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Spring is the Time to Stop and Smell the Flowers in Monterey

17 Apr 2024

Our Concierge, Chris Boyle, is one of the best resources for fun activity ideas while visiting Monterey. We were excited to ask her for some spring-themed activities, and we can't wait to dive into all of them this season! Check out her wonderful recommendations below.


Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

Hey there! Spring is the perfect time to explore some of the many treasures in Monterey. First up, spend a day biking or hiking along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, located behind the Portola Hotel & Spa. Here you will find Historic Cannery Row, the incomparable Monterey Bay Aquarium, and endless, breathtaking ocean views. 

One of the many beautiful views on the Monterey Rec Trail


Magic Carpet

From mid-April to June, a stunning, local phenomenon called the "Magic Carpet" is in full bloom; vibrant, purple-hued ice plant blankets the entire area. This unique spectacle is located on the Coastal Trail, in Pacific Grove. Spreading over the craggy rocks and sandy dunes, the sight creates a stunning contrast against the azure color of the clear sky and bright blue sea. Stop for a moment and smell the flowers!


Local Farmers' Markets

Next, check out the local Farmers' Markets in Monterey County. Known as the "Salad Bowl of the World," thanks to the wildly diverse terrain of the region. The growers here have a reputation for sustainable and organic practices and are home to more organic operations than anywhere in the state. On your next visit, explore the Old Monterey Farmers' Market outside the Hotel, open every Tuesday.


Pezzini Farms

Speaking of farmers, fresh artichoke season is here! Monterey County is the land where artichokes reign. Just 20 minutes north of the Hotel is Castroville, dubbed the "Artichoke Capital of the World." When it comes to artichokes, nothing beats Pezzini Farms. Now is the time for a field trip to Pezzini's. Their heirloom artichokes are exceptional due to a growing process that dates back nearly 100 years! 

Their family-owned, artisan market also has lots of local produce and an outdoor stand where you can buy their incredible fried artichokes. Where else can you find handcrafted, Artichoke Parmesan Pasta Sauce or their special artichoke seasoning mix, which is perfect for grilling fish, meat, or vegetables? Visit their farm and roadside market on Nashua Road (off HWY 1).


Whale Watching

Spring is also an ideal time to view the coastline's abundant marine life. As a protected sanctuary, the Monterey Bay Submarine Canyon drives nutrient-rich currents, attracting species by the thousands into the thriving, ecosystem. You can spot baby gray whales and orcas, sea lions and seals, and the cutest of critters — sea otters. Tours depart from Old Fisherman's Wharf.


Monterey Bay Aquarium

To get an up-close look at marine life head to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, which houses the largest collection of deep-sea animals in North America. In early April, it debuted a new exhibit, Into the Deep: Exploring Our Undiscovered Ocean, which takes you on an unparalleled descent into the dark abyss that is mostly out of sight — but thriving with life. 


Listen to Bagpipes at Pebble Beach

Finally, head out to the Inn at Spanish Bay in Pebble Beach. Every evening at sunset, a bagpiper dressed in a Scottish kilt walks up the first fairway of the Links at Spanish Bay. His "pipes" fill the air with the sounds of Scotland, treating golfers and guests of the Resort to a one-of-a-kind experience. Be sure to get there early so you can catch a seat by the fire pits on the veranda and enjoy a cocktail or two.


Book Your Stay at Portola Hotel & Spa

Are you ready for an unforgettable coastal getaway? Look no further than the Portola Hotel & Spa in downtown Monterey! Located just minutes from the best attractions and landmarks the Monterey Peninsula offers, this stunning destination has something for everyone this spring. 

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