What The Locals Know–Hot Spots For Young Families

The Monterey Peninsula is a favorite weekend destination for Bay Area families. The beaches, sunshine and beauty attract the parents, while the kid-friendly attractions motivate the kids. Here are a few local destinations that are favorites with young families.

Dennis The Menace Park is Monterey’s famous playground within El Estero Park and offers lots of fun places for young children.

Monterey Skate Park is a skateboard park for the older kids, also found within the El Estero Park complex. Parents can picnic within view of the skateboard park and keep an eye on the munchkins.

El Estero Lake is filled with bathing birds and paddle boats on sunny days. Rent a paddle boat for a 1/2 hour and we guarantee your legs will get a great workout!

Monterey Bay Aquarium is the major destination for most visitors on the Monterey Peninsula, and rightly so! It’s beautiful, educational, fun, and lots to see. Membership to the aquarium will help you get inside quicker and earn you discounts in the gift shops, so consider getting a membership if you visit Monterey often.

The Recreation Trail runs along the water’s edge through Pacific Grove, Monterey, Seaside, and all the way up to Marina. Between Lover’s Point and Fisherman’s Wharf is where most people are found riding rented bicycles and surreys.

Del Monte Beach is across Del Monte Blvd. from El Estero Lake. To find easy parking, pull into the paid parking lot at the corner of Del Monte Blvd. and Figueroa, right at the foot of the Commercial Wharf #2. Del Monte Beach is dog-friendly, offers lots of sand for sandcastle builders, and is a safe beach where small kids can run and play in the waves. Picnic areas are available, as are kayaks and paddle boards. If you visit Del Monte Beach, please make sure you pack all your trash, shoes, plastic toys and such so you don’t pollute the water. People forget that high-tide will sweep all that refuse into the water and it harms our sea life.

Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck, is a street filled with candy shops, restaurants, souvenirs, and holiday memories. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is at one end of Cannery Row, and San Carlos Beach park and the Coast Guard pier are at the other end. In between, at the corner of Prescott and Cannery Row, families will delight in yummy yogurt at MYO Yogurt. During summertime, you’ll see MYO’s brightly colored yogurt cups in everyone’s hands as they cruise around Cannery Row. Make sure you properly dispose of the yogurt cups and other refuse in the trash, however, so we don’t pollute our shores!

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is another top tourist destination after the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It’s from Fisherman’s Wharf where you can grab a bag of salt-water taffy or depart on a whale watching tour. Visit a gift shop or restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf, or head for the sea on a chartered sail boat. There’s lots of stuff to do at Fisherman’s Wharf, but remember that you’ll need to budget for parking, and higher food prices because of the stellar location. At the foot of Fisherman’s Wharf, check out the Custom House and take a history walk in downtown Monterey via Alvarado Street’s Portola Plaza.

Insider’s Tip: In summer, from May to September, ride the free trolley through town. It makes a loop from Fisherman’s Wharf and downtown to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and back. Click here for the map.

What The Locals Know–Where To Kayak

Kayaking on Monterey Bay is delightful! From shore, colorful kayaks add an accent of beautiful contrast against the backdrop of ocean blue and shoreline. There are many places to rent kayaks and stand-up paddle boards:

On the Monterey Peninsula, most kayakers stay close to shore between Del Monte Beach in Monterey by the Commercial Wharf, and Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove.

Moss Landing is another popular kayak spot because you have a large slough to play in. Moss Landing is home to many sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions, and many bird species, so don’t be afraid if a pack of sea mammals slowly follow you down the slough.

Canoeing and kayaking are supposed to be fun, but both can also be dangerous. Follow these tips to make sure the next paddle trip is a safe one.

  • Flotation is paramount to survival. Always carry a life jacket or life vest when paddling and more importantly, wear it.
  • Other essential equipment for paddlers:
  1. a whistle or air horn (whistles are easily attached to a life vest)
  2. abailing or bilge device for quickly emptying a swamped canoe or kayak, and
  3. a spare paddle in case the primary one is damaged or lost.
  • A paddle leash can help keep a paddle from being swept away in a strong current, but they should not be solely relied on or used in breaking surf conditions.
  • If you capsize, remain calm and stay close to the kayak.

Part of canoeing or kayaking is knowing personal limitations. This is why knowing proper paddling techniques like bracing or turning into a wave is so important. Canoes and kayaks can get swamped or capsized by unobservant motor boats, surf or bad weather. Knowing what to do in these situations is crucial.

Equally important is knowing how to perform a self-rescue. While it is advisable to always paddle with a friend or group of friends, bear in mind that they may lack the necessary skills to assist in a rescue or they may be involved in a crisis of their own when help is needed. Practice self-rescue in shallow water with the aid of a friend or find out when the local paddling club will be holding a kayak clinic.

Although a capsize scenario usually comes on suddenly, always try to maintain a grip on the paddle. Not only is it needed to direct the boat back to shore, but with the aid of a paddle float it can aid in re-entry into a kayak.

Tips for Planning a Float Trip

Research the area to be paddled, review local weather reports and find out what the local water levels or tides will be. Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia and dress for immersion. While it might be warm outside, water temperatures can vary drastically and hypothermia can set in quickly.

