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Courtesy of the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau

Key Info

886 Cannery Row

Details

Zoos and Aquariums Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 4.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.5Atmosphere

The Open Sea Exhibit best exemplifies how special the massive Monterey Bay Aquarium is. Sea turtles, stingrays, sharks, jellyfish and schools of fish have thousands of gallons of water to explore while visitors watch in awe. With 45 interactive exhibits featuring reptiles, octopi, birds, fish and invertebrates, as well as a variety of tours (some of which allow guests to feed some of the sea life), there is no shortage of things to see and do for the young and old at the aquarium.

In the town of Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium sits at the end of Cannery Row. Entry costs a staggering $39.95 for adults, $34.95 for teens ages 13 to 17, and $24.95 for children ages 3 to 12, but most visitors claim the sights inside are well worth it, with some saying it is the best aquarium they've ever been to.

However, visitors recommend you go during the week, as the weekends tend to get crowded. Finding parking is nearly impossible, with the aquarium's popularity and central location, so use one of the nearby garages. The facility is open daily from about 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, check out the aquarium's website.

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#1 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.

Many forego the town's activities in favor of catching some rays on the expansive dog-friendly beach. Recent visitors recommend taking a long walk along the shore at sunset or sunrise. For more information about Carmel-by-the-Sea, check out the town's website.

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