Unique Tours Around the Monterey Peninsula!

Disclosure: I was apart of a FAM trip a little over a year ago where I experienced a ton of these tours.  All opinions are my own.  #SeeMonterey

Sea Lions

There’s a very special place in my heart for the Monterey Peninsula.  Last year was the first time for myself experiencing this very SPECIAL area, and it’s left a lasting impression.  It has become a goal to get here at least one weekend a year for as long as I reside in California.  (I was just there this past April!)

With that being said, there’s a lot of Unique Tour and Opportunities available when you visit this area.  Here’s my list of fun within the area:

Elkhorn Slough Tour:

Probably ONE of the BEST tours I’ve ever experienced in my life took place in Moss Landing, about a 30 minute drive North of Monterey, but, if you take the time to take one of these tours, you will find, the drive was completely worth it.


The tour takes place along the Elkhorn Slough, one of the top ten Bird Estuarys in the US.  And let me tell you, when on this tour, you will see Otters, Sea Lions, Plenty of Birds, and much more.  And that’s the fun: Counting them along the way in their natural environment.

You are driven by the Captain, who grew up around this area, and has a ton of knowledge about the Wildlife that resides here, and as you go along the tour, you will learn a ton in the process.

Walking Tours: Original Monterey Walking Tours

There are Walking Tours led by Monterey locals who will share the history of the Monterey Peninsula with you.  As you walk around the favorite sites of Cannery Row, you will just happen to learn a thing or two about the area.  Our Cannery Row walking tours relive the 1930’s, when Monterey was the “Sardine Capital of the World.” Our historic Monterey walking tours explore the Cradle of California from the Spanish explorers to California statehood to the 21st Century.
The Original Monterey Walking Tours will send you home with a new appreciation of life in Monterey.\

Behind the Scenes Tours at The Monterey Aquarium:

Probably one of the BEST places to visit along Monterey is the Monterey Aquarium.  See your favorite sealife animals in action.  Experience Octopuses, Jellyfishes, Sea Otters, and more live in action before you eyes, but did you know, the aquarium also has Behind the Scenes tours?

They Do!


Tours include:

Behind the Scenes Tour:

Unlock the secrets with this special insider’s tour and follow our guides through staff-only doors. You’ll discover what it takes to run a world-class aquarium, learn about exciting research projects we’re conducting and find out how we prepare food for over 10,000 animals.

Feed the Fish Tour:

Food, food, food! Ever wonder what thousands of sardines eat for lunch? Find out on this quick trip behind the scenes. Peek into our food rooms, learn about different feeding methods—then pitch in and help us feed some fish!

Family Tour:

Do your kids dream about getting closer to ocean animals? Designed with our youngest visitors in mind, this group tour takes you behind the scenes with trained naturalists who tell insider stories about our most popular animals. Hands-on activities make this a great choice for families with children under eight years old.

Personal Guided Tour:

Have a question you’ve always wanted to ask about our animals and exhibits? This is your chance to get answers! Welcome to the ultimate insider’s view of the Aquarium.

Jellies Tour:

Ever wonder what a jelly feels like? Well, here’s your chance to find out! Get up close and personal with one of the ocean’s most mesmerizing creatures in this unique tour. You’ll go behind the scenes to see our pioneering work in action and discover what we’re doing to help us better understand these mysterious drifters.

Shark Tour:

Love sharks? Join us just before we open our doors to the public and discover over a dozen species of sharks, skates and rays that call the Aquarium home!

Feeding Frenzy:

Our most in-depth tour begins with a private viewing of the sea otter feeding and training session. Then you’ll explore behind the scenes to see where food is prepared—our kitchen rivals any restaurant. Finally, roll up your sleeves and serve breakfast to many of our favorite finned friends!

Sea Otter Conservation Tour:

Are sea otters your favorite animal? You aren’t alone! This tour offers a close-up look at our Sea Otter Program, which has been studying and trying to save the threatened southern sea otter for more than 30 years.

See what I mean? W ho knew they had ALL of this happening behind the doors.

