We recently took a trip down to Monterey, CA with my parents to do a super celebration weekend. My parents aren’t that big on celebrating and prefer to combine things in the month of June. My mom’s birthday is on the 7th, my dad on the 21st, and father’s day usually lands on or near by dad’s birthday. Since Miles was still too small to really do anything big, they wanted to go all out with a family trip to one of their favorite weekend spots!
Where We Stayed
We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Cannery Row, and I cannot rave about this location and their staff enough. After a misunderstanding on us needing to rent a scooter (mobility kind for my dad), they went on a hunt to get us a wheelchair to borrow for the weekend since NO WHERE IN MONTEREY RENTS MOBILITY SCOOTER. It was insane and we couldn’t believe it. If you’re traveling with someone in need of accessibility, I can’t stress enough that this is a location where you need to bring your own. Lesson learned! Scooters there are for city touring only!
What We Did
Our must-see & do list consisted of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the beach, Old Fisherman’s Wharf and The Antique Mall! My parents and I loved hitting these spots as I was growing up and wanted to make sure we made time for those around meals and Miles’ napping schedule. Check, check, check and check! During Miles’ naps, my mom and I popped next door to The Antique Mall where I managed to find the EXACT Star Wars Micromachines toys that Mike had growing up and has talked about since we started dating. We took home 2 playsets and 2 sets of pilots (light and dark side).
Miles’ loved the Aquarium! Though much of it was still confusing and concerning for him (he had a lot of trust issues with the tidal wave experience), we know it was a really great experience for him. I always recommend taking little ones to places like aquariums and zoos because it’s such a great way for them to see the real life versions of the animals they learn about. He picked out a toy shark he has named Ba-Ba.
We hit up the beach on Cannery Row on the last day of our trip on our way to Old Fisherman’s Wharf. I really wish we had gone the day before as the weather was so nice and took a very cold turn that Monday. Still, Miles’ had a ton of fun with the sand and eventually warmed up to the cold ocean waves coming up on the beach! Plus, he looked so adorable in his swimsuit! So glad I still packed it just in case! Our visit to the Wharf was very short lived. The cold winds grew pretty strong during our lunch to the point that my parents waited in the car while Mike and I walked the short length. On a warmer day, I recommend going to the back of the Wharf for great photos with the sailboats. Its also a good place to eat, but you won’t find much activity or shopping otherwise. If you’re looking for a active wharf to spend a lot of time at, I recommend going to the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco instead.
Where We Dined
On Saturday, we had lunch at Dos Victorias and dinner at Cannery Row Brewing Company. Dos Victorias was decent enough for us to grab a bit after all our other plans fell through, but $65 for 4 burritos, 4 cokes and 1 quesadilla was pretty outrageous compared to what we were spending and getting at all the other restaurants. Our day was redeemed at CRBC, which is a lot more accessibility friendly and they have a parking space for strollers. It was family friendly and we spent $20 more and got amazing dishes and beers. Miles had a great time eating his first corn dog and Mike (who’s not into fish at all) really liked their Mahi Mahi tacos.
Sunday we had lunch at the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s restaurant and dinner at Beach House Restaurant at Lovers Pointe in Pacific Grove. If you’re looking to stay in the Aquarium and want something a little more upscale than the eatery, the Restaurant is a great option. It is a bit more pricey, and they serve their own made sodas which seemed to be really throwing off everyone around us. Mike and I made it a point to have dinner at Beach House as it was the restaurant we celebrated at after finding out we were pregnant while on a business trip. Everything was very close in timing! It was fantastic to be able to go there again 2 years later and have just as great an experience as the first time. I highly recommend reserving a table through Open Table as they do get very business, then popping over to the park down the street for gorgeous views and photo ops.
On Monday, our last day, we had to hit up First Awakenings for breakfast. It was another one of our spots from our trip 2 years ago that we had to bring Miles and my parents, too. We got super lucky that we went on a Monday morning so there was no wait at the door. Last time, we waited 45 minutes and it was absolutely worth it! Miles loved his Mickey pancake and I could have had 4 more of those French style Texas Toast slices! We had our lunch at Paluca Trattoria and I wish we had taken 2 seconds to look them up before sitting down.
It was the closest to the parking lot for my dad to walk (since we had to return the wheelchair) and the first place my mom saw. They are not family friendly. While they have a kid’s menu, I think they only want kids who are maybe 8 and up at their restaurant. They have no high chairs and sat us and another family with an even smaller baby outside in the cold. We should have left at that but we’re very awkward people. The food was very good, but wasn’t worth all of us sitting in the cold and Miles being stuck in his stroller the whole time. Great if you’re a group of 4 or few adults with the possibility of sitting inside, not as great if you don’t meet that criteria.
Miles did so wonderfully on his first family vacation and choosing a spot 3 hours from home was the best decision to test it out! We can’t wait to take him on his next trip and are already researching and saving! Let me know any spots that are great for toddlers and accessibility people in California that you know of. We think Tahoe and Disneyland are next up on our list, but who knows!