5 Things to Do in the Monterey Peninsula

Planning a trip to one of the prettiest peninsulas in the country? We’re talking about California’s Monterey Peninsula which has it all – great spots for outdoor fun, interesting cultural and historic sights, some wineries, some beaches, some small town charmers and, of course, Marina Dunes – the ultimate glamping location in the area that offers spacious cottages and brand new yurts! We found five fun things to do if you’re heading there:

1. Get Outside: You don’t visit this breathtaking, sunny, almost-always perfect weather location to stay indoors. Some outdoor adventure ideas include Asilomar State Beach, Elkhorn Slough, and the Path of History. Asilomar State Beach is where you will find the Asilomar Coast Trail, a 3.6 out-and-back trail along the rocky coast which is great for birding as well as viewing marine life and wildflower views. Take a nature safari at Elkhorn Slough and explore one of California’s largest wetlands, which is home to sea otters, harbor sea lions, and over 300 bird species. Tours last 1.5 to 2 hours and can be scheduled at elkhornslough.com. The Path of History is a unique way to learn the history of Monterey. This is a self-guided, roughly two-mile walking tour through the city that highlights historic structures as well as locations of historic events. For a detailed map, visit seemonterey.com. Or, follow the yellow tiles through town!

2. Storybook Homes: A trip to the beautiful Monterey Peninsula can seem to some like a fairy tale come true. What might make it seem even more so is a tour of the Storybook Cottages in the area. Designed by American designer and master builder Hugh Comstock in the 20s, 30s, and 40s, these are one-of-a-kind real life homes that look just like storybook cottages. Roughly 21 of the storybook homes remain in Carmel-by-the-Sea and a visit to the Carmel Visitor Center on Ocean Avenue will get you a map of them. Most of them are private residences so only the outside can be viewed, but The Tuck Box, an English tearoom, and the candy shop, Cottage of Sweets, are open to the public and are found in town.

Storybook Cottage

3. Carmel Valley Wineries: There are many interesting ways to sample the wines of the approximately 20 wineries that make their home in the Carmel Valley. For instance, there is the Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk, a self-guided walking trail (carmelcalifornia.com/carmel-by-the-sea-wine-walk) around the lovely town or there is also the 5-hour, all-in with food and wine private trolley tour offered by toursmonterey.com. If you love the storybook homes, you may enjoy a visit to Folktale Winery and Vineyards, which is committed to 100% organic farming or if you’re looking for a French flair, Joullian Vineyards might do the trick. Georis Winery offers an adobe-style tasting room and the rustic Cowgirl Winery might be good for a gal’s trip tasting!

4. One of a Kinds: There are some experiences that can only be found in Monterey. For example, the Monterey Moon Tree was actually grown from seeds that were taken into space by Apollo 14 Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa. Roosa wanted to see what the effects of a trip to the moon could potentially have on the seeds. See the results for yourself – the coast redwood, aka The Moon Tree, can be found in Monterey’s Friendly Plaza, a small park near City Hall. Do you like bagpipes? Do you enjoy a good sunset? Combine them both with a one-of-a-kind experience at The Inn at Spanish Bay where each evening, rain or shine, a bagpiper comes to the first tee about 45 minutes before the sunset begins, and then strolls to the second tee and continues to play until the sun is set. Quite a lovely setting.

5. The Steinbeck Center: The National Steinbeck Center is dedicated to the legacy of author John Steinbeck, who was born in Salinas, the seat of Monterey County. The museum has an interesting array of displays depicting Steinbeck’s life and most famous books including The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden and Cannery Row (steinbeck.org). The Center offers more than just the history of John Steinbeck, but also provides exhibits that detail the agricultural and art history of the area. Another interesting Steinbeck experience could be a tour of his birthplace and boyhood home which is also a restaurant (steinbeckhouse.com).

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Last Call for the Beach

Even if you live in a climate that tends toward warmer fall and winter temperatures, there’s nothing like a beach in the summer. Before the weather changes, make it a point to hit the beach to get in a healthy dose of summer sun and summer fun.

Take in a tiny home at Tuxbury Tiny House Village in South Hampton, New Hampshire, and you’ll have several beaches upon which to soak up the last days of summer. There are five New Hampshire state beaches (Wallis Sands, Jenness, Hampton, North Beach, and North Hampton). Hampton is probably the most popular with its boardwalk, but Wallis sands offers views of the Isles of Shoals and Jenness is quieter. If these aren’t enough, head over to the nearby beaches in Massachusetts and take in a few more. There’s Plum Island Beach in Newbury that has the added bonus of the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, home to over 800 species of birds, plants, and animals. Salisbury Beach State Reservation is a beach contained within a 521-acre park with swimming, fishing, and boating opportunities in addition to the 3.8-mile beach.

Long Beach, Washington, is billed as the world’s longest beach, or so reads the archway that welcomes visitors to this Pacific Coast beach. It is most likely the longest contiguous beach in the US, running 28 miles.  It may very well be one of the US beaches with the most things to do besides just being beachy.  There are many things to see here beside water and sand. There’s a chainsaw art whale sculpture, a half mile boardwalk, bald eagle and golden eagle sightings, and shells and sand dollars. To dos include kite flying, horseback riding, surfing, surf fishing, and catching a glorious sunset or two. Rent a yurt at Long Beach RV & Camping Resort and spend your days at the beach and your nights at camp with us.

