Oceanside activities in a low-key California town.

By Travel + Leisure
May 17, 2012
Courtesy of Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau

For exploring all things sea-related, Monterey is the place to go. The charming seaside village makes it easy to access outdoor sports, such as kayaking and biking, throughout the year. Little ones especially appreciate the area's marine wildlife; whales, sea otters, and sea lions, are frequently spotted bobbing, in or near the blue but cool waters.

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Start, of course, with the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Its Splash Zone, an interactive exhibit for kids, recently doubled in size—now you can walk “through” a giant kelp forest (via a glass tunnel) and (gently) pet a living abalone in the display’s expanded touch pool.

Old Monterey Café

Fill up on morning blueberry pancakes or cinnamon raisin French toast at this local breakfast haunt.

Adventures by the Sea

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

Clement Monterey

The 208-room hotel, next to the aquarium, is a family-friendly InterContinental with a pool.

Passionfish

For dinner, pull the kids away from Bubba Gump and head for Passionfish in neighboring Pacific Grove. On the menu: more grown-up dishes such as sea scallops with tomato-truffle butter and risotto custard and ratatouille ravioli topped by aged asiago.

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