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10 Great Things To Do In Carmel With Your Family

Carmel is a great destination for a family vacation. Sure we have wineries and romantic spots for couples, but we also have a wide variety of activities suitable for the entire family.

Here are some of our staff favorites . . .

Monterey Bay Aquarium

  • World famous sea aquarium with many interactive exhibits. Rated the nations' #1 aquarium by the Zagat Survey and the "Best of the West for Families" by Fodor's. Exhibits are designed to give visitors a sense of what is like to be in the water with the animals. Wonderful exhibits as well as a wide variety of changing exhibitions. Visit the aquarium web site to plan your trip.


Historic Monterey and Cannery Row

  • Historic Monterey. John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf and early California historic buildings. All are great destinations for a family outing.
  • Take the self-guided walking tour by following the yellow tiles on the Old Monterey sidewalks past numerous sites for architectural, artistic and historical interest. You will also pass restaurants, cafes and shops. The tour is also available as a free MP3 download!
  • The Recreation Trail is a popular route for exploring between Pacific Grove and Monterey and beyond. Bicycles, roller skates and four-wheeled surreys seating up to six share the paved road with joggers and walkers. The route follows the old Southern Pacific right-of-way.


Bicycle from Carmel to Marina State Beach

  • Marina State Beach and Marina Dunes Preserve is a popular place for surfing, kite flying and hand gliding, not to mention the gorgeous sunsets. The dunes provide a habitat for birds and animals rarely seen elsewhere. There is also a short trail through the Preserve with signs explaining the flora and fauna. Bicycling from Carmel to the Beach is a great family activity and bikes can be rented at Carmel Bicycles, if you don't bring your own.


Carmel Mission

  • Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo is a complex of 5 museums and the Basilica Church. Docent-led tours of the property including the courtyards, Basilica, Indian Cemetery and museums are available for adults and school groups. Self-guided tours are possible at any time using the available brochure. Docents are on hand throughout the week.


Whale Watching

  • Year-round whale and dolphin watching tours are available in Monterey Bay. Depending on the season, Gray, Humpback, and Blue whales can be seen, plus a variety of dolphins. The diversity of species in the Monterey Bay is awesome! Numerous whale watching tours are available from Monterey Bay Wharf. Tours are varied in length and price to suit your needs.


Tide Pool Exploration

  • The Monterey Bay coastline is full of tide pools for fun and free family exploring. Asilomar State Park and Beach in Pacific Grove offers great tide pools, sheltered coves and opportunities for swimming, surfing and kite flying!


Kayaking on Monterey Bay

  • Paddle the ocean around the Monterey harbor and shoreline. Harbor seals, sea otters and sea lions will be your companions! For more information about kayaking on Monterey Bay, as well as Elkhorn Slough, check out the web site of Monterey Bay Kayaks.


Laguna Seca Raceway Events


Molera Trail Rides


Forest Theater Movie Night / Theater Productions

  • Forest Theater has a year-round schedule of live theater and film presentations. It is the oldest outdoor community theater west of the Rockies with a convenient location near the heart of downtown Carmel. View their current production schedule.

Need more ideas? Then stop by the front desk and use our Concierge service. Carmel is our home and we want you to feel it is yours as well!