Always leave a float plan with a friend or loved one so that someone will know where to start looking if the group fails to return on time. Paddle with a friend or a group and make sure that cell phones are stored in a dry bag and safely secured inside of the boat. For extra security, consider investing in a personal emergency locator beacon as cell phones may not always be functional or in range of a signal.

Kayaking and canoeing can be fun and safe, with the proper precautions. Paddle safely and have fun doing it.

Read more at Suite101: Canoeing and Kayaking Safety Tips http://www.suite101.com/content/canoeing-and-kayaking-safety-tips-a269844#ixzz10J2yczNO

What The Locals Know–Off The Beaten Path

There are many treasures that locals know about that many tourists overlook. If you’re lucky enough to stay awhile and see more than the “must sees”, here are a few places to check out or things to do:

1. Kayak the Elkhorn Slough during the full moon.
2. Visit Tassajara in Carmel Valley.
3. Rent a kayak or bike down the rec trail right by the Monterey Plaza Hotel.
4. Visit Big Sur Bakery, grab a few pastries and drive 1/4 mile North up Hwy. 1 and turn left to go to Pfeiffer State Beach.
5. Visit Esalen south of Big Sur…but make sure you have a reservation!

Obviously there are more off-the-beaten-path places, but these should get you started for now. If you have a cool place to share, let us know and we’ll add it.

Cherry’s Jubilee coming to the Monterey Bay area!

The annual Cherry’s Jubilee, another great car weekend, will be held on the Monterey Peninsula on September 8 – 12, 2010. Venues dsc04649include Monterey, Pacific Grove, Salinas, and the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca. The event kicks off on Wednesday, September 8th, at Oldtown in Salinas, at the Passport to Cherry’s. Passport to Cherry’s is a hometown party for the whole family. It is a strolling food tasting event through charming Oldtown Salinas with over a dozen participating restaurants and great entertainment.

On Thursday and Friday, September 9th and 10th, enjoy the Monterey Waterfront. Show N’ Shine will be from 8 am to 11 pm on the wharf waterfront lot and on Alvarado Street, where spectators can come and view cherry cars and trucks. Restaurants and entertainment will just be steps away. Also on Thursday, Otis Auto Sales welcomes all to the Nostalgic Nights Show & Shine Official VIP kick off party for Cherry’s Jubilee from 9am until 9pm on the corner of Figueroa and Del Monte Avenue, with plenty of food and dsc04638vendors, including a DJ spinning those oldies but goodies that will have you singing and dancing in the street (parking lot).

Friday night there will be a cruise through downtown Monterey and the wharf waterfront from 5:00p.m. To 9:00 p.m. The cruise will head out of the wharf parking area, south on Figueroa Street and turn right on Pearl Street; it will go right again onto Alvarado and proceed through the wharf parking lot. Spectators are free. Friday night, September 10th, you may enjoy dsc04595dancing under the stars, as Fiesta Italia presents The Joe Sarino Band, one of the most popular dance bands in Northern California. From 7:00pm to 10:00pm at the Custom House Plaza in downtown Monterey, there is no admission charge. All of your favorite Italian foods and drinks will be sold on the plaza.

Saturday and Sunday, things heat up at Mazda Laguna Seca Recreation and Raceway. Show N’ Shine for all categories will begin each morning at 8am. For a real adrenalin rush, you may want to consider Hot Laps, on the Mazda Raceway corkscrew. For $30, Hot Laps participants are given the thrill of riding in a Porsche driven by a seasoned driver on the famous Laguna Seca track. All of the cars are safety equipped and tested for track driving and the drivers are certified. Hot Laps are Saturday starting at 9:00 a.m. Also at the Raceway will be a food court, manufacturer’s midway, car sale area, sports bar and official Cherry’s Jubilee memorabilia for sale as well.

Cherry’s Jubilee will also be in Pacific Grove for Saturday’s Show and Shine. Cherry’s Jubilee participants will cruise the shoreline and dsc04594charming, cottage-lined streets of this Victorian-era resort town and park their pride and joy on Lighthouse Avenue in downtown PG. Local restaurants and other downtown businesses invite you to enjoy a relaxed, Saturday afternoon experience with your family and friends.

Cannery Row is Cherry’s destination on Saturday night starting at 5pm, Cherry’s cars will be parked on Cannery Row from Drake Street to David Avenue and in the El Torito parking lot. Cannery Row will be closed to all traffic beginning at 3pm. There is plenty of food, fun, music and cars on the evening’s agenda, and “Restaurant Row” has something for every car lover. The pubs and clubs will be rockin’ with live music.

An exciting way to wind up the weekend is with the Cherry’s Jubilee Pancake Breakfast. Pancakes are tossed from a flatbed truck to the hungry crowd. Diners listen to oldies played by a DJ as they gobble up pancakes tossed hot off the griddle by their servers. Eat as many as you can catch or, if you are not the “Frisbee” type, you may serve yourself, buffet style. The pancake breakfast is followed by the awards ceremony.

Monterey Bay Property Management welcomes all Cherry’s Jubilee participants and spectators. If you need an accommodation with a garage for your special vehicle, please ask the reservation agent to insure that the house or condo you book includes that amenity.

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