Glamping tents at Marina Dunes in Marina, CA

Go glamping and enjoy the beach at all once with a stay at Marina Dunes on California’s Monterey Peninsula. Head down the coast (about 37 miles) and explore Big Sur and the iconic Pfeiffer Beach, known for its purple sand. The beach’s purple streaks come from the manganese garnet deposits that wash down from the surrounding hills. Another highlight of Pfeiffer Beach are the natural arches – of which Keyhole Rock is one of the most photographed. Pfeiffer Beach is best enjoyed from the sand and the ocean waters are known for their strong tides and heavy waves. Nearer to camp is Monterey State Beach or Fort Ord Beach, with its sea lions, seals, and shorebirds.

Although the state is at its hottest during the summer months, the beaches in Florida tend to be less crowded during this season and with an ocean to cool off in, what’s a little heat? An ideal place to soak up some Florida beach time is with a stay at a colorful cottage at Fiesta Key on Long Key or a sweet tiny home at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village on Big Pine Key. Both resorts are fabulous beach locations and have plenty of amenities onsite to enjoy beachside. An added bonus at Sunshine Key is that they have partnered with Keys Boat Tours, a Blue Star Operator, that not only rents kayaks and stand-up paddleboards, but also runs fishing charters and snorkeling tours opportunities from the resort. Another great beach on Big Pine Key is the beach at Bahia Honda State Park. Smathers Beach on Key West is another highly popular beach and Cannon Beach, found in John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, located on Key Largo, has remnants of an early Spanish shipwreck just offshore.

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National Beautiful Day

Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

Beauty is subjective, thus the saying “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What one person sees as beauty may well not be what another person sees in the very same thing. Whatever your idea of beauty may be, make sure you celebrate November 20, which is National Beautiful Day, any way you see fit!

Tiny House Otto at Leavenworth Tiny House Village in Leavenworth, WA.

Beautiful Leavenworth: Without doing much, Leavenworth, Washington, is considered a beautiful town. With its Bavarian-style architecture, mountain backdrop, and quaint downtown it’s quite pretty. Toss in the thousands and thousands of twinkling lights during the holidays and one word comes to mind: beautiful! Plan a stay at the equally beautiful Leavenworth Tiny House Village to enjoy beautiful Leavenworth.

Yurt at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort in Groveland, CA.

Beautiful Yosemite: In a recent poll of its followers, roughguides.com asked them to name the most beautiful locations in the USA. California’s Yosemite National Park topped the list, which also included the Grand Canyon and the entire state of Alaska. Take a trip and see what makes Yosemite a list-maker. For beautiful views, check out El Capitan, Vernal Fall, and Mirror Lake. Stay in a serenely beautiful yurt or cozy cabin at Yosemite Lakes RV Resort while exploring the natural beauty of Yosemite.

Beautiful Crater Lake: Again, a list-maker when it comes to the most beautiful lakes in the US, Oregon’s Crater Lake is known for the beautiful blue color of the lake. The surrounding mountains and towering pines make the views here real stunners! Spend a beautiful day driving the 33-mile Rim Drive which offers breathtaking views of meadows, forests, and the lake.  Book a tranquilly beautiful yurt and stay at Bend-Sunriver RV Campground.

Crater Lake is in Klamath County, OR.

Beautiful Drive: The 17-Mile Drive, which runs along California’s Monterey Peninsula, is a short, but oh so sweet drive of the beautiful kind. With the coast of the Pacific as your companion, the highlights of this drive include Bird Rock (what do you think they are buzzing about?); the Lone Cypress (one of Cali’s most famous landmarks); and Pescadero Point with its fab views of Point Lobos. Check out the unique accommodations at Morgan Hill RV Resort and choose from a cottage, cabin, or safari tent.

Beautiful Sunsets: The Travel Magazine calls them gorgeous sunsets and we all know gorgeous is another word for…beautiful!  Here’s one place to catch the beauty in California, according to the magazine’s list of the 10 best sunsets in the state.  Arroyo Burro Beach in Santa Barbara, also called Hendry’s Beach by the locals, offers one beautiful sunset, over and over and over again. On the other side of the country, the sunsets are just as beautiful and some of the most beautiful can be found in Key West, Florida. And Key Westers tend to make it a regular celebration – check out the fun at the Mallory Square Sunset Celebration and catch one of Key West’s spectacular sunsets. For the east coast sunset, consider at stay in a colorful tiny house at Sunshine Key Tiny House Village or colorful cottages at Fiesta Key RV Resort, and for Cali-style sunsets, Rancho Oso has great cabins for rent.

Colorful cottages at Fiesta Key RV Resort in Long Key, FL.

Beautiful S’Mores: True, they are nothing more than some crackers, sugar, and chocolate but who doesn’t think a perfect s’more is a thing of beauty? Some fun ideas to mix it up could include substituting the chocolate for almond butter and banana, switching out the graham crackers for snickerdoodle cookies; or the truly beautiful s’more made with chocolate graham crackers, sliced strawberries, and dark chocolate. Check out some of our favorite gourmet s’mores 1927smores.com.

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