Taking vacations right now is a little tricky. Not ready to leave Chloe for longer than a couple nights, we have to get creative and find places we can take her along, yet still feel like we had a little adventure and saw something new. I’m a huge fan of traveling, but I do not like long road trips. And anyone who has ever flown with a toddler knows the stresses…so right now I’m choosing destinations under 2 hours by plane. That limits things, but has given us the opportunity to explore our own backyard if you will.
I hadn’t been to the Monterey peninsula since I was a child but always had fond memories. I thought this was a great family friendly destination we could explore. When we arrived to the Pacific Grove area we would be staying, I was immediately struck by the landscape. It’s a pine cloud forest in the summer that opens up to wild beaches on the coast. It is so very storybook. We spent our first night eating local seafood and exploring the plank pathways of the Asilomar beach dunes.
Our first full day would be Museum day. We got an early start the check out the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium. This place is really as impressive as people say…And it better be at $50 a pop. Chloe was certainly taken by the exhibits and I was mesmerized by the quality and variety of wildlife installations and how diverse the variety of animals. My favorite by far are the jellyfish. How can something be so otherworldly and beautiful and so ominous at the same time.
We also fell in love with this crashing wave installation that periodically poured water like a wave over a clear tunnel. Really fun!
I picked my ASOS WHITE trapeze midi dress just for the trip to the aquarium because of the beautiful blue color and the floaty wave like shape.
After Chloe’s much needed nap back at the hotel we headed into old Monterey to check out a new Salvador Dali museum by the warf called Dali17. Apparently Monterey is the only place Dali lived in the US and a local private collector opened a museum of his work. My aunt and uncle drove down from San Fran to meet us and explore the museum and the warf. The museum collection is impressive and even has a dark room where you can look at a few paintings in black light.
We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Old Fisherman’s Warf and eating another seafood dinner…when in Rome!
On our second day we decided on a lazy morning on the hotel grounds and then met my aunt and uncle once again for a trip up north a bit to visit Santa Cruz. I had never seen the beach boardwalk there and I was excited to take Chloe on a carousel for the first time.
I chose to wear my new custom skirt I ordered off this great website Eshakti. I love the bold stripe and drama in the length while still being in a really casual soft cotton material. We had a blast strolling the boardwalk in the dramatically warmer weather. A couple foot-long corn dogs and a Big Dipper roller coaster ride later and unfortunately it was time to say bye to Aunt and Uncle and mane the drive back down to Pacific Grove.
For our last full day on our trip we decided to use the morning to take the famous 17 mile drive from Pacific Grove to Carmel along the coastline. I had heard of the raw untmbeauty and was excited to see it myself.
Although it was the coldest place we went the whole trip, and I wish we had gotten just a little sunshine, it didn’t fail to impress. The craggy cliffs and clear water was picturesque. We made all the typical stops and was lucky to have them mostly to ourselves. Unfortunately I was too cold this day to wear any of my more fab outfits, but I thought my green Zara lace sweatshirt went nicely with the cypress. 🙂
We headed back into the city for dinner and walked lovers point at sunset. This wild Sea Otter sighting on our last evening was the perfect ending to our little family trip. He was charming while pulling mussels off the rocks. I was close enough to hear his crunch crunching.
There’s a lot to see in the golden state. Go explore!