Monterey, California

If your perfect vacation includes water sports, excellent food, scenic views and the feel of charming small town life, Monterey, California is the perfect place for you. The city is located next to the beautiful Monterey Bay so fun is always around the corner.

If you are in Monterey a visit to the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must. Here you can watch otters frolicking and fish flying through the water in wonderfully designed habitats. As well as the beautiful exhibits you can also participate in numerous educational events where you can learn about aquatic creatures and conservation. Daily events include shows where you can watch scuba divers feeding the fish in the exhibits and get to ask them questions and tours.

The construction of the exhibits keeps in mind the welfare and comfort of the animals as well as the enjoyment of the visitors. There are nooks and crannies in almost every exhibit that allow guests to get closer to the animals than the main viewing display. The only downside is the expensive price tag for the elaborate exhibits and activities.

For anyone who has dreamed of “hanging ten”, you can fulfil dream (at least partially) with one of Monterey’s most popular water sports: bodyboarding. Bodyboarding, sometimes called boogieboarding is a bit like surfing, the difference is that you lie on your stomach on the board instead of standing, but don’t be deceived, just because you’re not technically “hanging ten” doesn’t mean the thrill isn’t still there. From the moment you jump into your first wave and feel the raw power of the sea taking you on the ride of your life you will never want to stop.There are many surf schools that offer lessons in bodyboarding and bodyboarders are seen on nearly every beach in Monterey.

For those who love good food, Monterey’s neighboring city of Carmel is seventh heaven. The city is packed to the brim with unique, high quality restaurants and eateries that offer everything from fresh seafood to homemade sweets. A particularly unique and delicious food experience can be found at Casanova. The restaurant has been beautifully constructed in the style of an Italian cafe and serves locally sourced French, Belgian and Italian inspired food. Here you can find everything from tantalizingly fresh seafood dishes to creamy, rich risottos with local produce.

For the adventurous eater or the art lover, you can make a reservation for a meal at the Van Gogh table at which the legendary painter ate while he was boarding in the Auberge Ravoux restaurant in France. This table is situated in its very own room decorated in the style the Auberge Ravoux and has its own menu that reflects the typical cuisine eaten by Van Gogh during his time at the restaurant. Though it is a bit on the pricey side, the food, service and environment are well worth the your money. Note of advice though: make a reservation at least a couple of hours before you go because the tables fill up quickly.

Overall, Monterey, California is the perfect place for the whole family to escape the stress of daily life, but be warned the exquisite, top notch dining, attractions and accommodation will deplete your vacation fund.