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Monterey trip in March

posts: 13
Monterey trip in March

We will be in SF for 5 nights, followed by 4 nights in Monterey in March. 2A 2 teens. Are setting aside a day to drive down the coast, thinking of going as far as McWay Falls before turning back. Have read lots of your wonderful posts about stops along the way. A couple of questions. Is the Elephant Seal Rookery north or south of McWay Falls? If further south, would it be worth going farther to add this stop? In mid March, are the seals there? My other question is Pfeiffer State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park appear to be 2 different places? If so are both recommended stops? Thanks so much for your wealth of info on this forum. We are getting very excited!

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,871
reviews: 3
1. Re: Monterey trip in March

Hi Maggie

The elephant seals are MUCH further down the coast from McWay Falls. Like more than an hour's drive. The seals are close to San Simeon/Hearst Castle. While they are indeed interesting to see, I'm not sure they're worth the extra 2-4 hours you would be adding to the drive. It's really only a 15-20 minute visit. There are always seals at that location, but Spring is when you'll see even more of them, as the females give birth to and rear their young.

____________________________________

The name Pfeiffer is all over the Big Sur coast.

There's Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, which is located within the "village" area of Big Sur. There's a trail through the redwoods up to a waterfall in this park.

There's Pfeiffer Beach, which is located at the end of a twisty non-signed turn off Highway 1. Pfeiffer Beach is known for its purple sand and rock arches in the open sea.

Then there's Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park where McWay Falls is located. That park is approx. 8 miles south from the south end of the "village" area of Big Sur or more specifically... the Nepenthe turn off.

Hope that clears it up for you. Enjoy your trip!

The

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,556
reviews: 77
2. Re: Monterey trip in March

For elephant seals, there is another spot where you can see them, between SF and Santa Cruz at Ano Nuevo state park. This time of year you have to get a guided tour to go out to where you can view the elephant seals, but this web site gives you all the info you need:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523

posts: 13
3. Re: Monterey trip in March

Thank you so much for the replies. I think we'll stick with our original plan of turning back at McWay Falls, would rather take our time seeing the sites for the day. I appreciate the clarification about each "Pfeiffer" park, now I know what to look for in each area. I'll check out the link for Ano Nuevo. This is our first CA trip and the TA experts on both forums have essentially planned it for us. Now if you can deliver sunshine and 60-70 degree temps for our 10 days all will be perfect!

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,033
reviews: 53
4. Re: Monterey trip in March

Maggie...make sure you stop at Point Lobos as well.

posts: 13
5. Re: Monterey trip in March

Thank you datthecoast, it is definitely on our list for our time in Monterey. We have 4 nights in Monterey so we'll either hit it on our day down the coast or drive out on a separate day. So far we are planning the aquarium, a sail on Bella on the Bay (hopefully to see whales), Carmel/Carmel Beach, 17 mile drive, the drive down to Big Sur, Point Lobos. Probably Henry Cowell/Roaring Camp RR on the way down from SF. Santa Cruz on the way back to SF (looked like the boardwalk is open on weekends). Open to any other suggestions or advice.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,033
reviews: 53
6. Re: Monterey trip in March

The Steinbeck Center in Salinas is terrific, but moreso if you are a fan. I also love the little town of San Juan Bautista....about a 30 miles away. There is a wonderful Mission and museum there. Do you have you hotels sorted out and have you picked any restaurants yet?

posts: 13
7. Re: Monterey trip in March

Staying at the Intercontinental Monterey. Just starting to look at restaurants.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,556
reviews: 77
8. Re: Monterey trip in March

Your hotel is right on the water and basically next to the aquarium, so great location for that - it is also on the edge of Canery Row, which is fun, but pretty touristy so it has it's share of not-so-great food - there are good places mied in though.

Fish Hopper is pretty good. They have a nice patio and some great views.

I haven't been to Sardine Factory in forever, but it was always good.

If you enjoy beer, Canery Row Brewing Co has a great selection and good pub food - they have a nice patio to hang out on, and it is a regular restaurant, so the kids are welcome. The name is a bit of a misnomer - they don't brew their own beer, or at least not when I was there last - but they serve a nice selection of beer brewed by others.

If you have a sweet tooth, there is a place like a half block from your hotel that has oooie-gooie cinnamon rolls - you can't miss it :)

Dallas, Oregon
posts: 5,254
reviews: 300
9. Re: Monterey trip in March

Second the recommendation for Fish Hopper -- a great place for a tasty, casual lunch on the water. Sardine Factory is unsurpassed for a grand, memorable dinner. We ate there the first time on our 1971 honeymoon and make it a point to return each time we're in the area. Still wonderful after all these years (last visit 2 years ago). A newer favorite is Passionfish in Pacific Grove. In addition to great food, their wine list is spectacular -- with most priced at close to retail. We last had a Sea Smoke pinot for $50.

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 8,033
reviews: 53
10. Re: Monterey trip in March

A second to Passionfish...great spot!

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