotta cheese, and San Marzano marinara. We both get mounds of fresh Parmesan shavings on top and it’s a necessary addition. 

Lastly, Basil offers a full bar and an ever changing list of both local Monterey County and Italian wine selections. Selections on this wine list are hand-picked by Boaro himself. 

View Basil’s hours of operation and the current seasonal menus for brunch, dinner, dessert and wine here.

Day 4: Monterey, Seaside

As the sun rises over the water and peeps through the cracks in the curtains, we make our way to the hotel property’s private beach. 

We finish watching the sunrise with a hot latte and take a stroll along Cannery Row, the historic remnants of Monterey’s former sardine canning industry. 

Once the most famous street in America, it’s now home to specialty shops, local art galleries, and more than 25 restaurants to bring a new vibe to downtown Monterey. 

Vista Blue Spa

We have some downtown before our breakfast reservations, so we take the elevator up to the penthouse to explore Vista Blue Spa.

This award-winning luxury spa and fitness center offers generous doses of sunshine and relaxation with full views of Monterey Bay from any viewpoint. 

It’s been named one of Travel + Leisure’s Top 25 Spas, and for three years in a row has been named one of Conde Nast’s Top 75 Hotel Spas in North America. It’s easy to see why.

The sundeck is the most impressive component with two whirlpool hot tubs and a fireplace. Without hesitation, we take advantage of the two hot tubs which we have all to ourselves for the moment. 

Vista Blue Spa offers classic massages, warm stone massages, prenatal massages, European style facials, and nail and waxing services. A private spa suite is also available for 45 minute or two hour reservations. 

Vista Blue Spa’s entire service menu and hours of operation can be found here.

Arrive at the spa as soon as it opens at 8 a.m. Both the facility and the uninterrupted views of Monterey Bay will be all yours — at least for a little while.

Breakfast at Googie Grill

With a long day of travel ahead, we drive to the town of Seaside for our last breakfast of the trip at Googie Grill.

A 1950s-era vintage cafe, Googie’s is a brightly hued and colorful local favorite. Since 2014, it has been serving locals traditional American fare with a California twist. 

Most known for their delicious breakfast specialties and cooked-to-perfection steak and fish, the French-style beignets take the title. 

Beignets come towering with mounds of powdered sugar and a side of fresh blueberry preserves. They are a must.

Another can’t miss dish is the “Calamari Steak & Eggs”. It includes a lightly breaded calamari steak. After all, Monterey is known as the “Calamari Capital of the World”!

Googie Grill’s hours of operation and full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus are here.

Know Before You Go

  • Monterey County is beautiful year-round, but the best months to visit this coastal haven are the fall and spring months.
  • Eat more than just the clam chowder bread bowls! While delicious, the region’s fertile soil creates a food and wine scene unlike any other. 

  • While the aquarium is a must-see attraction in its own right, Monterey County has so much to offer. Walk along a coastal park trail or drive down River Road Wine Trail to explore tasting rooms.
  • Order local and buy local. Shopping local not only helps businesses financially, but is a great way to practice responsible travel.
  • Don’t eat at restaurants you can enjoy back home. Dine at local restaurants that feature produce grown in Monterey County.  In fact, for many of these restaurants, fresh seafood is caught hours before.
  • Many restaurants participate in the Monterey Bay Aaquarium’s Seafood Watch program. This program supports environmentally responsible products and suppliers. 

Visiting Monterey County, California: FAQ’s

What is Monterey County known for?

Monterey County is famous for many things including its natural coastal landscapes and its impressive agricultural industry. In fact, it offers the longest coastline of any California county. This means that there are endless nature trails to explore and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife like otters, seals, and whales. It’s also home to one of the most famous aquariums in the U.S., the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

How many towns are in Monterey County?

There are 12 incorporated cities in Monterey County. The largest of these cities are Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Salinas, Pacific Grove, and Seaside. Smaller towns include Soledad, Castroville, Gonzales, Greenfield, and numerous others.

What is the best time of year to visit Monterey CA?

The sweet spot for a Monterey County getaway is from mid April to late May. These months bring warmer temperatures and less tourists. You can enjoy beaches, food festivals, and popular attractions without the crowds, and for a more affordable price. For example, you can attend the Pebble Beach Food & Wine Festival, or the Artichoke Festival in Castroville. Book an Ag Venture Tour!

Planning a U.S. Road Trip this Summer?

Planning a U.S. vacation this year? Read some of my other destination guides here and here

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30 replies to “The Ultimate 4-Day Guide to Monterey County, California”

  1. So many beautiful things to see and the food looks AMAZING! That dessert at Coastal Kitchen is such a feast for the eyes, I’m sure it must have been delicious. Monterey is one of my favorite places to visit, gotta get back there again!

