Monterey Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended Monterey Family-friendly activities

Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

1. Monterey Bay: Whale Watching Tour

Discover a variety of whale species in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary on this cruise from Monterey. Uncover one of the world’s best locations for whale watching due to its deep submarine canyon close to shore. With whales spotted almost every day, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Set sail from the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Catch a glimpse of the hundreds of Californian Sea Lions inside the harbor as the boat leaves the dock. Take advantage of the view and snap a photo to capture the memory. Pass the historic Cannery Row as you leave the harbor and enter the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Search for feeding humpback whales, a variety of dolphin species, porpoises, blue whales, and fin whales. Listen as the onboard biologist provides fascinating insights into the creatures of the bay and what is being done to protect them. During the summer/ fall season, the tour will focus on feeding whales that come to the bay to feast on small fish and krill. Spot humpback whales daily but keep an eye out for blue whales, fin whales, gray whales (finishing migration), orcas and a variety of other dolphin species. During the winter season, the tour will focus on migrating whales at the south end of Monterey Bay where gray whales pass by. Return to your starting point at the end of your tour.

Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

2. Monterey: Monterey Bay Dolphin and Whale Watching Boat Tour

Discover the diverse wildlife of Monterey Bay on a guided dolphin and whale watching boat cruise. Feast your eyes on massive gray whales, watch playful dolphins leap from the water, spot turtles skimming underneath the waves, and learn about the ecological landscape of the bay's oceanic habitat. Begin your tour by meeting your captain and boarding the boat at the Old Fisherman's Wharf. Sail into Monterey Bay, watching for birds and otters along the wharf's shallow banks. Learn about local efforts to protect what is considered to be one of the most ecologically diverse bays in the area. As you sail further away from the shoreline, watch for harbor seals, bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales, elephant seals, and even sharks. Catch sight of gray whales leaping alongside the boat and curious killer whales, with their characteristic black and white coloring, swimming nearby.

From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

3. From San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Day Tour

Discover the scenic coastline of California on a day trip by air-conditioned bus from San Francisco. Visit the Monterey Peninsula, Cannery Row, and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Travel scenic California’s Pacific Coast Highway 1 to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, famous for its spectacular ocean views, abundant wildlife, and historical past. Stop at Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, where there are great shops and restaurants overlooking the Pacific. Next, travel through the famous 17-Mile Drive and see Pebble Beach Golf Course. Photo stops will be made along this gorgeous drive.  Your tour continues to Carmel by the sea where ample time is given to walk through this charming town dotted with lovely shops, and beautiful architecture.

San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

4. San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

Begin your tour by traveling south on the famous Pacific Coast Highway, California Highway 1. Head to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. At your first rest stop in Davenport, you will have a chance to take a selfie with the whole Pacific as your backdrop.  At Monterey, you will have 2 hours on your own to explore. You can visit the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, rent a kayak or paddleboard, hike along the coast, or take a bike to roam. You can also stroll among the quaint boutiques and art shops along the historic Cannery Row. Grab a seafood lunch at Old Fisherman’s Wharf.  Enjoy another eyeful of Pacific beauty along the scenic 17-Mile Drive through Del Monte Forest and take photographs of the hardy Lone Cyprus Tree. This famous road winds its way by magnificent homes and the spectacular coastline, between the greens and tees of world famous golf courses, and among the last remaining forest of a rare species of the Monterey Cypress.  Your scenic drive finishes at Pebble Beach Village. Upon arrival in the enchanted town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can explore the boutique shops on Ocean Avenue and be dazzled by the white sandy beach. If there is time, you can visit the historic Carmel Mission. Then, it will be time to head back to San Francisco. 

U.S. Southwest: 27-Tour Bundle on Self-Guided Driving App

5. U.S. Southwest: 27-Tour Bundle on Self-Guided Driving App

Become a modern pioneer with an audio-guided app tour of the U.S. Southwest. Pick your starting location then follow the GPS map and visit the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, the Rockies, and many other national parks in your own time. Decide where you want to go. Tour the sights of Arizona, including Sedona and Red Rock, the Grand Canyon, and the Colorado River meander at Horseshoe Bend. Travel the west coast of California along 17-Mile drive accompanied by a virtual tour guide. Visit some famous movie locations in LA. Explore the rugged beauty of Colorado and see the Rocky Mountains and Million Dollar Highway. Witness the best national parks in Utah, such as Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Bryce National Park. Watch the famous Old Faithful geyser erupt in Yellowstone National Park.

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What people are saying about Monterey

Perfect activity for our quick trip to Monterey. Guides were friendly and very knowledgeable. We saw many different varieties of sea animals including a few jellyfish floating past the boats. Seeing the dolphins and Humpback whales interact with each other was incredible as they hunted for food.

Incredible experience seeing the Humpback Whales, Orcas and Sea Lions. On some trips you may see the numerous species of Dolphins too. The staff on the boat were knowledgeable and very engaging, walking around the boat and chatting to customers. Highly recommend this trip.

Monterey Bay is the best place to see whales and other sea life...I have been a few times other places and this was a cut above. The morning was smooth sailing and we were well prepared for the cool sea air -- wear layers including a "real jacket".

Awesome experience! Saw over 20 humpbacks, 2 were breaching, 100s of Sea Lions and 1000s of Risso dolphins including Casper. Thank you so much

Roman is hands down one of the best tour guides I have ever toured with! We will be back to do a tour of Yosemite with him.