A friend's wedding brought us to Monterey for a long weekend. We took advantage of the area visiting the aquarium, walking along the waterfront, and taking a short hike in Big Sur. The aquarium was pretty amazing and also pretty crowded. A summer day even a weekday is not the best time to go if you want some peace and quiet to soak in the beauty of the underwater world. Still it was great seeing the jellyfish, tuna, sunfish, and cuttlefish. They have a great collection that can be seen in a day without feeling too overwhelming (although the crowds of humans were pretty overwhelming).
Monterey Bay was a great place to marine wildlife as well and at a fairly close distance. Southern Sea Otters, Harbor Seals and California Sea Lions were all common in the bay. Further out we spotted a whale (like a Gray) jumping out of the water. Of course as with the aquarium, the walk way was pretty crowded as well.
One morning we drove south to Big Sur and hiked the Ewoldsen trail in Julia Pffeffier Burns State Park. This short but steep loop trail took us through the redwoods and up to a bluff overlooking the coastline. It was a beautiful trail and we even saw two California Condors perched across the valley, but as with all place on the coast of California, it became quickly crowded as the day wore on. The waterfall on the beach across from the Ewoldsen trail was also very beautiful, but even more crowded.
I'm glad we got to attend our friend's beautiful wedding and to see the area. However, if you're looking for a beautiful place with peace and solitude, Monterey is not your place.
M = Monterey Bay
J = Julia Pffeffier Burns State Park