Your dog can’t come inside to watch otters cavorting and jellyfish pulsing in their tanks at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. But that’s OK, because Monterey and the neighboring communities of Pacific Grove and Seaside offer a diverse array of pet-friendly lodging and plenty of things to do with Rover.
You’ll need good walking shoes (and a light jacket or windbreaker, even in summer) to wander along the spectacularly scenic Monterey Bay Coastal Trail, which hugs the shore from busy Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey to romantic Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove. Watch for whales in winter and otters and sea lions year-round along this wildlife- and wildflower-rich stretch of shoreline. The trail continues on the west side of the peninsula, where you and yours can inspect the historic Point Pinos Lighthouse and poke around tidepools on the way to gorgeous Asilomar State Beach.
Grab breakfast or lunch in the leafy courtyard at the Trailside Café & Coffee Shop near famous Cannery Row, but save time for a stroll down the wharf and some Alaska king crab at Domenico’s on the Wharf, serving fresh seafood and Italian cuisine.
Got kids? Make haste to Monterey’s El Estero Park, where there’s a lake with birds to watch and paddleboats to paddle. The highlight for youngsters is Dennis the Menace Playground, designed with the help of comic strip artist Hank Ketchum. Canines get special treatment, too, with a fenced dog park located just behind the Youth Center.
Photo of Point Pinos Lighthouse by Janet Fullwood