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Discover Monterey's Marine Life and Wildlife

20 Mar 2024

One of the things that makes Monterey so magical is the captivating marine life and breathtaking wildlife. Nestled along California's stunning coastline, Monterey offers many opportunities to witness the wonders of the ocean, land, and its inhabitants. Whether you're traveling with kids, on a solo trip, or seeking a romantic getaway, these unforgettable places in Monterey County need to be on your itinerary.


Monterey Bay Aquarium

No trip to Monterey is complete without a visit to the world-renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium. Situated just a 10-minute drive from Portola Hotel & Spa, this iconic attraction promises a mesmerizing journey into the depths of the ocean. Explore vibrant exhibits showcasing everything from playful penguins to graceful jellyfish and beautiful schools of fish. It's an educational experience that will delight travelers of all ages.


Whale-Watching Excursions

Embark on a whale-watching excursion to witness some of the ocean's most magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. Monterey Bay's nutrient-rich waters attract an abundance of marine life, including humpbacks, blue whales, and even orcas. Several tour operators depart from Old Fisherman's Wharf, such as Discovery Whale Watch, Princess Monterey Whale Watch, and Monterey Bay Whale Watch. They offer unforgettable opportunities to observe these giants of the sea up close. 


Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

For those seeking a more serene encounter with nature, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is a must-visit destination. Just a short 15-minute drive from Portola Hotel & Spa, this coastal paradise boasts gorgeous beaches, rugged cliffs, and diverse ecosystems full with wildlife. Explore scenic hiking trails where you can spot seals and sea lions basking in the sun and seabirds soaring overhead. Keep your eyes peeled for the occasional glimpse of sea otters floating effortlessly among the kelp forests.


Elkhorn Slough

Elkhorn Slough in Moss Landing is another great place to witness Monterey County's abundant marine and wildlife. It is home to over 340 species of birds, making it a great birdwatching destination. Elkhorn Slough is also a prime spot for observing sea otters. Join a guided boat tour at Monterey Bay Eco Tours or Elkhorn Slough Safari to observe birds, sea otters, and other animals in their natural habitat.

Sea Otter at Elkhorn Slough


Exploring Tide Pools at Asilomar State Beach

Venture over to Asilomar State Beach, where a world of wonder awaits in its tidepools. Located just a short 15-minute drive from Portola Hotel & Spa, Asilomar is known for its rocky shores and abundant intertidal life. During low tide, you can explore life just below the water as colorful sea stars, crabs, and anemones emerge from their hiding places. Explore the shoreline and peer into these natural aquariums, where every tidepool holds a fascinating discovery. Remember to respect these precious habitats and not to disturb any rocks, plants, animals, or shells while exploring. For more information check out Asilomar's safety tips and rules.


Old Fisherman's Wharf

Located just a quick 3-minute walk from our back doors, Old Fisherman's Wharf is a wonderful place to spot marine life. Before heading to your next activity or meal on the Wharf, pick a good viewing spot, and you are bound to see otters, barking sea lions, and harbor seals nearby. 


Start Planning Your Monterey Adventure

With its stunning coastline, rich marine life, and abundant wildlife, Monterey invites you enjoy its wonders of the natural world. When it comes time to unwind after exploring, Portola Hotel & Spa offers luxurious accommodations and exceptional dining ensuring that your stay in Monterey is nothing short of extraordinary. To book your stay, visit our website, or call us at (888)-222-5851.

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