Big Sur + Monterey Bay

Big Sur + Monterey Bay Travel Guide

Vacationers wondering what to do in Monterey Bay should start with a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where you can view great white shark, dolphin, kelp and penguin exhibits among many others. Afterward, head to the pier and select any one of the city’s excellent restaurants. Enjoying fresh seafood while taking in the view of the Pacific is hands down one of the best things to do in Monterey Bay. It’s easy to work off all those crab-cakes, too. Fitness buffs wondering what to do in Monterey Bay won’t be disappointed – the city boasts a number of outdoor activities, including snorkeling, diving, cycling and kayaking.

Music lovers looking for things to do in Monterey Bay should keep in mind that the city’s annual Jazz Festival takes place in September. It’s quite an event, attracting more than 40,000 attendees each year, and past performers have included legends such as Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.

Deep within Los Padres National Forest, Pfeiffer Beach is a surreal mix of purple sand, giant redwoods, sycamores, and oaks. Offshore, a smattering of sea stacks are scattered like biscuit crumbs across the ocean.

Tour the 17-Mile Drive—preferably in a convertible—around the legendary Pebble Beach Golf Links, ogling fantasy mansions with ocean views.

Top tip: In Hobart, Tasmania, she suggests a visit to the Salamanca market, where more than 300 producers peddle artisanal foods. Years as agent: 32. Other specialties: Culinary tours, Australia, New Zealand.

Stock up on house-made sausages and organic greens to bring with you on the hike.

Take a kayak tour ($50) of the bay from Cannery Row.

The old canneries made famous by John Steinbeck are now filled with shops, restaurants, and galleries.

The old-time candy shop is a sweet-lover's inspiration.

Aromatic soaps and sachets are for sale here.

Everyone will love Piedras Blancas, one of only three traditional tower-style lighthouses in California.

Poke into this charming shop for exquisite French antiques and linens.

The oldest Zen monastery in the U.S.

The University of California at Santa Cruz mascot, the banan slug, adorns hats, mugs, t-shirts, and other goodies at the campus store.

The winery runs a development series that culminates in an outdoor excursion to plant and prune vines.