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Free Things To Do in Monterey

If you have extra time, Old Fisherman's Wharf is worthwhile.

#1

#1 in Monterey

Free
Located south of Monterey and Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a humble seaside village with a few small shops and cafes -- at least that's the cover story. In truth, this pricey town has plenty of designer stores, gourmet eateries and upscale art galleries that cater to its wealthy residents (like Clint Eastwood). You'll find most shoppers and diners around picturesque Ocean Avenue, which leads to Carmel Beach.
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Neighborhood/Area Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Carmel-by-the-Sea
Located south of Monterey and Pebble Beach, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a humble seaside village with a few small shops and cafes -- at least that's the cover story. In truth, this pricey town has plenty of designer stores, gourmet eateries and upscale art galleries that cater to its wealthy residents (like Clint Eastwood). You'll find most shoppers and diners around picturesque Ocean Avenue, which leads to Carmel Beach.
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#2

#2 in Monterey

Free
South of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve receives praise from almost everyone who visits. The dramatic rock formations rising from the ocean have most visitors gawking, while the cute creatures like pocket gopher and the southern sea otter keep the nature-lovers smiling. The reserve's 13 trails offer hikers both easy and challenging opportunities. The Cypress Grove Trail is especially popular due to its views of the rugged coast and the gnarled Monterey cypress trees that perch precariously on the seaside cliffs.
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Hiking Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
South of Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve receives praise from almost everyone who visits. The dramatic rock formations rising from the ocean have most visitors gawking, while the cute creatures like pocket gopher and the southern sea otter keep the nature-lovers smiling. The reserve's 13 trails offer hikers both easy and challenging opportunities. The Cypress Grove Trail is especially popular due to its views of the rugged coast and the gnarled Monterey cypress trees that perch precariously on the seaside cliffs.
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#6

#6 in Monterey

Free
Near Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman's Wharf is not the smelly, salt water-stained place it once was. Costly restaurants and souvenir shops now characterize this touristy harborside neighborhood. However, this is the place to go if you're interested in a whale-watching tours or a kayaking excursion on the bay.
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Old Fisherman's Wharf
Near Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Old Fisherman's Wharf is not the smelly, salt water-stained place it once was. Costly restaurants and souvenir shops now characterize this touristy harborside neighborhood. However, this is the place to go if you're interested in a whale-watching tours or a kayaking excursion on the bay.
... more
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#7

#7 in Monterey

Free
Anchored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row is the epicenter of Monterey's tourism industry. Boutique hotels, shops and restaurants line this seaside avenue and attract thousands of travelers each year. But many recent visitors find the area overpriced and too touristy, noting that you can no longer detect the charms that John Steinbeck details in his 1945 novel Cannery Row.
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
Cannery Row
Anchored by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row is the epicenter of Monterey's tourism industry. Boutique hotels, shops and restaurants line this seaside avenue and attract thousands of travelers each year. But many recent visitors find the area overpriced and too touristy, noting that you can no longer detect the charms that John Steinbeck details in his 1945 novel Cannery Row.
... more
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