Monterey Bay (Central Coast) Bucket List

My husband will be joining us soon, and while we’ve done a few of these things already I decided I needed to keep a bucket list of all the things I wanted us to see in the area. We’re trying to cut down on cost in our effort to get our debt paid off, so sticking around the area and doing low cost/free stuff is what we’re shooting for until the end of the year. Some of these things did cost us money initially, but over the year are small amounts monthly (like our aquarium passes which have already paid for themselves). I also plan on doing a bucket list for San Francisco/North Bay/Sonoma area.

If you have anything else to add please feel free to comment! I’ll probably be editing this list as we see things as a family, crossing off and adding notes.


1. Monterey Bay Aquarium

2. My Museum

3. Asliomar State Beach

4. Point Lobos

5. Monterey County Fair

6. Hiking in Big Sur

7. Hike Jacks Peak

8. Santa Cruz Boardwalk

9. Gilroy Gardens

10. Hike the Redwoods in Santa Cruz (Henry Cowell and Big Basin)

11. Roaring Camp Railroad

12. Gilroy Garlic Festival (for next year)

13. Hit a new park every week in Monterey/PG/Carmel

14. Pinnacles National Park

15. Hike/Bike Fort Ord

16. Boats on Lake El Estero

17. Kayak the bay

18. Whale watching

19. Wine tasting in Carmel Valley

20. Bag Piper at the Inn at Spanish Bay

21. 17 mile drive

22. Monterey Museum of Art

23. Pacific Grove Natural History Museum

24. Coast Guard Pier

25. Wild Things Salinas

26. Monarch Grove Butterfly Sanctuary

27. Elkhorn Slough River Cruise

28. Watch a race at Laguna Seca

29. Natural Bridges State Beach

30. Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History

31. Wilder Ranch State Park

32. Life Lab Garden Classroom at UC Santa Cruz Farm

33. Seymore Marine Discovery Center

34. Ano Nuevo State Park

35. Arboretum at UC Santa Cruz

36. Felton Covered Bridge


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