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Sand In Your Shoes

The entire length of Cannery Row runs parallel to the coastline of the Monterey Bay, which means you’re never more than a few minutes from the water. This might be why Coastal Living magazine recently named Monterey as the “Happiest Seaside Town in California.” There are so many ways to enjoy the bay that it would be a shame if you didn’t try to tear yourself away from the shops and restaurants to get in some quality time with the Pacific. These are our top eight ways to get some sand (and some saltwater) in your shoes:

1. Take a Cannery Row kayak tour
Kayaking is hands down one of the best ways to see the bay. You can rent kayaks and paddle out on your own or book a Cannery Row Kayak Tour at Adventures by the Sea. The tour starts in the heart of the Cannery Row kelp forests and offers some up-close views of marine wildlife. You’re almost guaranteed to see otters, harbor seals and/or sea lions on this tour.

2. Scuba dive at San Carlos State Beach
San Carlos State Beach is located at the end of Cannery Row and is a popular launching point for scuba divers, as well as a peaceful place to relax in the beautifully landscaped green area. If you’ve always wanted to scuba dive, this is a great place to learn due to its clear sandy bottom and abundance of sea life.

3. Picnic at McAbee Beach
Stop in the shops for snacks, ice cream or clam chowder, and bring it down to McAbee Beach for a picnic with a view. This little beach is a family favorite due to its soft sand and beautiful sea glass that washes ashore. It’s dog friendly too, so bring the whole family out for a fun picnic in the sun.

4. Watch whales from the shore
California is one of the few places in the world where you can observe whales year-round, and there’s no better place to do it than the Monterey coast. On Cannery Row, you can spot whales offshore with the naked eye due to the great depth of the Monterey Submarine Canyon, which allows several different species of whales to come especially close to the shore to feed. April to mid-December is best for humpback and blue whales, and mid-December to March is best for dolphins and grey whales.

5. Go tide pooling
If you’re fascinated with marine life but don’t want to get soaked, check out the tide pools at McAbee Beach under the pier of The Fish Hopper restaurant. Be sure to check online first to find the times for low tide. Look for living sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, anemone, algae, barnacles, spider crabs and other fascinating plants and animals that live in this rugged natural landscape.

6. Ride bikes along the coast
The Monterey Peninsula Recreation Trail follows the shoreline above Cannery Row and winds along the coast to Lover’s Point where a bike lane picks up along the Pacific Grove coastline. If you didn’t bring a bicycle, you can rent a variety of different bikes at Adventures by the Sea, including cruisers, mountain bikes, tandems and hybrids. Paths and bike lanes vary in difficulty from beginner to intermediate, depending on how far you ride.

7. Explore the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary
The Monterey Bay is home to one of the nation’s largest marine sanctuaries, larger than Yellowstone and deeper than the Grand Canyon. It contains one of the largest kelp forests in the United States and harbors an impressive variety of marine life, including 34 species of marine mammals, 180 species of birds and more than 525 species of fishes. There are a variety of ways to enjoy this “Serengeti of the sea,” including diving, whale watching, tide pooling, fishing, boating and exploring local beaches.

8. Paddleboard the bay
If you’ve ever wanted to walk on water, this is about as close as you can get. You can rent stand-up paddleboards at Adventures by the Sea and even take lessons to help you get your sea legs. Young or old, this is an invigorating and enjoyable way to experience the bay in a whole new way.

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Event Calendar

In addition to the views, attractions, pubs and restaurants, Cannery Row hosts several exciting events throughout the year guaranteed to be fun for the whole family.

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Fire Pits

Two of nature’s most mesmerizing elements—ocean and fire—come together in Cannery Row in a beautiful way at these four fire pits you don’t want to miss. The Monterey Bay’s moderate climate makes the Row an ideal place to cozy up next to a warm fire while you savor the sights and sounds of the ocean.

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Fun and Games

When you think of Cannery Row, you probably don’t picture blacklights, billiards, mazes and lasers. If this is true, then you’ve been missing out. Beyond the shopping, eating and ocean, there are activities galore to keep the whole crew occupied.

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Small Bites

Cannery Row is home to over 25 different restaurants, but don’t be intimidated by all the options. Instead view it as an opportunity to embrace variety by trying small bites at several different spots.

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Wine Tasting

Cannery Row wine tasting offers the ultimate California experience, bringing together the tastes of wine country with the beauty of the bay. Monterey County boasts over 39,000 acres of wine grapes, almost half of which are devoted to its award-winning Chardonnay grape. Here you can taste an impressive variety of this regal grape, from those with bright tropical flavors to fuller, more buttery notes.

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From Grape to Glass

With nine appellations nurturing a variety of grapes, and more than 60 tasting rooms welcoming guests, Monterey County is a destination popular with both winemakers and wine drinkers.

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Marine Wonders on Cannery Row

Wildlife watchers will find a surprising array of animals and aquatic plant life on Cannery Row, ranging from marine mammals to stunning seabirds to captivating kelp beds.

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Covering All the Bases

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Spring Fun for Families

Parents will find plenty of kid-friendly activities and entertainment on Cannery Row, from cool museums to quirky shops to recreational options for the whole family. Whether you’re traveling with tots or teenagers, options abound. Start outlining your itinerary with these family-friendly highlights.

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Active Endeavors

With a scenic waterfront location, convenient trail access and spas catering to sports-minded individuals, Cannery Row makes a great home base for active travelers. Here are five can’t-miss athletic endeavors to try this season.

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A Fresh Start for Spring

Spring is the season of new beginnings. It’s also a great time to slow down, simplify and spend time with loved ones. With luxurious waterfront inns and dynamic shopping, dining and cultural attractions, Cannery Row makes a memorable destination for weekend adventures.

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Premium Cigars

Cigars and cigar smoking have come a long way since explorer Christopher Columbus and his men discovered the natives of Hispaniola smoking rolled up sticks of tobacco in the 1490s.

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Exotics on Exhibit

Every August, Monterey Car Week brings some of the world’s most stunning automobiles to the Monterey Peninsula. As part of the gathering, Cannery Row hosts rare super, hyper and exotic cars during the annual Exotics on Cannery Row event. Guests can mingle with drivers and view one-of-a-kind vehicles modified for power and performance – plus, the Cannery Row festivities are free to the public.  

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Savor the Season

Monterey County is known for its fresh-caught seafood and produce straight from the nearby Salinas Valley, known as “the Salad Bowl of the World.” The region’s verdant valleys and sun-drenched hillsides also nurture grapes pressed into award-winning reds and whites known nationwide.

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Pokémon Go Cannery Row Map

Catch 'em all on Cannery Row with this map of Pokémon Go Gyms and PokéStops.

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Simple Summer Wellness

For many of us, summer means busy social calendars and extra trips to the ice cream parlor on hot days – it’s easy to take a break from healthy habits this time of year. And, heading off on vacation makes staying on track even tougher.

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Instagramming on Cannery Row

With a prime Monterey Bay setting and unique architectural highlights from the area’s once-thriving sardine canning industry, Cannery Row promises photo opportunities unlike any others in Monterey. To capture compelling, share-worthy shots, grab your phone, follow this Instagram guide to Cannery Row and start brainstorming your best hashtags.

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Monterey for Millennials

Monterey is known for its rich history and small-town charm, which might not sound like a major draw for trendy young travelers. But, Cannery Row brings together buzz-worthy food and fun in a lively, walkable setting – think craft beer, local wines, seasonal fare and hip boutiques, plus popular activities like stand-up paddling and cycling.

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Cool Coastal Escapes

When the temperatures top 100 in California’s Central Valley and around the country, coastal Monterey offers a cool, convenient alternative. Plan your escape with these beat-the-heat itineraries, and then make the short drive over the mountains to Cannery Row.

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An Anniversary Toast

Early in October, 48 years ago, two friends flipped on the lights of a restaurant they established in a then-neglected Monterey neighborhood. Though Cannery Row’s fishing industry had collapsed, the pair saw opportunity in the district’s empty processing plants and workers’ cabins.

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Americana on Cannery Row

You’ll find all the patriotic gear and goods you need on Cannery Row, along with ocean view hotels and restaurants to call home base. Prepare for the fireworks!

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Giving Thanks

The holidays are an ideal time to gather family and friends for a celebration of all that’s truly important. Cannery Row restaurants take the fuss out of these get-togethers, offering menus and settings to suit any taste. Whether you’re planning an intimate, white-tablecloth dinner for two, or a casual buffet for a large group, you’ll find affordable and unique alternatives that can be tailored to your specific needs. Need some inspiration? Start planning your party here.

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Monterey for Movie Lovers

A dramatic coastline, historically significant structures and bustling atmosphere have earned Cannery Row a starring role in several major motion pictures – and, those features also make it a star-studded destination when the cameras aren’t rolling. The district’s renowned attractions draw an A-list crowd that includes actors, artists, athletes and international leaders. Lucky visitors can explore many of Cannery Row’s silver screen connections any day of the year.

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Become a Cigar Aficionado at The Humidor

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Shop Small on Cannery Row

When it comes to buying gifts, small businesses are a big draw. Here are just a few great places to shop small with locally based retailers on Cannery Row.

