For the MLK holiday, we went on a long weekend trip to Carmel and Monterey. It's only an hour and half from San Francisco, but has a completely different vibe so it really felt like a vacation. We arrived early on Saturday, checked into our hotel in Monterey, and headed straight to the beach in Carmel.
Unlike the Bay Area beaches, the beaches in Carmel are white and sandy, and even though it was the middle of January, it was warm enough to lay out on the beach in a swimsuit. The waves were particularly good that weekend (it was the same weekend as the Mavericks Invitational in Half Moon Bay) so Lucas got some quality surf time in.
On Sunday, we took the historic 17-Mile Drive, which runs from Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach. That stretch of coastline is beyond scenic - it's gorgeous! I definitely recommend doing the drive right before sunset so you can stop at one of the lookout points and watch the sun go down over the Pacific.
Monday morning, we went on a whale watching trip. I geek out over animals, so I jumped at the chance to see sea lions, otters, and whales up close. I've also been completely jealous of Kristina since she went whale watching in Vancouver in elementary school, so I was finally able to see my 10-year-old dream realized. We were fortunate enough to see a killer whale, several pods of grey whales, and dolphins. Lucas was definitely a good sport and pretended to be as into it as I was. :)
Other highlights of the trip include: cheese tasting, antique shopping, and getting cheap couples massages.
Here were a few of our favorite things to do in Monterey and Carmel:
Breakfast: Katy's Place - This place has to-die-for breakfast - French toast, waffles, and pancakes galore!
Lunch: Village Corner - Such a cute little place in downtown Carmel with an outdoor patio to people watch. :)
Dinner: Casanova - It's a converted house, so it's a cozy little restaurant with amazing French & Italian cuisine. It has an amazing wine cellar too, so make sure to ask to peek inside.
Shopping: Cannery Row Antique Mall - There are tons of antique vendors with fairly reasonable prices. The Cheese Shop - This place is an amazing, non-pretentious cheese shop. You can go in and sample any kind of cheese you can think of and they won't make fun of you if you ask ridiculous questions. Carmel Plaza - What can I say? They have J.Crew, Anthropologie, and Kate Spade, so I was sold. We may or may not have gone three times. I'll never tell. :)