California might be the most dynamic of the 50 states, with deserts, valleys, dramatic coastlines, winding rivers, world-class skiing and so much more. Yet nowhere shows off the state’s epic beauty quite like the Monterey Peninsula. Stretching from Santa Cruz through Big Sur, a drive along this unforgettable coastline is the perfect family getaway. Whether you choose to make your home base in Monterey to enjoy the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, stay near the greens at the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links or unwind in sleepy Carmel-by-the-Sea, your options for fun and excitement are plentiful.
A favorite day trip in the Monterey Peninsula is the 17-Mile Drive, which stretches from Pacific Grove to Carmel, offering unparalleled access to marine life, sandy beaches, tide pools, sweeping vistas of the Pacific and up-close views of two famous oceanfront golf courses: The Links at Spanish Bay and Spyglass Hill Golf Course. You can park in one of the many parking lots and walk or ride your bike. As you get close to Pebble Beach to the south, take a moment to marvel at the incredible private homes that sit atop of the cliffs. We always recommend packing a picnic to enjoy on the beach, but if you get hungry or need a sweet treat, the Pebble Beach Market is the perfect place to stop for a mouthwatering deli sandwich or ice cream after all of your playing.
TIP: As the day comes to an end and you are ready to put your feet up, grab a table or a firepit on the patio at the elegant Inn at Spanish Bay. Every day around sunset, the Spanish Bay Bagpiper wanders the greens, playing beautiful tunes to close out another spectacular day on the Monterey Peninsula — a unique experience that your family will never forget.
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Editor’s Note: Photo by Katy Hanagan.