5 STAR FEATURES OF MONTEREY BAY, CALIFORNIA
Feel the warmth of the year-round temperate weather in this quaint location on the Pacific coast. This enriching community is nestled in picturesque Monterey Peninsula in California, USA.
Be inspired by vibrant blue ocean waters, romantic sunsets, and the quintessential charm found in the language capital of the world. Monterey Bay is home to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center (DLIFLC), a military school aimed at training the armed forces in foreign languages. It is regarded as one of the finest schools for foreign language instruction in the country.
Let me share 5 star features I highly recommend doing in Monterey Bay:
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
“Big Blue Live” aired on PBS in August 2015, which was perfect timing prior to my visit to the Monterey Bay Peninsula in September 2015. PBS featured phenomenal marine animals such as blue whales, elephant seals, and sea otters. You will enjoy all the colorful creatures floating in the array of tanks. The charismatic sea otters are a must see at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
- The Fish Hopper
Talk a short stroll down the street to quench your appetite at The Fish Hopper after your visit to the aquarium. The award winning clam chowder soup was the best I have ever tasted. The Fish Hopper specializes in fresh seafood and steaks. Local fresh seafood is caught and shipped in daily. In addition to enjoying a delicious meal, the experience was enhanced with a spectacular view of the bay and was topped with excellent customer service.
- Fisherman’s Wharf
The sailboats in the harbor were dotted all along the bay. Some boats were resting at the dock, their sails tightly secured around their masts. The others in the distance came to life gracefully with the wind catching their sails. Playful barking seals had popped up out of the water randomly. Unique shops were scattered along the boardwalk of Fisherman’s Wharf offering wares ranging from gifts and souvenirs to food and boat tours. Be sure to specify to the taxi driver which part of the Wharf you want to explore so that you can be dropped off and picked up at the appropriate area. (I waited for a long time for the taxi. When I called again, I found out they looked for me at the other end.) If you are driving, there is parking available at the Wharf.
- Sunset at Carmel Beach
What a breathtaking experience being at Carmel Beach during sunset. Kick off your shoes and descend the sandy hill while feeling the soft, white sand between your toes. Let the ocean waves wash across your feet on the shore. Be mesmerized by the sky as you see it painted with spectacular colors as the sun meets the horizon. People gather there at dusk every evening; some in their beach chairs, some around a campfire, and others splashing in the roaring waves of the ocean. Every seat is a premium spot whether on top of the hill or next to the shore (as long as you don’t mind climbing back up the hill when the sun goes down).
- The Monterey Movie Bus Tour
Did you ever want to be in the movies? Taking the Monterey Movie Bus Tour will feel like you are living your dream.
As you board the customized coach, you will see the seats monogrammed with the names of actors and actresses. Maybe you will sit in the Robert Redford or Marilyn Monroe seat; put on your headphones and enjoy the adventure.
The cameras are rolling, so to speak. Many movie scenes are captured that were actually filmed in the Bay area. Doug Lumsden makes it all come alive as he narrates each location while the movie scenes are playing on the screens, which are mounted inside the bus. You will get the behind the scenes scoop during your tour along 17-Mile Drive (a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula). “It’s one of the greatest drives in the world,” Doug said.
Doug is not just the bus driver; he is the founder, owner, and operator of Monterey Movie Tours. Doug is a pilot and originally started with a scenic flight tour, then they transitioned to the Monterey Bay Scenic Tours where the customized bus was created, which is now the Monterey Movie Tours.
Doug said, “We were asked to do a 30-year anniversary of the movie, Play Misty For Me. We did that tour. That tour launched our whole operation. We have the DVD on board with the clips from Universal Studios with added features. One of the added features was of Clint Eastwood interviewing Jessica Walton, who played Evelyn in the movie. We go to some of the sites where that movie was filmed. That one tour changed our whole operation. We saw how people enjoyed going to the sites where movies had been filmed. That was the catalyst that changed us into Monterey Movie Tours.”
This is a fun way to see the Monterey Bay area rain or shine. This tour gives you not only movie features, but also history about the ocean and local area. This is the take-away experience Doug would like people to have after his tour: “I want them to have an appreciation of the movies from earlier on and how good they are. After the tour, some people tell me when they go back home they are going to rent some of the movies and watch them again. It’s not always about the next film coming out at the theater. There are movies we have watched but have forgotten. When you watch them again they are still great. That is something maybe they would have not have done if they did not go on the tour.”
You never know what movie stars you may see while in Monterey Bay. Keep your eyes peeled for Clint Eastwood; he is a local in the area.
Thank you for allowing me to share my travel experience and the adventures I had in beautiful Monterey Bay, California. Whether you travel solo, with a friend, or as a family, this is a great adventure for all. Let me know what you liked best about the area and what other fun spots you discovered.
Author: Lori Bruton
Bio: Lori Bruton is a gentle and compassionate woman who was born and raised in Upstate New York. She has two grown sons. Kayaking, swimming, being by the water, reading, and writing are activities she enjoys. Travel, good food, music, dancing, and dark chocolate are more of her favorites.
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