monterey asilomar beach
Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove is the western tip of Monterey Peninsula. A recreation trail (walking and biking) extends all the way from Monterey to Asilomar and around the peninsula. The town of Pacific Grove, centered in Lighthouse and Central Avenues has cafes, restaurants, bakeries and markets. Pacific Grove is our favorite spot for a vacation rental in the Monterey area.

Lover's Point Beach and Park - Play in the white sand cove (bring your sand toys) or go boogie boarding, kayaking and surfing (kayaks, boards available for rent). Rent bikes and bike all the way to Cannery Row or out to Asilomar Beach.
Bring a picnic or pick up lunch at the snack bar, sit out on the grass in the park with gorgeous views of the bay.
Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary (250 Ridge Rd.) - November through February, kids will enjoy a stop at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary to see scads of monarch butterflies, hanging out in Monterey pine and eucalyptus trees.
Tip: Bring binoculars, butterflies may be high up in the trees. Also, in cold mornings, monarch clusters are folded up in the trees. Later when it warms up, butterflies open wings to sun on the leaves and fly around.
Grove is free, open sunrise to sunset daily.
Pacific Grove Natural History Museum -
Out front of the museum is a full-size sculpture of "Sandy," a gray whale kids can climb all over. Inside, discover the abundance of wildlife and marine life in Monterey County - this museum is a gem!
Highlight of the museum is the "Wonder Room" - drawers to open (okay to touch), filled with gleaming rocks, sharks teeth and colorful shells, there are collections of butterflies, fossils, bright beetles, Native American artifacts, things to look at under a microscope, pencils and paper in abalone shells to draw what you see.
Near the entrance is an exhibit about monarch butterflies, learn about butterfly life cycle, and migration in fall and spring.
Outdoors is a garden of trees and plants native to the area, also pollinator plants for monarch butterflies.
Museum is closed Monday and Tuesday, located at 165 Forest Ave.
Tip: Across from the museum is Jewel Park, grass to run around and picnic tables .
Caledonia Park - Large grassy park with playground slides, swings, and climbing structures, restrooms, picnic tables.
Asilomar State Beach - This is a one mile stretch of flat sandy beach ( fly kites ) and tide pools .
In tide pools, look for bright orange and black turban snails, green sea anemones, limpets, barnacles, sea urchins. starfish.
In the water, look for sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters, dolphins, pelicans. Or you can just sit and watch the waves break, totally mesmerizing. Bring binoculars for gray whale watching (December to April).
Point Pinos Lighthouse - This lighthouse has been flashing its light since 1855, and is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast. Inside the lighthouse, kids can see what the lighthouse keeper's parlor, kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping quarters (one lighthouse keeper was a woman, who tended the lighthouse for over 20 years), plus exhibits about lenses and guarding the Monterey coast.
Farmers Market - Every Monday, 3pm - 7pm, at Central and Grand Ave. in Pacific Grove. Fresh fruits (strawberries and artichokes are grown in Watsonville)and vegetables, nuts, grown by local farmers in the area, plus rice bowls and other takeout food.