Fast Raft:

This ONE of a Kind Boat Tour will actually take YOU out into the Monterey Peninsula, and take you to see Wildlife in its natural environment.  Ever wanted to see Whales up close in the Ocean?  Or perhaps,  dolphins?

This BOAT will GET You there, and with experience and knowledgable drivers at hand, they will TAKE you to right where they are.


Meet Ranger: Ranger is a 33ft RIB, or Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat (rigid fiberglass hull, inflatable pontoons) with two new EPA-certified low-emission four-stroke Mercury 250HP engines.  And it just holds 6 passengers offering a more intimate, in depth tour of the Monterey Peninsula!

Carmel Food Tours:

For the foodies out there, be sure to stop into Carmel by the Sea, and partake in a Carmel Food Tour.  A GREAT way to get a showcase of all the great restaurants available in Carmel by the Sea, and you get to try out some phenomenal food: Olive Oil, Gnocchi, Pizza, Chocolate and more!

These are just a FEW of the many unique tour opportunities available around the Monterey Peninsula, but they just may be some of my favorites.

Happy Exploring!












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Carnival is ready to DEBUT their latest ship: Carnival Vista in 2016! Sneak Peek inside

I am a firm believer in Cruises.   Celebrating a special occasion back in 2005, I took my first Cruise, and through that experience, I have been wanting to take another: Alaska anyone?

With that being said, when I found out about the latest Carnival Vista, which will debut in 2016, I couldn’t wait to share the news with you.  This ship is DESIGNED for families making it the perfect CHOICE for your next Family getaway.




Some of the Highlights:

Spectacular Outdoor Spaces:

Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights – literally – with SkyRide, a first-of-its-kind aerial attraction. Here, adventure seekers pedal hanging recumbent-like cycles at speeds of up to 18 miles an hour across an elevated 800-foot-long track, while enjoying panoramic views to the sea 150 feet below. There will be no charge for Sky Ride.


Adjacent to SkyRide is SportSquare, a fun-tastic all-ages open-air recreation area with a 270-foot-long suspended ropes course, a two-level miniature golf course, a 700-foot-long jogging track, a variety of outdoor fitness equipment, and the new Clubhouse, a modern indoor sports hangout with mini-bowling, ping-pong, sports-themed video games, arcade-style sports games and more.

When it’s time to cool off, the young – and the young at heart – can check out WaterWorks, the largest aqua park in the fleet highlighted by Kaleid-o-Slide, Carnival’s first inner-tube slide. Riders can zip down 455 feet of exhilarating corkscrew turns enhanced by music and stunning kaleidoscopic effects. And no Carnival water park is complete without the Twister slide, offering 300 feet of high-speed fun, as well as the PowerDrencher, a 300-gallon tipping bucket that’s sure to elicit shrieks from kids with each drenching.  A kiddie area with 30 different water spray toys and mini-racing slides will be available for younger cruisers.


Amazing On-Board Entertainment Options:

There are indoor thrills, too, with the cruise industry’s first IMAX Theater with a three-deck-high screen that brings an immersive cinema experience to sea with the latest Hollywood blockbusters and family favorites, IMAX classics and IMAX documentary content. The 182-seat IMAX Theater is part of the Carnival Multiplex, which includes Thrill Theater, a multi-dimensional experience where seats move back and forth and side to side and viewers are sprayed with water and bubbles to make them feel like they’re part of the movie. The Warehouse, featuring video and arcade games, is located next door. And no trip to the multiplex is complete without popcorn and other movie favorites, available at a nearby concession stand.


Families can also enjoy all-ages comedy shows at the 385-seat Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez as well as the audience participation favorite Hasbro, The Game Show. New for Carnival Vista will be a premium ice cream parlor within the Cherry on Top confection store where patrons can select their favorite ice cream and mix-ins and watch as their frozen creation is made right before their eyes.

Family-Friendly Accommodations:

Exclusive to Carnival Vista is Family Harbor, located within a dedicated family zone aft on Deck 2 with 96 specially designed “family ergonomic” accommodations, including extra-large family suites accommodating five guests and featuring two bathrooms.

