The Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club is very active and you can see sailboats on the water on most sunny days. The MPYC hosts several sail boat races–mostly Sundays on a weekly basis–and it’s a delight for participants and spectators alike. Wednesday is a popular sailing day, but races are not typically held mid-week.
The race schedule can be found at the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club’s website. Most races begin at 1:00 PM and end by 5:00 PM. Spectators can get good views anywhere along the Recreation Trail, but here are some local places where you can get the best views from shore.
Sapporo Restaurant is a local favorite for teppan-yaki and sushi yummies. The restaurant is located upstairs and is right next door to the Monterey Peninsula Yacht Club, located at the Commercial Wharf #2, at the corner of Del Monte Blvd. and Figueroa in Monterey. You’ll find ample paid parking close by.
Del Monte Beach is where you can take a stroll and see all the sailing action without any obstructed views.
Find a bench along the Recreation Trail anywhere from San Carlos Beach park (but the Coast Guard pier can block your view) up to Fisherman’s Wharf.
If you don’t mind seeing the boats from a distance, but want a bigger picture overview, drive up the hill and into the New Monterey neighborhood. You can get pretty good views from the corners of Belden and Dickman, Belden and Hoffman, and Belden and Prescott. The further up you go, more panoramic views will be found. Be mindful of locals walking their dogs and all the stop signs. You don’t want your sightseeing of the water to become dangerous for the locals.
Many tourists are in a rush and don’t get a chance to enjoy the full extent of the recreation trail that extends from Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove to Marina. Due to most foot traffic staying between the American Tin Cannery and Fisherman’s Wharf, a lot of beautiful views are overlooked.
I live in New Monterey, the neighborhood just up the hill from Cannery Row. I often walk down the hill and turn right toward Fisherman’s Wharf so I can have a nice, long walk to Del Monte Beach, which is north of the Commercial Wharf.
My favorite time of year is between April through June when the sea lion pups are newly born and they hang out by the docks and shore-lining rocks. They can be a little stinky (and what baby isn’t stinky at times?) but they’re so darned cute! Hearing them vocalize and bark is so much fun.
I love the change of scenery along the rec trail. I start my walk from the hill, where the view can extend out over the blue water all they way to Moss Landing…or on a really clear day…Santa Cruz. On cloudier days, I’m satisfied looking out over the old buildings of Cannery Row.
As I head north on the rec trail from Cannery Row, I see the grassy park and Coast Guard pier of San Carlos Beach. Sometimes I’ll walk out to the end of the pier to see the snoozing and/or barking sea lions.
I then proceed north toward Fisherman’s Wharf and enjoy the view of the fun houseboats moored out in the water, right next to the colorful buildings along Fisherman’s Wharf.
Once I hit the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf, I look over at the Custom House and think about all the history that building has seen over the centuries.
I continue north down the rec trail and hear the tourists beeping their horns as they go through the tunnel. Yes, we know you’re a tourist when you honk your horn. Only tourists do that…all summer long…and it drives some of us locals a little crazy.
After the rec trail delivers me safely around the Fisherman’s Wharf parking lot, I can then visit the Commercial Wharf. If I want to check in with the commercial fisherman, I’ll walk down the wharf and see their haul. Squid season tends to be the most spectacular time of year because the boats are out on the water all night long with their lights on to attract the squid. This gives those of us up on the hill a wonderful boat light show.
Having my fill of the Commercial Wharf, I then step onto the sand of Del Monte Beach, right by the aqua-colored Adventures By The Sea building. Once my toes hit the sand, my senses are more keen to hear the sounds of the waves and smell the sea mist. I have walked as far as the Monterey Dunes Beach Resort on days where I want to walk about 4 – 5 miles.
For those with bicycles, or longer legs, you can continue all the way down the rec trail to Marina. You can see the rec trail as you drive down Highway 1, and I love seeing folks ride their bikes or walk their dogs.
The rec trail is a Monterey Peninsula treasure, and it has made our area rank high on the “city walkability” scale. Our rec trail has consistently been a site for many marriage proposals. I, for one, was just recently proposed to by my honey after a nice walk down the rec trail where he got down on bended knee on the beach at Lover’s Point.
Imagine that…the rec trail is just as romantic as it is healthy, beautiful, dog- and family-friendly…and that’s pretty special.