Family Friendly Summer Vacation in Monterey

Looking to plan your summer getaway soon? We have you covered! Check out our family friendly list of attractions for your perfect stay in Monterey.


Monterey Bay Aquarium

Only 1.5 miles away is the world famous Monterey Bay Aquarium! This attraction is a must-see, and perfect for the whole family. There you will see the wonders of what lives in our Monterey Bay, from sea otters to jellyfish to starfish! For now, the aquarium is taking visitors under reservations, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance at


school of fish at the aquarium A school of fish swimming above–a favorite attraction at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo by Monterey Bay Aquarium


Family Picnic on the beach

After a long day at the Aquarium, it’s time for a relaxing picnic dinner at one of Monterey’s picturesque beaches. Catch the sunset while eating a delicious to-go meal from our very own Jacks Monterey. Try one of the menu favorites including the Monterey Bay Salmon, Tempura Calamari, or Margherita Pizza.


Kayak in the Monterey Bay

See Monterey from the water as you kayak through the bay. Many kayakers are able to see barking harbor seals, sea otters swimming nearby, and sometimes will even witness dolphins! There are many places to rent kayaks with many different launch points. Enjoy this activity with the kids by renting tandem kayaks from Adventures by the Sea.


Family kayakers in Monterey Tandem Kayakers in Monterey near Fisherman’s Wharf


Whale Watching

If kayaking isn’t your thing, but you still want to view the bay, then whale watching is for you! Watch breaching humpback whales, dolphins, orcas, and other marine life from the boat. Princess Monterey Whale Watching has morning, midday, and sunset tours available so it will be easy to fit this into your vacation itinerary.


Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea

A short drive away from Portola is the quaint town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. As you come into Carmel, you’ll see the most charming homes that will make you think you’re in a fairytale! The fine shops and restaurants are no different. It’s truly a unique and beautiful place. To learn more about this lovely town and their attractions, visit their website.


Happy Hour at Peter B’s Brewpub

After a long day of shopping in Carmel, come relax for Happy Hour at Monterey’s original craft brewery located right here at the Portola. Peter B’s Brewpub happy hour drink specials include cocktails, select craft beers, and house wine. We are excited to reopen Peter B’s very soon on June 16th!


Hike Point Lobos

Point Lobos is a natural reserve with the most scenic hiking trails. You’ll see crisp blue waters or lush landscapes depending on which trail you choose. They have a variety of different trail lengths and difficulties so it’s great for any hiker. Check out their website for parking information, hours, Covid-19 guidelines, and more.


Point lobos view Beautiful blue waters of Point Lobos


Bike Rentals

Monterey and Pacific Grove have beautiful bike trails that overlook our beautiful bay. There are many places to rent, but just steps away from the Portola is Adventures by the Sea, where you can rent Surrey bikes, (which are perfect for the whole family), electric bikes, or standard bikes.


Dennis the Menace Park

A short walk from the Portola Hotel and Spa, Dennis the Menace Park is perfect for kids to explore, play, and let out a little energy. This unique park has many attractions and was actually designed by Henry King Ketcham, the creator of the Dennis the Menace comic strip!


Fisherman’s Wharf

Just a quick 5-minute walk from us is Fisherman’s Wharf. This attraction is the perfect lunch spot where you can choose from many different seafood restaurants. After lunch, stroll through, visit the unique shops, and don’t forget to pick up some salt water taffy!


monterey fisherman's wharf A view of Fisherman’s Wharf from  Monterey’s Recreational Trail


Monterey Zoo

The Monterey Zoo is about a 35-minute drive from the Portola Hotel, and home to a variety of animals including elephants, tigers, monkeys, bears, and more. Purchase tickets in advance and learn more about the Monterey zoo here.


Monterey is a great summer vacation destination with many attractions for the whole family. Suffice it to say, the Portola Hotel is exquisitely located in the heart of downtown Monterey, affording our guests immediate access to the full range of cultural and recreational offerings available in Monterey. Book a room today and start planning your quintessential Monterey getaway!

Subscribe To Portola Hotel & Spa Blog