The Family Harbor Lounge is a secluded space designed as the ultimate family hangout with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks.  An exclusive family concierge maximizes the fun on board, assisting with dining, spa and shore excursion reservations, registering kids for the youth programs and making recommendations on and off the ship for families with kids of all ages.

Family Harbor staterooms include kid-friendly toiletries, bathrobes and slippers while suites feature separate sleeping quarters for parents and children and a walk-in closet. Guests in Family Harbor staterooms also receive a number of exclusive benefits and privileges, including 24/7 card key access to the Family Harbor Lounge, free meals for kids under age 12 in specialty restaurants, and one free evening in Night Owls, a late-night activities program held in Camp Ocean.

Dr. Seuss Bookville and Other Expansive Play Areas:

Carnival Vista will also feature Dr. Seuss Bookville, a family reading and play venue featuring iconic décor and funky furniture inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Here, kids and their families can read Dr. Seuss books, enjoy arts and crafts, toys and play Dr. Seuss-inspired games. Dr. Seuss Bookville is part of Seuss at Sea, a fleetwide program that also includes the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, and Seuss-a-Palooza Parade and Story Time.

Carnival Vista will also include a 4,000-square-foot Camp Ocean play area where kids ages 2-11 are immersed in the wonders of the sea through a variety of age-appropriate, fun-filled and engaging experiences and activities. Camp Ocean includes Party Reef, a common area for all ages, as well as a breakout room for arts and crafts called Creative Cove.  Just outside Camp Ocean are two outdoor playgrounds: Camp Ocean Playground featuring climbing, tactile and exploratory activities for the little ones, while the interactive NEOS® Play Zone offers fast paced high-tech physical fun for older kids.  For early teens, there’s Circle “C,” designed as the ultimate chill space for 12- to 14-year-olds, as well as Club O2, a cool hangout just for 15 to 17 year olds.

Carnival Vista is scheduled to enter service from Europe May 1, 2016, then reposition to New York for a series of voyages in November 2016 followed by the launch of year-round Caribbean service from Miami later that month. 

In the meantime, enjoy this Tour of the newest Carnival Vista ready to debut in 2016:

Want more information?  Cruise fans, those new to cruising and travel partners can get a preview of Carnival Vista at www.carnival.com/carnivalvista and follow @CarnivalVista for regular Twitter updates.

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Dog Day Afternoon and Cookoff at Cavallo Point Lodge!

The beautiful, historic Cavallo Point Lodge is hosting a Dog Day Afternoon and Cookoff on Sunday, June 7th:


Date: Sunday, June 7; 12pm to 4pm

Highlight: The afternoon event presents an outdoor cook-out along with drinks and take-home treats.

Other activities include:

Paw Painting

o   Cavallo Point Puparrazzi

o   Small Animal Friends

o   Pet Boutique: Pet-related items from the Mercantile’s large selection

o   Shelter Dogs on Show: Shelter dogs will accompany handlers modeling Kathy Kamei Designs jewelry

o   Music by Wayne Caney

Tickets: Individual event tickets are available for purchase. There is also a Dog Day Afternoon Package for guests staying from June 7-11. Guests will receive 10% savings on choice of room and breakfast for two. In addition, the $75 pet fee is waived for guests staying at Cavallo Point during the event with 10% benefiting the Marin Humane Society.

Portions of the Event will go towards The Marin Humane Society:

The Marin Humane Society
Making a World of Difference for Animals

The Marin Humane Society offers refuge, rehabilitation, and support services to more than 10,000 domestic animals and wildlife each year through a myriad of community services, including adoptions, foster care, behavior and training, humane education, pet assistance for people in need, lost-and-found pet services, low-cost clinics, and more. We are a local, independent organization and are not a chapter or affiliate of any national organization. Your support of the Marin Humane Society directly helps animals in your community.

The Marin Humane Society is a registered 501(c) (3) non-profit organization—Federal Tax ID 94-1156562. Our animal adoption, rehabilitation and outreach programs are supported by contributions, grants and bequests for program continuation and expansion. All contributions, including vehicle donations, are tax deductible as allowed by law.

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