World's Best Aquarium and Stunning Coastline

Trip Start Mar 25, 2013
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Trip End Sep 10, 2013


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Where I stayed
Big Sur Campground & Cabins
Read my review - 5/5 stars

Flag of United States  , California
Thursday, September 5, 2013

We got up the next morning and headed to Monterey which was only 120 miles (190 kms) from San Francisco. We thought the traffic was going to be horrendous as it was rush hour time but it was not bad as we headed over the Golden Gate Bridge and around the outside of the city on HWY 280.

Our first stop was the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium which is regarded as the best in the world by many and everyone we spoke to said don't miss it. This would be Zach’s third aquarium on the trip and given how much he loved the Vancouver and Las Vegas ones we couldn’t wait to see how much he would go crazy at this one.

Http://www.montereybayaquarium.org

The aquarium was amazing and definitely a highlight of trip for us and Zach. First it is right on the pacific coast so the views are amazing and there is a wild sea otter pod in the kelp right in front of the main cafeteria and viewing deck. All the water in all the tanks comes straight from the ocean next to them. They had two amazing kids areas with touch pools, activities, playground and videos but Zach loved the deep water sea explorer control room.

We stayed there all day going to all the exhibits including the deep sea tank with hammerhead sharks, large turtles, and tuna; 5 big jellyfish displays with blue backgrounds and cool lights, some incredible documentary features, sea otters, and the kelp tank with many fish and smaller sharks.

We decided to stay for the 4pm feeding in the kelp tank so Zach could see a real scuba diver feeding the fish. He was absolutely enthralled by the scuba diver and so had a major meltdown all the way down the street to the car when we left..sigh!

We drove down the Pacific Coast Highway to a top campground in Big Sur. It was about 5:30pm so the light was perfect and we were blown away by the beauty of the coast. With massive cliffs, big rocks in the sea, sea birds, kelp forests and crashing waves. I took tons of pictures.

The Big Sur Campground and Cabins (www.bigsurcamp.com) which was probably the best campsite of the whole trip and we were disappointed we didn’t have more time there. The playground was awesome with a fire engine and we had a spot right next to it. Chris spent the night cleaning the RV as we have to drop it off the next day.

The next morning we drove back to Monterey to pick up a luxury Minivan which Chris had found on an Asian National Rent a car website so it only cost $320 for the week instead of $1200.  We unloaded the RV into the Minvan and stacked it all the way up to the top, thank god it was large.

Chris headed off to San Louis Obispo to give a final clean and hand over the RV while Zach and I went back to the Aquarium one more time to see the scuba diver. We drove along the 17-Mile Drive, a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula. The drive was stunning much of which hugs the Pacific coastline and passes famous golf courses, mansions and scenic attractions, including the Lone Cypress, Bird Rock and the 5,300-acre Del Monte Forest of Monterey Cypress trees.

The drive serves as the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach. Inside this community, non-residents like us have to pay $15 to use the road. Like the community, the majority of 17-Mile Drive is owned and operated by the Pebble Beach Corporation. The 17-Mile Drive is a 17-mile (27 km)-long scenic loop having four primary entrances - the main highway entrance at California State Route 1, and entrances in Carmel and Pacific Grove.

The RV hand over was not too bad and Chris was VERY relieved to have handed the RV back. We picked up Chris in the minivan and headed 50 miles south to Lompac to stay with Sonia and Stuart, my parents friends who used to live in Denver. Stuart was feeling a lot better being at sea level than when we had seen him in Denver (the mile high city) a few weeks earlier. We had a fantastic evening catching up with them and had a great dinner and cracked open a few bottles of wine doing a pinot noir tasting between California and Oregon.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed



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