Pacific Grove, California or Butterfly Town, USA has beaches and many points of interest with spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Further inland, visitors to this quaint city can check out Monarch Grove Sanctuary, home to thousands of wintering monarch butterflies from mid-October to mid-February. You can even enjoy taking a leisurely stroll through the city to admire the charming Victorian style homes while learning about the town’s history on Pacific Grove’s walking tour. Pacific Grove is the perfect place to spend a long weekend or a few days vacation. There are plenty of family activities to do, and multiple ways for everyone to learn about the Monterey Bay Area. In Pacific Grove, you’ll find beaches, museums, and a quaint city ready for you to explore.
Read on to find out the top 8 things to do in Pacific Grove, California:
Although this coastal town has a population of only around 16,000 people, there is a multitude of activities for visitors to enjoy. Many of these activities take advantage of the ocean and Pacific Grove’s temperate climate. You can start your day off at Lover’s Point Park and Beach. Lover’s Point is a landscaped community park that is used for picnicking, swimming, fishing, surfing, and water sports. Here you’ll find picturesque sandy beaches, rocky outcrops, and the Pacific Ocean right at your fingertips. If land sports are more your interest, there is a beach volleyball court. If you want a break from the beach you can head over to a large grassy area, the children’s pool, a snack bar, or restaurant located in the park. Lover’s Point hosts the annual Feast of Lanterns celebration and fireworks.
Lover's Point Park and Beach
Address: 631 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Website: Lover’s Point Beach and Park
2. Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
After a busy morning at the beach, head on over to the Monarch Grove Sanctuary. Here, thousands of migrating monarchs come from mid-October to mid-February. The sanctuary is located right off Lighthouse Avenue. It’s free and open to the public from sunrise to sundown. The females lay their eggs every year, and the circle of life continues for these butterflies in Pacific Grove. The best time to view the monarchs is around 3 pm when the sunlight filters through the trees and shines on the array of colors that fill the delicate wings of the monarch.
Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
Address: 250 Ridge Rd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Website: Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
3. Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Your second day in Pacific Grove is going to be a busy one. There is a museum and aquarium to help you learn about the Monterey Bay area. At the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, learn about the birds, wildlife, plants, geology, and culture that make this area so special. The museum features many permanent exhibits such as “The Birds of Monterey County,” “Pacific Grove’s Chinese Fishing Village,” and more.
Its annual exhibitions include “Illustrating Nature” and “The Wildflower Show.” It is open Tuesday-Sunday from 10am-5pm. Its admission prices are 8.95 USD for adults and 5.95 USD for youth ages 4-18, as well as students and military with an ID. Children under the age of 3, museum members, Monterey County residents, and all school field trips are free.
Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
Address: 165 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
4. Monterey Bay Aquarium
Learn about life in the water on the Bay. The mission of the aquarium is to inspire conservation of the ocean. So explore the coral reefs, the depths of the ocean, or meet some of the animals that call the aquarium home. Plan to spend some time there to wander through all of the exhibits. There are daily shows and feedings of the animals as well. The aquarium has a cafe and a restaurant, Cindy’s Waterfront, to take a break at. The Monterey Bay Aquarium hours are 9:30am-5:30 pm. Adult admission is 49.95 USD, children ages 3-12 are 29.95 USD, student ages 13-17 or student with an ID are 39.95 USD, seniors 65+ are 39.95 USD, and children under the age of 3 are free.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Address: 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940
Website: Monterey Bay Aquarium
5. Asilomar State Beach
On your next day, if you want more of the beach, head to Asilomar State Beach for fun in the water and walking along the beach and coast trial. Asilomar is a one-mile (1.6 km) narrow strip of beach and rocky coast. Asilomar State Beach is within the boundary of the Asliomar Marine Reserve, so all marine life is protected. There is a ¾ mile (1.2 km) walking trail open to pedestrians and wheelchair accessible. Dogs are allowed, but they must be on a leash. There are not restrooms or picnicking areas at this beach, so be prepared.
Asilomar State Beach
Address: Sunset Dr, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
6. Pacific Grove Walking Tour
One of the best ways to learn about the history of the city is to take a walking tour of the city’s most interesting homes and commercial properties. Pacific Grove began as a seaside retreat. From there, hundreds of people came to enjoy the peacefulness of the ocean and beauty of the area’s surroundings. This small retreat began to grow, and the city, Pacific Grove, was born. Over time many different buildings began to be built in different architectural styles.
This is a self-guided tour, where you will visit 22 places all within walking distance of the downtown area. You can pick up your brochure at the Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce and begin! Take your time walking as you see Victorian cottages, Mediterranean Architecture, and other points of interest. Each building on the tour has a unique part of Pacific Grove’s history and its own stories to tell.
Pacific Grove Walking Tour
Address: 584 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Website: Pacific Grove Walking Tour
7. 17-Mile Drive
After all of that walking, rest your legs and take a cruise along the 17-Mile Drive, where you can see spectacular views of the Pacific Coast. Originally, the 17-Mile drive was used for horse drawn carriages traveling from the Hotel Del Monte. The 17-Mile Drive may be the oldest, most well maintained toll road in California. The drive passes through the well-known community of Pebble Beach. There is a payment of 10 USD per vehicle to drive along this beautiful stretch of coast. After paying, you will receive a brochure explaining the sites along the way.
Address: Enter at the Pacific Grove Gate: 17 Mile Dr, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Website: 17-Mile Drive
At the closing of a wonderful trip, you can unwind with a glass of wine while you wait to be served fresh seafood and California cuisine in the modern, upscale restaurant, Passionfish. The motto at Passionfish is “Food from the heart.” The owners, Ted Walter and his wife, believe that cooking and serving good food is an art form and fresh, local, well-cooked food, served with a great glass of wine is what they’re passionate about. The menu features seafood and vegetables, as well as decadent desserts. The wine menu includes hard to find California wines. The menu prices are 30 USD and under and Passionfish takes reservations.
Address: 701 Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA 93950
Pacific Grove, something for everyone
Whether you’re a beach bum, a nature lover, or a museum explorer, there is something for everyone in Pacific Grove. You can take a getaway trip alone, or with family and friends. There is always something to do in picturesque Pacific Grove.
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