If you’re cooking at home, go to Monterey municipal pier #2 (near the more touristy Fisherman’s Wharf), and buy fresh Monterey Bay seafood (ask them what’s fresh and local) at Monterey Fish or Royal Seafood.
Before you buy, take a walk from Monterey to Pacific Grove along the pedestrian path, stopping at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You’ll see numerous plaques commemorating the “real” Cannery Row, which is, alas, long gone. While here, take a slight detour up to Happy Girl Kitchen. The owners live in Big Sur and are dedicated to preserving the freshest foods for tasting all year long. They are bringing back the art of canning in a truly California fashion.
Happy Girl has pastries and coffee or if you’re looking for breakfast or lunch, the Trailside Café, right on the pedestrian path is a great stop, especially if it’s a nice day and you can sit outside.
The safest beach for kids is at the end of the path at Lover’s Point. Stop there or continue along the water as far as Asilomar beach. Here you are right along the bluffs and the wilder side of the Pacific. If you continue walking into Pebble Beach, you’ll come to Point Joe and several other stopping points where the sea’s turbulence is really dramatic.
If you’re a golfer, you’ll pass the Pacific Grove Municipal Links, a great course that meanders through the ice plant and sand dunes and will cost a fraction of the green fees at the nearby Pebble Beach courses.
A few favorites for chow are: Monterey Fish House. It’s in a very nondescript location but well worth it; Epsilon for a wonderful Greek Salad; Montrio for a more upscale and lively menu; and Turtle Bay for casual seafood inspired Mexican Food. Or travel on to Seaside for a huge variety of taquerias, pho/noodle spots, and a delicious array of ethnic eateries…Check out The Monterey County Weekly for their restaurant reviews.