Whether we are looking to exercise while on Christmas vacation, or whether we’re planning on making regular exercise as part of our New Year’s Resolutions, there are plenty of places to exercise on the Monterey Peninsula.
In-Shape is a fairly new health club chain that has opened 2 locations in the Monterey Peninsula. The Monterey facility is located at 2370 Fremont Street, Monterey, CA 93940-5407 (831) 333-1835. The Pacific Grove facility is located at 1146 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, (831) 649-2348. Call each facility for daily operating hours.
Monterey Sports Center is city-owned and -operated by the City of Monterey. It’s beautiful and very affordable for drop-in, out-of-town guests, and it has a large pool area, cardio room, basketball court, weight room, exercise classes, and well-tended locker rooms. Monterey Sports Center is located in downtown Monterey at 301 East Franklin Street, Monterey, CA 93940-3044, (831) 646-3730. Call for daily operating hours.
The Recreation Trail is a very popular destination for walkers, runners, and bikers, for this coastal trail offers gorgeous views of the Monterey Bay. The Rec Trail goes all the way from Asilomar State Beach to Marina, so you have plenty of entry and exit points from which to choose. Just park somewhere near the water’s edge and start your nice, long stroll.
El Estero Park has many areas of diversion for the whole family. From walking around or paddle boating within El Estero Lake, to playing with the little ones in Dennis the Menace Park…from picnicking by the lake to skateboarding in a safety zone, El Estero Park is a popular family destination.
Monterey County’s Beaches are lovely and there’s something for everyone. Get close to the sea lions at the Coast Guard Pier at San Carlos Beach at the foot of Cannery Row in Monterey. Take a nice, long beach walk and dream of owning your own condo on Del Monte Beach. Surf or body board the beaches in Seaside, but be careful of the strong current. Paragliders and kite aficionados can be found along the windy shores of Marina’s beaches. They’re all lovely and they all beckon you to come over for a visit.
The golf course at the end of Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove is known as the Pacific Grove Golf Links, and it’s an incredible bargain considering its location by the ocean. Rated as one of the best golf courses under $50, it’s a must-see for golfers who don’t want to pay the higher rates at Pebble Beach.
Scuba Diving is very popular around Monterey Bay, due to the fact that it’s a national marine reserve. If you’re okay with diving in cool water temperatures from 50 – 55 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll love this region of gorgeous dives. Popular dive sites include Breakwater at San Carlos Beach for diving newbies, right by the Coast Guard Pier in Monday; night diving at Lovers Point in Pacific Grove; and doing the “Monastery Crawl” at Monastery Beach in Carmel–which can be extremely dangerous and is known by locals as Mortuary Beach. The BEST diving can be found at Point Lobos in Carmel, but you’ll need to make reservations, for they only allow 15 dive teams per day. Be warned, diving here is splendid, but DO NOT dive in poor diving conditions…regardless of how far you’ve traveled to dive here. Dive smart!
Kayaking is tremendous fun and a great way to get some exercise on the water. You can kayak out in Monterey Bay, or go inland down Elkhorn Slough by Moss Landing. Either way, you are very likely to pull up close to sea birds, otters, sea lions, harbor seals, jellyfish, kelp, and fellow kayakers.
Paddle Boarding is a pretty cool new sport where a person stands up on a surf board and paddles around. Paddle boarders get ripped abs and arms and say that it’s pretty easy once you’ve mastered balancing on the surf board. There’s even a local paddle boarder who takes his dog along for a ride on the board. So cool! Paddle boarding lessons are available at Adventures By The Sea and gear is available at Monterey Bay Kayaks.
Bicycling is fun for all ages and there are plenty of places to bicycle around the Monterey Peninsula. There are plenty of places to rent a bike if you don’t have your own, and the types of bike rides to choose from are endless. Here is a link to several bike routes around town. For novice bikers, choose the Recreation Trail. For diehard mountain bikers, try some of the tougher trails up in the hills. Just be careful of cars when you’re sharing the road–especially around blind corners or narrow mountain roadways.
Thanksgiving, our delightfully gut-busting national holiday is around the corner, and for a few, that means a terrifying experience in the kitchen. Not everyone has what it takes to prepare a large feast that tastes great and hasn’t gone cold before reaching the dinner table. That’s why a brave few choose to opt out of cooking during this Thanksgiving holiday and find a yummy turkey dinner at a local restaurant.
Not all restaurants are open on Thanksgiving, but here are a few worth mentioning:
Whole Foods: If you are staying in one of the lovely vacation rentals offered by Monterey Bay Property Management and want to have Thanksgiving Dinner within your rental, you may want to reserve a fully prepared Thanksgiving Meal from Whole Foods. It’ll be an easy solution that will allow you to celebrate Thanksgiving at “home”. Whole Foods is located in Monterey.
