Carmel Valley Lodge

A smiling sea otter on its back in the water

7 Free Things to Do in Monterey CA

Do you ever find yourself longing for an enjoyable vacation to a beautiful destination that doesn’t break the bank? We understand the struggle! That’s why we’re letting you in on these 7 free things to do in Monterey, CA.

Monterey offers visitors a wide variety of free things to do during their visit to the area. Our mix of indoor and outdoor activities will keep you and your family entertained. Here at Carmel Valley Lodge, we also offer fun activities for your wallet-friendly vacay. Here’s our list — choose your favorite activities.

1. Window Shopping & More

The effortless beauty and enticement of Cannery Row make this destination first on our list. The diversity of experiences along the Row makes it so enjoyable for people everywhere. Whether you’re walking past shop windows admiring clothes, shoes, and toys, or wandering into art studios with colorful artwork and handmade jewelry, the entire family is bound to have a wonderful time.

2. Art Heaven

Speaking of art studios, Z Folio Gallery is a renowned gallery in Monterey with a superb amount of 5-star reviews from first-time visitors and returning locals. This gorgeous gallery is seemingly filled to the brim with glass art, contemporary jewelry, professional photography, and an elite team of artists and art enthusiasts to give you a warm welcome.

3. Local History

The Colton Hall Museum is a California landmark made for learning and enjoyment. The museum’s main exhibit is California’s 1849 bilingual constitution that ultimately led to statehood. This remarkable building was also one of California’s first dedicated schools and town halls during the early American period. You’ll also find local biographical and historic building files within the building. What better way to start a trip than with a little history lesson on the area and the state?

4. The Natural Beauty of Monterey

Are you looking for breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay on foot? If so, Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail will surely be next on your budget-based trip. This rails-to-trails gives way to bikers, hikers, inline skaters, and fishermen. The trail runs 18 miles in length. It has multiple access points and parking locations, so you can hop on and off the path wherever and whenever it is convenient. During your walk or biking experience, keep a lookout for sea otters, sea lions, an abundance of coastal birds, scuba divers, kayakers, and stand-up paddle boarders.

5. Harborside Neighborhood

Old Fisherman’s Wharf is simply a must-do during your stay in Monterey. Strolling along this seaside location offers you a stunning panoramic view of the bay, sea otters bathing on rocks and buoys, not to mention souvenir shops full of fun trinkets and cute sailor-themed clothes and decor. And don’t forget to look for restaurant employees offering free samples of their to-die-for clam chowder made fresh from the harbor.

6. World Travel at a Glimpse

Every Tuesday, year-round, The Farmers Market at Old Monterey Marketplace comes alive from 4-8 pm. You’ll love getting a glimpse at the local organic produce, craftsmanship, and cultural creations from around the world that Monterey has to offer as you stroll along the different carts and trucks set up throughout the Marketplace. Established in 1991 and extending 3 ½ city blocks in length, the Farmers Market is a wonderful and free way to spend a day with the family or solo while in Monterey, CA.

7. Right at Home

Last but certainly not least on our list is activities you can do at our Lodge. Our spectacular indoor and outdoor amenities will keep you busy yet relaxed after a day of exploring free things to do in Monterey. You’ll love playing a game of corn-hole, chess, or ping-pong with your loved ones, sitting around the fire pit in the cool night air, sinking into the steamy hot tub, or reading a book and drinking a cup of tea on your wooden deck, balcony, or flagstone patio. During the warmer days, you and your kids will love spending time around our pool with a view of the beautiful Carmel Valley.

Now is the time to pick up the phone or log onto your computer and book direct at Carmel Valley Lodge for an unforgettable and affordable vacation. We look forward to your visit and hearing about your favorite activity from our list of 7 free things to do in Monterey.


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