    1. Yes! The food at Coastal Kitchen was my favorite, though all of the produce and seafood in Monterey County is next-level! So fresh and flavorful. I hope you make it back there someday soon!

  2. I hadn’t heard much about Monterey until I discovered your blog. After reading it, I am adding it to my list! This is such a lovely place with beautiful nature. I would love to try the food in the places to eat you have covered too. It looks delicious!

    1. I’m so glad I could introduce you to Monterey County! The food here is truly incredible, but the nature is next-level! So much wildlife and gorgeous landscapes. I hope you can visit someday soon!

  3. 17 mile drive is my favorite thing to do! I absolutely loved this drive with amazing golf courses and the lone cypress! Great itinerary!

  4. We drove through Monterrey on a Pacific Coast Road Trip when I was younger, but we didn’t stop to explore. This post has convinced me I need to go back! Thanks for sharing. I would love to check out the wineries!

  5. Love love LOVE Monterey!! We have friends in Santa Cruz, so have vebtured to Monterey a couple times. You’ve got great recommendations here!

    1. Ohh so lucky! I definitely want to get back at some point within the next year to explore more of Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and whale watch! It’s a lovely area.

  6. Monterey County looks like a dream!!! I love all the vineyards and your food photography is exquisite. I’ve made note of your suggestions for my next visit to the region.

  7. Monterey County looks like the place to soothe all the senses! That food looks & sounds delicious. Learnt a few interesting things about Monterey and California as well, so thanks for sharing this info.

  8. I’ve heard of Monterey because of the whale watching, but it looks so beautiful and quaint! What a great getaway place.

  9. Okay- so I’m certainly going now and I’m going to totally take this food tour! Your choices look so so good!!!

  10. The Vista Blue Spa sounds like the place for me. I also loved the idea of visiting a farm. Thank you for giving this local girl so many new and interesting ideas for exploring my Northern California home.

    1. That spa was the dreamiest! I could have spent an entire day just there let alone the rest of the hotel. It’s so nice! You definitely have some exploring to do hehe

  11. What a great itinerary! I found the packing list especially helpful! And the food looks absolutely incredible! What an incredible, relaxing and indulgent getaway!

    1. So glad you found it helpful! The weather is usually mild but always nice to pack it all just in case 🙂 The food is the freshest I’ve tasted pretty much ever. Definitely bring an appetite if visiting Monterey!

  12. Your post definitely fires me up to visit California and do a winery trek! Great ideas and photos. The food looks yummy.

  13. Hey there! I simply would like to give you a big thumbs up for your great information you’ve got here on this post. I’ll be coming back to your web site for more soon.

  14. You have listed so many great things to see and do in Monterey. I absolutely love the food options you have listed. I am a huge foodie when traveling so I appreciate this kind of information!

  15. Absolutely love this post on Monterey! We were just there last year for my birthday and it is just such a perfect location for everyone. Your photos capture this destination perfectly.

  16. My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content to suit your needs? I wouldn’t mind writing a post or elaborating on many of the subjects you write about here. Again, awesome web site!

    1. Thank you so much! That makes me very happy to hear. Thanks again for stopping by and for the kind words!
      At the moment I am not accepting guest posts, but if this changes in the near future I will be sure to let you know.

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2. The hospitality. This goes without explanation, but the locals are so welcoming and truly want you to enjoy their country!
3. The cuisine. Think flavorful dishes like soups, thick stews, desserts, fried chicken, and plenty of fresh fruit 🥭🍍🍌
4. Saona Island Reserve. Waist-deep turquoise waters, gorgeous oceans and beaches, and stunning scenery provide peace and tranquility. 
5. Breathtaking landscapes and national parks.
6. Luxury hotels + resorts. The DR is known for having some of the most luxurious all-inclusive resorts in the world, especially in and around Punta Cana. I recommend staying at @sunscapecoco which is a @sunscaperesorts property by @hyatt! 
7. Amazing Nightlife + entertainment. The DR is the birthplace of the merengue and bachata after all!
8. The rums. Dominican rums are known for their high quality. They are aged in American oak barrels and then distilled in column stills. The tropical climate also is a huge factor in the maturing process and taste! 
9. The wildlife. Flamingos, cushion starfish, whales, dolphins, lizards, crocodiles, and more than 300 species of birds!
10. Tropical surroundings. The DR is home to the most northern rainforest in the world! 

What would you want to experience first? 🇩🇴

***View my Dominican highlight to see everything I did during my time there with @sunscapecoco and @amstardmc! #UnlimitedFun #SunscapeResorts #WorldofHyatt #AmstarWelcomesYou #DominicanRepublic #puntacana #caribbeantravel
𝐓𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐭𝐲𝐩𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐤𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐩𝐡𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐀𝐢𝐫𝐩𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐞 𝐌𝐨𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐩𝐮𝐫𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐞 👌🏻😮‍💨

The 5-star luxury @sunscapecoco resort in Punta Cana @dominicanrepublic is nothing short of a dream stay. The @hyatt property offers 24 different on-site restaurants and bars My favorites were DaMario’s for Italian cuisine and Blue Water Grill steakhouse!

