May 31, 2012

Weekend Away: Monterey With Young Children

We took a quick trip to Monterey over the long Memorial Day weekend. It was as crazy and crowd-y as you might imagine - but also a really fantastic time. Since we're officially at the start of summer-adventuring season, I thought I'd share our itinerary:

Day 1: About a two-and-a-half hours away from Stockton, the car trip to Monterey is completely manageable with a toddler (even a toddler who's prone to car-sickness). We scheduled our departure to coincide with Alice's nap, so we drove straight through. But if you need to break the trip up a bit, San Juan Bautista or Casa de Fruta in Hollister are nice, easy stops.

This was no tour of "undiscovered Monterey." From the start, we kept our stroller rolling squarely on the beaten path. Touristy places, while not universally family-friendly, are almost always family-forgivving and family-furnished. (Forgot the Children's Tylenol? No problem. There's a CVS a couple of blocks from Cannery Row.) Especially on short trips, I think that can be helpful.

After checking in at the Hyatt Regency Monterey, we spent the afternoon walking around Cannery Row, and, a little later, Fisherman's Wharf. Before heading back to the hotel, we ate crepes - one strawberry and one caramel - at Crepes of Brittany and told owner Daniel that we missed him on the Miracle Mile.

Day 2: Sunday was Aquarium day, the reason we went to Monterey. Alice is so interested in animals lately, and I just knew she would love it. (She totally did). I bought tickets online and printed them at home so that we wouldn't have to wait in a long purchasing line. We also opted to visit right when the aquarium opened at 9:30, both to leverage Alice's sweet morning disposition and to avoid later-afternoon crowds. I think it was a good strategy.

By noontime, the aquarium was packed, Alice was exhausted and we all were hungry. Restaurant dining can be a dicey thing with an overtired kiddo - I  like to look for patio seating. We found some at Trailside Cafe and Coffeehouse, which also featured a Bay view and Magna Doodles for kiddos. Hooray!

Did I tell you we talked my parents into coming along? They generously agreed to watch Alice while my husband and I went out for dinner (Paradiso Monterey) and coffee (Cafe Trieste).

Day 3: On the way home Monday morning, we stopped at the beach in Seaside. Alice didn't like the feeling of the sand on her feet at first - but in the end, she hated to leave.

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