Looking for a kid friendly day trip idea out of San Francisco? Escape the cities notorious fog for a sunnier day in Monterey (depending on what time of year you go). It’s about a 2 hour drive south HWY 101 and that’s if you leave early. It’s so important to avoid rush hour traffic going and coming or that’s 4 hours down the drain and I’m talking about one way. And since we’re talking Day Trips – you’ll want to get there as early as possible.
Here are 6 things you can do with kids on a day trip to Monterey.
1. Monterey Bay Aquarium
What kid (or adult) doesn’t love a good aquarium. Monterey Bay Aquarium is considered one of the best aquariums on the West Coast. And the best in California. It’s big enough to explore for a whole day without getting bored. And the exhibits are always changing. We got a membership this past year and we were able to visit 3 times. So worth it. There’s a whole side dedicated to kid-friendly exhibits and activities. The aquarium doesn’t open till 9:30 or 10 AM the latest.
2. Walk Cannery Row
Before getting your car after the aquarium, take a walk down Cannery Row. There’s a lot of cute little shops and restaurants. Keep walking down till you get to a little area known as Pebble Beach Outlets. In between the retail shops and some restaurants is a little beach accessible down some stairs. If the sun is out and the wind isn’t too strong then take a leisurely stroll around in and out all the stores. My kids and I enjoyed this last time. They especially loved the Candy Land store.
3. Eat or Grab Dessert
You have so many restaurants to choose from although anything on Cannery Row is on the $$$ side. But you’re on vacation, so enjoy yourself. Stop by Nestle Toll House Cafe for a delicious treat with the family. Or you can take it to go and eat outdoors at #4 on the list.
4. Lovers Point
Drive a couple of minutes away to Lovers Point. Park and enjoy the view. There’s a large grass area for the kids and rocks to climb. If you’re on a budget, why not grab something from the grocery and spread a blanket for an impromptu picnic?
5. Fisherman’s Wharf
Walk around the historic Fisherman’s Wharf with the kids. If you arrived too early for the aquarium or looking for another option to wind down the day and grab a meal – go here!
6. Playground or Beach
End your day on a playground or beach. There are lots to choose from. My favorite is Dennis the Menace Park. Only recently did I take my kids to this fun playground. I’ve always passed by on my way to the aquarium curious about this busy looking park surrounded by a lake (you can even rent paddle boats). I’m happy my curiosity got the best of me. The sun was setting, weather beautiful and was a great way for the kids to get out all of their energy before strapping them into the car. Then get ready for that long drive back to San Francisco where you will most likely encounter some traffic.
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