Planning a family trip to the Monterey Peninsula soon? If the little ones are joining you, it might be helpful to have a list of things to do in Monterey with kids. We’re lucky enough to have many activities in Monterey that provide fun for a wide array of age groups and interests. Some of these activities offer family fun for everyone!
For example, an early evening at Spanish Bay with champagne overlooking the sunset may not be the most enticing event for a 7 year old, but if you go when the bagpipe player starts his set, everyone is happy! If you go during the Christmas holiday, your child will likely witness the biggest Christmas tree and biggest ornaments they have ever laid eyes upon. Spanish Bay is just one example of a magical place that offers something for everyone.
Beaches | Things to Do in Monterey with Kids
Being a beach town, beach play a big role when brainstorming things to do in Monterey with kids. When we think of Monterey Peninsula beaches, three come to mind that are very well known and frequently visited – Carmel River State Beach, Carmel Beach, and Del Monte Beach in Monterey. Del Monte is great for the kids because with kayak rentals, volleyball courts, and plenty of space for a family BBQ, it’s tough to imagine anyone being bored.
There’s a secret to enjoying Carmel River State Beach in a way that many people might not know about. After you park, walk south beyond the lagoon until you get to the rocks. If you go during low tide, there are tide pools with starfish, sea urchins, fish, and beautiful plants that provide a free aquarium experience for the kids, and a way to observe these creatures in their natural environment. That’s a unique Monterey experience that you and your kids can cherish and remember forever!
Carmel Beach not only has the best sand around, but the fire pits are great if you’re with a group of people. The kids can roast marshmallows as you watch the sun go down.
If you drive down highway 1, you’ll encounter several places where you can pull over to the side of the road and walk down to a beach. These beaches often have less traffic, and the views are incredible. Here’s a picture of a beach we found in Pebble Beach, and this little guy put on a show for us!
When considering things to do in Monterey with kids, a good hike can be the recipe for a great start to your day. Get the adrenaline pumping and the kids a little tired before an evening of well deserved relaxation as you dine out at your favorite local restaurant! Some of our favorite kid-friendly hikes include Garland Ranch and Point Lobos. If your kids are well versed in trekking steeper hills, Garrapata is a worthy challenge.
El Estero park has giant boats shaped like geese that can be rented to paddle around the lake. What better way to explore a small lake than aboard a goose with your favorite people? The kids can name the goose, and the whole family gets exercise by paddling together with the Pacific Ocean in the background. After, you can cross the street to Del Monte Beach for a swim, or go to Sapporo for a bite to eat with a view.
Carmel Valley Village has a park with rolling hills and beautiful sunlight. If you go on Sunday morning, there is a Farmer’s market with an excellent taco truck, several other quick dining options, and arts/crafts from local vendors. Or, pack a picnic and enjoy the scenery!
Indoor Recreation Spots
Sometimes in Monterey, it rains and rains and rains! When your plans have been suddenly altered by Mother Nature, you might be forced to adapt and overcome. While the Monterey Bay Aquarium is an obvious choice, some other indoor options that will provide a great day are below.
Monterey Sports Center
Here the kids can enjoy a giant swimming pool, basketball and racquetball courts, and snacks! You can even take a spin class while they play.
We hope this brainstorm of things to do in Monterey with kids helps your next visit to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula!