Things to Do in Monterey California

One of the joys of exploring the outdoors is enjoying it through your partner's eyes. Every year my husband gets giddy as a schoolboy in anticipation of Quail Lodge's Motorcycle Gathering. It's an epic event with hundreds of high-end and custom motorcycles. I'm always game to tag along, especially because it takes place in the bucolic Carmel Valley in Monterey County, where there's plenty to do before and after the bike show! Here's a rundown of my favorite Monterey activities and spots to check out.

5 things to do in Monterey, California: 

1. Hike the Garland Ranch Regional Park

Garland Ranch Regional Park offers a really pleasant hike no matter which path you take. It starts out crossing a lovely footbridge over the Carmel Valley River. Then you've got your choice of easy or challenging hikes. See an abandoned barn, pass through a field of wildflowers, hike up to a waterfall - endless options in this 4,462-acre park.

2. Play bocce ball in serious style

After one wine glass too many at Bernardus Lodge's gorgeous bar we took to the courtyard and challenged each other to a bocce ball game. The beauty of this outdoor game is that practically anyone can be good at it. Just toss!

For the record, I won 3 to 2.

For the record, I won 3 to 2.

3. Relax at an epic pool playground

Refuge is a fabulous day spa overlooking pastoral Carmel Valley below. If relaxation for the mind and body is what you seek the experience found here is truly unique. Enjoy the large wood sauna, the eucalyptus steam room, 10 mineral pools of varying temperatures some with waterfalls, fire pits, all in a serene outdoor environment. They have the ultimate relaxation ritual where you first heat up in a sauna, steam room or heated pool; next cool down in an icy pool; finally, relax in a luxe bathrobe in one of their anti-gravity chairs.

4. Take a sunset drive

Nothing beats a winding road and a gorgeous view. I love the twisty county road off W Carmel Valley Road - head up to the hills on Laureles Grade. You'll realize that few places inspire you to make the most of every moment like Monterey.

Now that's a valley!

Now that's a valley!

5. Find a festival or local event

Every time I visit, there's another really interesting and unique event in Monterey. In Carmel Valley this summer you can choose from an Artichoke Festival where, by all appearances, they're REALLY into the artichoke. You'll find artichoke cooking demos, artichoke-themed art, and an artichoke parade! Check it out June 4-5, 2016. Or, see if you can taste all 80 beers at this summer's Monterey Beer Festival on June 11th. Maybe bacon's more your thing? Then pig out at the Monterey BaconFest! The weekend event also includes plenty of live music and a “Best of Bacon” competition - June 24-26th.

Ready to get going and get to Monterey? Here's an incentive...

The fine people over at See Monterey will be giving away 5 pairs of tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium! To enter simply comment on this blog story. See Monterey will be selecting the top 5 comments to determine the winner. Tickets to expire 7/31/16. Explore more moments and plan your getaway today!

Today’s post is sponsored by See Monterey, but my love for Monterey County is all my own! #GrabYourMoment #Monterey