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Snack Attack

With so many activities, attractions and shops along Cannery Row, it’s easy to work up an appetite while exploring. And, given that there’s so much to see and do, it’s important to stay fueled up for adventure. Plan your day around quick stops at Cannery Row’s casual cafes and snack shops with this at-a-glance guide.

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The Buzz About “Bleisure”

On Cannery Row, bleisure is more than a buzzword. With waterfront wine tasting, one-of-a-kind restaurants and upscale resorts that double as serious event venues and serene retreats, planners will find plenty of enticing options here. Make the most of a business trip by booking time at these places that embrace both work and play.

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Winemaker for a day

Tasting wine is one thing, but why stop there? As producers in some of the country’s premier grape-growing regions unveil custom wine blending classes for both casual fans and seasoned enthusiasts, one business is bringing that trend to Cannery Row.

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Celebrating Steinbeck

Pulitzer Prize-winner and Nobel laureate John Steinbeck was born on February 27, 1902, in the Monterey County city of Salinas. While the region’s sprawling countryside inspired Steinbeck’s agricultural tales, his observations on the local fishing industry – and Monterey’s canneries, in particular – informed some of his most famous characters.

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Snowless Winter Weekends

While some people wait all year for snowflakes, ski trips and ice skating, not everyone feels like bundling up for winter weather. Cannery Row offers a snow-free alternative to the traditional winter getaway, complete with mild temperatures and walkable activities for all tastes.

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Relaxation Resolutions

Whether you’re planning a long weekend getaway or a quick afternoon escape, Cannery Row’s resorts and spas offer a range of treatments and accommodations designed to ease stress and help you relax.

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New Faces on Cannery Row

This year, Cannery Row welcomes several new businesses to the district. Joining the neighborhood’s already enticing mix of dining, retail and entertainment venues in recent months are seven can’t-miss newcomers.

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A Sanctuary Celebration

Twenty-five years ago, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary received federal designation under the authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The country’s 11th national marine sanctuary is one of its largest, covering an area that’s bigger than Yosemite National Park. It was recognized—both then and now—for its biological richness, rare habitats, threatened species and other cultural relics.

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Authentic Experiences

In just a few short years, digital access has reshaped how we travel. It’s now easy to compare hotel rates, book rooms, make dinner reservations and purchase museum tickets with just a few taps on the tablet. On the road, we can check in, snap photos and share updates directly from our smartphones.

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Essential Spring Adventures

With warmer temperatures and sunlight that lingers longer each day, spring is the time for outdoor fun. Monterey’s lush parks, pretty trails, rocky shores and white sand beaches make adventures here even more appealing. From easy walks to intense marathons, low-key surrey rides to steep mountain bike paths, beginner kayak trips to technical sailing outings, it’s all here on the California coast.

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Family Journeys

As parents outline upcoming spring break adventures, many will look to maximize those days off—both economically, and in terms of educational impact for young students. When it comes to making family travel plans, what other factors influence the decision-making process?

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What’s Trending: Wellness

Looking for a little personal renewal this season? Schedule some spring refreshment in the form of a pampering spa treatment. Luxury Travel Magazine surveyed spa experts at several top American resorts, discussing what’s new and what’s in demand now, and the results include a wave of innovative wellness offerings: treatments tailored to an individual’s needs, farm-to-table spa products, mind-body balance, and unique combinations of adventure and relaxation, just to name a few.

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Fighting Vacation Inertia

Summer remains the traditional time for vacations, but are American workers taking advantage of those long, sunny days?

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Going Solo

In our always-on, always-connected world, traveling solo generates a host of unique benefits. Whether you’re a busy professional in need of some solitude, or a student looking for new perspectives on the world around you, the experience of going it alone can enrich your life in many meaningful ways.

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Food Comes First

It’s no secret that food plays a major role in travel planning. After all, who isn’t inspired by the idea of a weekend in wine country, a pasta-tasting journey through Italy or an overnight stay at a farmstead inn, complete with fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast?

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Travel Trends: Boomers

A full 99 percent of Baby Boomers expect to schedule at least one leisure trip this year, according to a recent survey by AARP researchers, and much of that travel will take place this summer. What are these individuals looking for as they vacation?

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All in Good Taste

When Cigar Aficionado writer Fredric Hamber recently visited Monterey, he ticked through a list of the “trappings of the good life” available to Monterey Peninsula residents and guests. From international auto events, to a storied jazz festival celebrating 60 years, to top-rated golf courses, there’s no shortage of luxurious delights in this waterfront destination.

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