Asilomar Conference Grounds: Offering a Thanksgiving Package that includes Thanksgiving dinner. Asilomar is located in Pacific Grove.
Il Fornaio: The Italian eatery located at the NE Corner of Ocean and Lincoln Avenues in Carmel is offering Thanksgiving Dinner, and reservations are required.
Fresh Cream: With it’s French-inspired California cuisine, located at the NW Corner of Dolores and 8th Avenues in Carmel, just published its Thanksgiving Dinner menu. The menu makes our mouths water with their descriptions of roasted butternut squash soup, oven roasted turkey, sweet potato puree, savory bread pudding stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Wow! Make a reservation at Fresh Cream by contacting 831-250-7943 or email@example.com.
Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa: Offering a 4-course Thanksgiving Dinner from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM in their Duck Club Grill. The Duck Club Grill is in side the Monterey Plaza Hotel on Cannery Row in Monterey.
Cannery Row Brewing Company: Offering Thanksgiving Dinner and beer. They’re new, so it might be worth checking out their Thanksgiving Day efforts. Call 831-643-2722 for details.
Fandango Restaurant: Offering a special Thanksgiving Day menu. Contact them for reservations at 831-372-3456.
Chart House: Is doing something a little like Whole Foods, where they are offering a full Thanksgiving Dinner that will feed 6 – 8 people and it’s all To-Go! Or, you can eat there. Call 831-372-3362 to make your order.
Insider’s Tip: There is a little bar, tucked in the back of its row of shops in Carmel, called Ody’s Tavern, that sometimes serves up Thanksgiving dinner on the evening before Thanksgiving! It’s on San Carlos near Ocean Avenue and the building is light blue. Call them at (831) 626-6821 for directions if you get turned around.
For those who love to run and walk along our beautiful coastline, the Big Sur Half Marathon is worth checking out. This is the 8th year of the Big Sur Half Marathon and its popularity has grown!
Here’s what to expect if you participate in the half marathon:
- A gently rolling fast course that winds through historic downtown Monterey, along Cannery Row, and proceeds along Pacific Grove’s coastline with incredible views of the Monterey Bay.
- An unparalleled race destination weekend. After the race, take some time to enjoy world-class golf, a Spa afternoon, whale watching, world-class dining, shopping, wine tasting, a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and much more. Visit the Big Sur Half Marathon’s Visitor’s Guide for more options.
- A walker friendly course that welcomes Half Marathon walkers. Other weekend events include the Run Forrest Run 5K and the JUST RUN!®Just Kids 3K fun run, both held on Saturday, November 13th.
Insider’s Tip on Registration: Register early to make sure you get all your ducks in a row before the big weekend!
Insider’s Tip for Non-Participants: For those of you not interested in participating, but wish to hang out near the popular Recreation Trail and Cannery Row, keep in mind the following things: 1) It may be harder to find parking during the event. 2) The trail may be closed to non-participants during the event. 3) You may find more traffic congestion during the event.
Autumn is a fabulous time of year and October hops along with harvest festivals, pumpkin patches and corn mazes for the whole family. The climax at the end of October is, of course, Halloween, the second highest grossing holiday of the year.
Insider’s tip: Even though there are numerous crosswalk personnel, drivers be AWARE and EXTRA careful when driving along Lighthouse that Saturday!
For adults, there aren’t that many events being promoted at press time, but here’s an insider’s tip: Keep an eye out for event postings in the Monterey County Weekly and the Go! Calendar inside the Monterey Herald newspapers.
Many visitors comment on how cool it is here on the Monterey Peninsula. Like Mark Twain is reported to have said, “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco,” and since San Francisco is close by, the same can be said of our area.
Our weather is cool during the summer for several reasons:
1. Our ocean currents run from the Arctic Circle and (North to South) and our water temperature tends to be around 49 degrees to 55 degrees Farenheit.
In contrast, the Eastern seaboard of the United States experiences water currents flowing North from the Equator (South to North) with an added bonus of the warm water originating from the Gulf of Mexico known as the Gulf Stream.
2. We have a deep underwater canyon that begins in the Monterey Bay (at Moss Landing and Carmel) and there is a lot more water depth than eyes on land can see.
To compare, the Eastern seaboard tends to be shallower and can heat up from the sun more quickly.
3. Water currents and wind churn the water up from the depths to the surface, which causes cooler water to circulate up. This makes for very happy marine life because the upwellings bring food closer to the surface.
Now you know why you don’t see Sea Lions and Otters frolicking on Florida beaches.
4. The water’s cool water temperature and wind from the ocean makes the air cooler and creates a marine layer/low cloud ceiling. When that cooler air blends with the warmer air temperature over land, fog is created. Our marine layer usually evaporates from the sun after noon.
We hope this helps explain why our air is cool and why we rarely need air conditioning. It also explains why you should always keep a jacket or sweater handy when you’re visiting the Monterey Peninsula.