Cannery Row adventures combine views and wildlife

Get a taste of Monterey’s Cannery Row with outdoor excursions and a behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. Photo: Jill K. Robinson

HALF MOON BAY, Calif., January 9, 2012—Cannery Row in Monterey, Calif., is full of historical sites and modern attractions for visitors, but did you know that you can also maintain an active outdoor schedule on a Monterey vacation? The oceanside playground is ideally placed on Monterey Bay—with stunning views nearly everywhere you look.

Start by discovering the area by water. The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary extends more than 5,300 square miles and is home to 26 species of marine mammals, 345 species of fish and four species of turtles. Get a chance to see the larger mammals (California sea lions, harbor seals, sea otters and dolphins) with a kayak or stand-up paddleboard adventure in their habitat.

While the law prohibits you from getting too close to marine life, there’s nothing to keep curious animals from checking you out. As you paddle among the kelp forests just off the coast, seals and otters may decide to investigate their newest visitors. If you’re lucky, a migrating whale could venture near the shore, giving you a close view.

Knowledgeable guides can set you up with the gear you need for a rental to go it alone, or sign up for a guided excursion and get a little more local lore with your trip.

On land, hit the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail, which covers 18 miles—from Castroville in the north to Pacific Grove in the south. The two-lane trail hugs the coast and is perfect for running, biking, rollerblading, or even just strolling. If you didn’t bring your bicycle, don’t worry. Bicycle and surrey rentals are available right from Cannery Row.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium, right at the end of Cannery Row, may be an indoor adventure, but it’s the best way to see the residents of the marine sanctuary up close. Enhance your visit with a behind-the-scenes tour, and get a chance to feed some of the fish you see in the aquarium exhibits. No swimming, though! Save that activity for the bay—or your hotel’s swimming pool.

Where to stay

A view from the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. (Photo: Jill K. Robinson)

InterContinental The Clement Monterey is located right next door to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and has spectacular views of the bay. (831) 375-4500,

The Monterey Bay Inn is on the other end of Cannery Row, near Fisherman’s Wharf, and also has great views. (800) 424-6242,

Where to eat

The C Restaurant, in the InterContinental, features sustainable seafood, premium meats and organically grown local produce. The restaurant has panoramic bay views. (831) 375-4500,

The Fish Hopper, with fantastic bay views, specializes in sustainable seafood and steaks. (831) 372-8543,

What to do

Kayak, stand-up paddleboard (SUP), bicycle and surrey rentals are all available from Adventures by the Sea. Tours on kayak and SUP are also available. (831) 372-1807,

The Monterey Bay Aquarium offers behind-the-scenes and fish-feeding tours. Tour types, dates and times vary, so study up and be sure to make reservations. (831) 647-6886,

Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill and her husband are avid kayakers and own Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Jill K. Robinson

An award-winning journalist and adventure seeker, Jill K. Robinson has been a columnist with The Washington Times, Communities section since 2011.

Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, American Way, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Robb Report, Westways, Journey, Let's Go with Ryanair, World Hum, Gadling, Lonely Planet and more. She lives in a small California beach town near the big wave surf spot, Mavericks, and divides her time between writing about travel, running a kayak business and trying to wring awe-inspiring adventure out of every day.

Always eager to take a leap into the unknown and experience new things, Jill shares adventure sport and travel highlights—even when the adventure isn’t adrenaline pumping or bone crushing. Adventure is sometimes only a state of mind.

Find Jill on and Twitter @dangerjr 

Contact Jill K. Robinson


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