Old Fisherman's Wharf

Old Fisherman's Wharf: Our most recommended tours and 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: Adobe Ghosts and Dark History Walking Tour

2. Monterey: Adobe Ghosts and Dark History Walking Tour

Nestled in a crook of the California coastline, Monterey is known as a scenic waterfront city — but there’s something dark and sinister lurking in the bay. Come explore the bone-chilling, haunted history of this iconic port. You’ll meet your guide at Colton Hall Museum and Jail, where the spirits of innocent prisoners can be heard gasping, wailing, and picking guitars. From there, you’ll wind through seven other historic, haunted locations, including the famous Monterey Hotel. Scan the water for sea monsters at Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Learn why John Steinbeck ordered a priest to exorcise the Lara-Soto Adobe before he moved in. You’ll hear tales of murderous doctors, fun-loving tavern owners, and the victims of a bloody 19th century tragedy. By the time you reach the final stop, you’ll have plenty of spooky stories to fuel your nightmares. You may even have a ghost story of your own…

San Francisco: Monterey and Carmel Tour

3. 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. 

Pacific Coastal Highway Tour to Monterey & Carmel

4. Pacific Coastal Highway Tour to Monterey & Carmel

Travel along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea. This full-day tour takes you along California’s stunning coast to experience the beauty of Highway 1. When you arrive at the Monterey peninsula, follow the 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach to visit the Lone Cypress, where your guide will stop for you to take photos of the rugged, beautiful coast. As your tour continues, visit Monterey city where you can walk down Cannery Row, or visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium (for an additional cost). From Monterey, your tour continues to the coastal town Pacific Grove, which features charming Victorian-era buildings; and the artsy Carmel-by-the-Sea, where you will visit the historic mission established in 1770. On the way back to San Francisco, drive through Silicon Valley, the tech capital of the United States; and, as you circle round the north end of San Francisco, catch a glimpse of the Seal Rocks in the distance.

Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

5. Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

Experience one of the most famous scenic drives in the world with a live GPS route and auto-playing narration for a complete hands-free and fully guided driving experience along the 17-Mile Drive. Simply download the app and drive hands-free like Google maps. On approaching an attraction, it’s photo pops up and you will hear its audio story, just like having a local guide sitting with you. The tour is developed by local tour guides, curated by creative writers, narrated by professional voice artists and put together using an award-winning platform. At Point Joe, stop and listen to the audio guide to learn about the European explorers that first came to this part of the coast. Later, drive past Bird Rock, where you can see Brandt's cormorants, pelicans, and California sea lions sharing the rock. At your next stop, get to see the harbor seals at Fanshell Overlook and learn about their pupping season from your guide. As you continue your drive, learn about the history of the 5000-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees and listen to the intriguing story of a 250-year-old Lone Cypress that isn't entirely alone. Finally, stop at the Lodge at Pebble Beach and rest at one of the public areas or putter around in one of the many charming shops in the area. 

5-Day Wild West Tour From Los Angeles

6. 5-Day Wild West Tour From Los Angeles

Day 1: LOS ANGELES – SANTA BARBARA – ROUTE 1/17 MILE DRIVE – CARMEL Summer Route: Depart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Visit a Spanish Mission, then continue to Solvang, a quaint Danish community to browse the local shops. After, see the spectacular California coastline up close (small vehicles will travel the southern portion of route 1 while full-size coaches will travel the 17-mile drive exclusively). Visit the town of Carmel home and enjoy some free time to stroll in town before departing to reach your hotel overnight at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Winter Route: Depart north up the spectacular California Coast to the first stop in Santa Barbara. Start your tour and stop at the heart of downtown at the “state street promenade.” Stroll through the exclusive shops and restaurants in this beautiful part of town. Continue to Santa Barbara beaches and Stearns Wharf and finish your visit at the Spanish Mission Santa Barbara. From the mission, continue to Solvang, “the Danish capital of America.” Enjoy the Danish-style architecture while browsing in the local shops and restaurants. Then head north through Silicon Valley before departing to reach your hotel at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Oakland Airport. Day 2: SAN FRANCISCO – BAY CRUISE – GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE – CHINATOWN Start your tour at the Fisherman’s Wharf with a cruise in the world-famous bay. Marvel at views of both the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. Return to Pier 39 for a leisurely lunch before an afternoon tour that takes in all the city’s famous landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, Union square, and Chinatown. Summer Route Overnight: Modesto – Modesto Hotel Winter Route Overnight: San Francisco - Springhill Suites Oakland Airport Day 3 SAN FRANCISCO – YOSEMITE Summer Route: Head east through the farmlands of the Joaquin Valley to Yosemite National Park. Stop at El Capitan, Bridal-Veil Falls, and Half Dome. After a day in the park, head down to Stevenson Ranch for the evening. Winter Route: Start the day with a visit to Monterey and see the wharf and Cannery Row. Continue your tour of the beautiful California Coast with a visit to the town of Carmel-by-the-sea. Enjoy some free time to stroll in town and enjoy the beautiful boutiques and galleries. Head south to the world-famous Route #1 and spend your evening at Stevenson Ranch. Day 4: STEVENSON RANCH – LAS VEGAS Summer & Winter Route: Arrive in Las Vegas and take a tour of the strip to see some of the truly amazing hotels and fantasies that are built in the middle of the desert, such as Caesar’s Palace, Mirage, Luxor, Paris, Mandalay Bay, New York New York, Treasure Island and more. Stay overnight at Harrah’s Hotel. Day 5: LAS VEGAS – HOOVER DAM – LOS ANGELES Summer & Winter Route: After a leisurely breakfast, leave Las Vegas and make your way to the Hoover Dam. Then head west and cross back into California. Your tour ends back in Los Angeles.

Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

7. Monterey: 17-Mile Drive Self-Guided Audio Tour

Experience the ultimate scenic drive between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach on a self-guided tour in your vehicle. Take advantage of the flexibility to set your own pace, stopping to take in the many sights and views along the 17-Mile Drive. Start by downloading the app that will function as your personal guide, audio tour, and map all in one (download instructions received via email after booking), then begin your self-guided adventure. You'll embark on this scenic drive in downtown Monterey near the historic Fisherman's Wharf. Discover Cannery Row, the delightful waterfront street bordering Pacific Grove. Optionally, stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to get an up-close look at a large variety of sea creatures (entry not included). Take in the views from Point Joe, the rocky southwestern end of Spanish Bay, also known as the Restless Sea. Journey to Bird Rock and Seal Rock, and try to spot seals, sea lions, and local birds. Next, you'll continue through Crocker Grove to the Lone Cypress, which stands dramatically at the edge of a cliff against crashing waves. End your tour at the world-famous Pebble Beach, a paradise of pristine white sand and sensational coastal cliffs. The audio tour is curated by local guides and creative writers and is narrated by professional voice artists. Along with written descriptions, most tour stops have animated videos allowing you to visualize what you cannot see, such as snapshots from different centuries or building interiors.

Other Sightseeing Options in Old Fisherman's Wharf

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What people are saying about Old Fisherman's Wharf

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 711 reviews

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

Isaiah made the trip very memorable. His knowledge and interaction was the key to an enjoyable experience.