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Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

London, UK
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Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?


We are travelling down the Pacific Coastal Highway for our honeymoon; as part of the holiday, we plan to spend a few days in Santa Cruz and a few days in Big Sur. We were wondering whether it is worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel for a day or two in between or whether to just have lunch there and drive right through via the picturesque 17 mile drive.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


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1. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

The Aquarium in Monterey is as fine an example of it's type in the world and you could easily spend half a day at least there.

The Pier is a fun place to stop for a while and Carmel makes for a fascinating contrast with it's beautiful beach, classy streets and exclusive shops.

Just south of town is The Point Lobos State Resere, a coastal wonderland with fascinating trails and loads of marine wildlife.

So yes, an overnight stop will allow you see all this and the 17 mile drive.

Have a great honeymoon.

Adam C


Sheffield, UK
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2. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

The Monterey/Carmel area is well worth a visit .The two areas are quite different, Monterey is very touristy but the Aquarium is worth a few hours of your time,Carmel is beautiful the beach is totally unspoilt and the views along the coast are wonderful.

If you want to spend a night I recommend the town of Pacific Grove right next to Monterey it has some great little motels and good restaurants,and the north entrance to the 17 mile drive can be accessed from there.Don't forget to stop off at the Pebble Beach Golf club when doing the scenic drive they make you very welcome and there are some stunning views from the terraces.

Morro Bay...
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3. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

Good choice, especially if you love coastal scenery.

I would not only stop there, I would focus on Camel and Monterey over Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz has a nice little downtown area with cute shops & an excellent Bookstore but the rest of it is so-so unless you are a surfer or just plan on hanging out on the beach...then it is grand.

Carmel is a wonderful art community with amazing galleries for browsing and has fabulous restaurants and scenery. Monterey has Cannery Row & the Aquarium which is worth visiting. From Monterey, take the famous "17 mile drive" to Carmel and you will see some of the finest scenery in California, not to mention Pepple Beach and the multi million dollars homes on the drive. The scenery for three hours south of Carmel to Morro Bay is absolutely awesome and there are wonderful romantic places for lunch or dinner in Big Sur, especiallythe restaurants at Post Ranch or Ventana..Post Ranch is very quiet and romantic and elegant.

Have fun~

Santa Barbara...
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4. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

Monterey and Big Sur can actually be day trips to each other, if you don't mind the drive - about 30 miles and 0.8 hrs to 1.3 hrs. Although there is sometimes a traffic jam near Carmel Valley Rd. Big Sur's night life will be very quiet. Monterey will have more to do at night.

Both Monterey and Big Sur are worthy of stopover. Additionally, Monterey has a bit of California history to go along with it. John Steinbeck imortalized agriculture and sardine fishing in the area in the Grapes of Wrath, and Cannery Row. Carmel is home to the 2nd of California's 21 missions, and is where Father Serra is buried. Also, if you enjoy kayaking, Monterey Bay Kayaks rents kayaks and is a good launch point to kayak over to Cannery Row.

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5. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

add me to the "yes, carmel is worth it" list.

southern california
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6. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

add another yes to carmel...pacific grove...17 mile drive....great upscale shopping in carmel....tourist shops in monterey but it does have history....

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7. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

yes, Carmel and Monterey it!!!

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8. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

Short & sweet...come on down to Monterey....Carmel....Pacific Grove.....sooooooo very close to each other...you could make a nice long day out of it. Congratulations!

Menlo Park...
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9. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

Santa Cruz is worth only one day, as other posters have noted. Monterey and Carmel are fabulous--spend more time there!

London, UK
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10. Re: Is it worth stopping over in Monterey/Carmel?

sorry, been away on business, thank you all for taking time to reply.