It also provides 24-hour room service (late night pizza + fries yes please!), a full service spa, daily activities and family-friendly entertainment on-property, six pools, access to a stunning white sand beach, beach lounge chairs and cabanas (for rent), gift shops, a casino (if that’s your thing), and an on-site medical clinic. 

For those visiting with kids, a section of the property contains the Explorer's Club for kids ages 3-12 which offers a large playground, pool, arts and crafts, and movie nights. A kid approved snack + food truck is also nearby.

Want to explore beyond the resort? You can easily book private transport or a tour at the @amstardmc desk in the front lobby or before your arrival.

It really has everything you could want or need! 

What’s a place you keep your phone on airplane mode to truly enjoy the experience? Let me know below!
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#UnlmitedFun #SunscapeResorts #SunscapeCoco #DominicanRepublic #Caribbeantraveler #Caribbeantravels
𝐇𝐨𝐰 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐝 𝟒 𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐳𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐝𝐚𝐲𝐬 𝐢𝐧 @charleston.travel ::

(You’ll want to SAVE this for your next trip!)📌

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟏:
- Check into the @hvicharleston. Here you can enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese reception, milk + cookies at night, and a made to order breakfast in the mornings!
- Grab a sweet pick me up at @tintoycrema next door 
- Stop for pics at Rainbow Row
- Walk to White Point Garden + The Battery
- Visit Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon
- Have a late seafood lunch at @fleetlanding 

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟐:
- enjoy complimentary breakfast at @hvicharleston (order the ham + cheese quiche or croissant!)
- take the free DASH bus from the hotel to Liberty Square to visit the @southcarolinaaquarium. They have an amazing Sea Turtle Rescue Center! 
- eat lunch at @browndogdeli (I recommend ordering The Folly Beach Turkey Crunch Wrap or the Fried Green Tomato BLT) 
- tour the Nathaniel Russell House and/or the Edmondston-Alston House (it survived hurricanes, the earthquake of 1888, and the Civil W*r!)
- eat dinner at @magnoliaschs. Order the fried green tomatoes and southern egg roll!

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟑:
- enjoy another breakfast at @hvicharleston! You can order it as early as 6am.
- Board a boat to @ftsumternps. This historic Fort is marked as the spot where the first battle of the Civil W*r was fought. Reservations required. 
- take an Uber to @fireflydistillery to try their Sweet Tea Vodka, Banana Pudding Moonshine, and their Chocolate Pecan Whiskey. Dont pass up a boozy moonshine milkshake (for 21+) and a Rocket Burger from @rocket_burger_chs food truck!

𝐃𝐚𝐲 𝟒:
- enjoy an iced coffee and a breakfast sandwich at @carmellasdessertbar (just a few blocks from @hvicharleston)
- stroll through the @charlestoncitymarket. It’s been around since the mid 1800’s!
- eat late lunch at @hymans_seafood. Don’t pass up their hush puppies and crab cakes. They were voted Best in Charleston for a reason! 

Click on the link in my bio to read my full “4 Days in Charleston” guide (yes, there’s more!) on my blog to help you plan the ultimate Charleston vacation.
𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐢 𝐆𝐮𝐢𝐝𝐞 𝐭𝐨 @puntacana 𝐃𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐜𝐚𝐧 𝐑𝐞𝐩𝐮𝐛𝐥𝐢𝐜 ✨

I had 4 full days to spend in the eastern region of the @dominicanrepublic (which was definitely not enough time to see everything!) but made for a great intro to the DR. 

Here are just a few must-do activities to check out when you visit!

✨ Stay at the newly updated @sunscapecoco by @hyatt. This 5-star all inclusive @sunscaperesorts property offers *24*on-site restaurants, bars, and cafes for unlimited food + drinks. It also has a spa, multiple pools, and beach access.
✨ Visit the Basilica Nuestra Señora De La Altagracia in Higuey. It’s one of the most important religious sites in the country!
✨ Spend a few hours at Playa Macao. It’s a beautiful white sand beach with bright turquoise waters!
✨ Try traditional food such as Dominican fried chicken, Bandera Dominicana (rice, beans, and stewed chicken), and Sancocho (a hearty stew).
✨ Spend a day exploring the islands of Cotubanamá National Park with @amstardmc 🌴 

Do you have plans to visit the @dominicanrepublic soon? You can see more from my time there in my IG stories and my “Dominican” highlight! 
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#DominicanRepublic #puntacana #puntacanaexcursions #dominicana #UnlimitedFun #sunscaperesorts #SunscapeCoCo #caribbeantravel #caribbeanvibes #amstarwelcomesyou #dominicanrepublic🇩🇴
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