Hubby and I were actually supposed to have moved away from California by now. But things happened, plans changed, and to our delight we will be here for a while more. If it was up to us, we would stay forever. Now, we consider ourselves quite good at taking advantage of our free time. On weekends when hubby is home we will almost always be on the road off to explore our beautiful state; but even so, there is just so much we haven’t seen yet. That’s what I love about this place.
Today I am sharing one of our favorite areas of California: Monterey county. We’ve been here a handful of times and keep going back because there’s so much left to see, as well as places we want to revisit (check out my last post about my Top 10 Things to Do in Big Sur + Monterey). This time around we patted ourselves on the back for remembering to bring two camera bodies. We wanted to be able to take photos at the same time because this place is a photography dreamland, everything is just so inspiring. Thanks to See Monterey for giving us the chance to go back and enjoy the area in a different way each time. Last time we had an outdoor adventure, hiking and camping. This time we had a relaxing vacation, enjoying the scenery and resorts. Check out their website for all your travel needs. They have a wealth of info for Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley, Salinas Valley, Moss Landing, Marina, Sand City, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, and Salinas.
If you have a weekend free to explore Monterey county, read on for my itinerary tips, check out See Monterey for more in-depth info, and find out how to win your own Monterey trip!!
Saturday: Left in the morning and drove to downtown Monterey for lunch at Caffe Trieste (my favorite spaghetti marinara). Continued down the coast to Big Sur, stopping near Bixby Bridge for some photos. We tried to find a camping spot at Big Sur Campgrounds but it was full of heroic firefighters, so we didn’t feel too bad about not getting a spot. Spent the afternoon at Pfeiffer Beach where we watched the sun set, then moved on to McWay Falls to enjoy the view and capture some milky way shots. Afterwards drove back up to Monterey to spend the night.
*Tips: Pfeiffer Beach is a couple miles from the main road. They will tell you before you drive in whether the lot is full or not, and if you can get in it costs $10. If not, it’s possible to park on the side of the road and walk, but it’s quite a trek. I recommend just waiting a few minutes until you see some cars come out and trying again (worked for us).
Sunday: Went for takeout at The Breakfast Club (delish) and took it to Del Monte Beach to enjoy. Then made our way to Bernardus Lodge & Spa in Carmel Valley where we relaxed for the rest of our weekend. Couldn’t say enough about this resort, it was stunning in every way. We explored their vineyards, gardens, croquet lawn, and pools, and tasted the vast array of complimentary treats in our room. Think yummy brie with baguette crisps, toffee chocolates, drinks, etc. We then went for a quick gym session before heading to the spa locker room. There we spent some time in the sauna and eucalyptus steam rooms, showered, and then relaxed in bathrobes at one of the pools. Afterwards we prepped for dinner at their Lucia Restaurant, which was the best dinner I’ve had in a long time. It was just lovely from the food to the service. Even if you don’t stay at the resort, try to get a reservation at the restaurant. We meant to stop at the communal campfire afterwards but ended up going back to our room where hubby soaked in the tub and I relaxed the rest of the night.
*Tips: We went to Del Monte Beach because there was plenty of parking to be had there on the residential streets. And we booked with Bernardus because it was one of AMEX’s Fine Hotels & Resorts. By booking with hubby’s AMEX Platinum we received $100 in dining credit, $60 towards breakfast, and a room upgrade, among other benefits.
Monday: Slept in, enjoyed breakfast in bed, and drove home feeling very refreshed.
Hope my itinerary and tips were helpful for your future Monterey county travel plans! Now check out our photos below and find out how to win a trip thanks to See Monterey:
They will be giving away (1) complete trip package that includes 2 nights at Monterey Tides, 2 tickets to the Monterey Aquarium, and a wine blending at Joullian Vineyards. All you have to do is comment on this post! They will randomly choose a winner from the comments, so make sure your comment either links back to a profile with contact info, or include a social media account or email in your comment. (Last time one of my commenters won but left no contact information!) Good luck guys! And remember to tag #SeeMonterey when you visit!