While visiting the Monterey Bay, a walk on the Coastal Recreation Trail makes a delightful addition to your travel itinerary! Stretching 18 miles from Pacific Grove to Castroville, there is a lot to explore! If you are on foot and have a lot of other things on your itinerary, our suggestion is to walk the 1.2 mile stretch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove. Or if you are exploring the Fisherman’s Wharf or other parts of Monterey, you might want to head the other direction instead.
The Complete Trail Map
While the best part of the Coastal Recreation Trail is from Pacific Grove through Monterey, the complete trail goes all the way to Castroville!
A Shorter Walk
If you want to focus on a section of the path with amazing coastal views from a clifftop, the 1.2 mile walk between Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove to the Monterey Bay Aquarium will be a fabulous choice. More energetic types might find this a little short, so if you want to add a little more, consider continuing to Fisherman’s Wharf with a possible extension to Dennis the Menace Park. There is a delightful playground and seasonal paddle boats!
A Bicycle or Surrey Ride
Many people choose to rent a bicycle or rent a surrey instead of walking. Prices can be a little higher than one might expect, but this can be a fun alternative if you want to cover more ground! Our family loves to explore by bicycle.
Parking in both Monterey and Pacific Grove can be tricky during peak times.
The Monterey Bay Aquarium lists several garages and parking lots along Cannary Row that might make good parking options if you are combining this walk with a visit to the aquarium.
Or you can check Monterey’s city website or Pacific Grove’s city website for more options.
If you happen to be visiting during peak season, there is a free trolley that runs between various parking lots a few months per year, so consider using that to get between the Aquarium and Fisherman’s Wharf if a round trip walk is too far.
This post only covers the Pacific Grove section of the Coastal Recreation Trail from the Aquarium to Lover’s Point. We happened to be visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and decided to enjoy a bit of the coastal atmosphere!
The aquarium is located at the end of Canary Row on the border between Monterey and Pacific Grove.
If you head up the hill, you will quickly find the bike trail. If you make a right turn, you will head into Pacific Grove, where a left turn will take you toward Fisherman’s Wharf. Either option is an excellent choice, but this time we chose the Pacific Grove path.
The Monterey section of the path is quite wide and you will encounter many surreys and bicycles. Be warned that many of the surrey drivers have no idea what they are doing, so it is advised to stay out of their way! Walking on the dirt path is usually least risky!
Shortly after leaving the aquarium, you will come to a chain link fence that is meant to protect the harbor seals. Stop and watch both the sun bathers and the swimmers! No, those aren’t rocks where the wet sand meets the dry sand.
Eventually the path will get narrower and some of the tourists will turn back to Monterey, but this is where the path gets truly beautiful!
As you get closer to Lover’s Point, you will see a small sheltered beach.
Just above the beach is Lover’s Point!
Lover’s Point Park and Beach is a combination of a grassy park, rocks, a beach, and a pool that is open seasonally.
This is the start/end of the Coastal Recreation Trail, but if you have extra energy, you could consider continuing another 1.2 miles to the Point Pinos Lighthouse. Another time we rented some bikes and rode past Pebble Beach, all the way to Carmel-by-the-Sea! Here are some bike trail suggestions from the city of Monterey. Even if you don’t bike it, consider taking your car on Pebble Beach’s 17-Mile Drive!
The Monterey Bay Area, located in California, is a wonderful place to explore!
Keep reading our travel blog for more adventures from this trip: