Myself, husband and 3 children - daughter aged 21, two sons 16 and 9 years old hired a car in Anaheim and drove up to Monterey via Cambria in early July, as part of a 3 week USA adventure.
We visited Hearst Castle early on the 6th July, and really enjoyed the new summer tour of the Grand Rooms.
We stopped off at Los Piedras Blancas to see the elephant seals lounging around on the beach and spoke to one of the volunteers on duty about the seals molting and their behaviour and life cycle. It was very interesting and educational.
Our next stop was Julia Pfeiffer Park to see the lovely McWay Falls. Made for some lovely holiday snaps with the falls in the background!
Off again, and stopping at some of the turn-ins along the way to soak in the views and take more photos of the amazing, rugged scenery.
We'd planned to stop at Big Sur Nepenthe for lunch. We finally arrived there after 2 pm and decided on the smaller cafe Kevah since the restaurant at the top was very crowded.
I must say we found the menu rather limited (our 9 year old didn't much care for the kid's choices - peanut butter and jelly sandwich or cheese quesadilla.) Our food took a long time to arrive (almost an hour) - just as well the view is so awesome!
We pushed on after lunch to arrive in Monterey around 5-ish. I had really wanted to stop at Carmel and Point Lobos along the way but my husband (i.e. the driver) was feeling the pinch dealing with the windy Highway 1 and wasn't feeling very well, so we kept going to our accommodation in Monterey, which was the Casa Munras.
We had asked for adjoining rooms, they were actually close to one another but not adjoining. The rooms were very small and ours had a strange smell - deodoriser masking something else? There was a large ashtray just outside our window for smokers and so we kept the window closed despite it being warm in the room.
After settling in we took a walk down to the pier and sampled some delicious chowders, before deciding on a chinese restaurant for dinner.
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel and checked out. The staff at the hotel very kindly allowed us to leave our car with our luggage inside in the car park while we visited the Aquarium. We then caught the free trolley bus to the Aquarium (very convenient!) and really enjoyed our visit there. I particularly enjoyed the sea horse and jelly fish exhibits, and also talking to the very informative volunteers at the touch tank area. Afterwards, after having a quick walk around the area, we had lunch at Bubba Gumps at a table with a lovely view of the water. We had a great waiter and really enjoyed the experience.
We caught the trolley bus back to the hotel, collected our car and proceeded on the next part of our journey - San Francisco!
A lightning trip to Monterey - blink and you'll miss it, but very enjoyable just the same!
Again, i'd like to thank all the contributors on tripadvisor who encouraged us to break our journey from LA to San Francisco up into 2 overnight stays - Cambria and Monterey. We felt like we really experienced more of what the coastline has to offer by doing so.