With its close proximity to the city, there's no reason not to get out of dodge and jet down to Monterey for a brisk weekend on the coast. If you're a nature lover like I am—I can't get enough of those adorable sea otters and harbor seals bobbing in and out of the water—make haste. Gray whales and their newborn calves are are making their northern migration to back to their Alaskan feeding grounds and will be far out of town in a few months. Here, a simple weekend package you can write home about.
Breakfast: The Wild Plum Cafe
Eat in or take out at this cozy bakery hidden off the main drag. Try the Northwest Melt (eggs, wild salmon, chives, mozzarella, and local mushrooms) or grab a fruit-filled pastry and a coffee to go.
Lunch: La Bicylette
Think quaint, rustic French eatery. Not to be missed. Pop in for a lunch of artisan cheeses, assorted wood-fired breads, and charcuterie.
Perfect for a romantic date night and still good to the earth—most of what's served here is sustainably fished. Pair perfectly seared sea scallops with a fine wine from their extensive (read: daunting) wine list.
Boutique hotel: Casa Munras
Avoid the tourist mayhem of Cannery Row and check into this boutique property that's part of the Larkspur Collection of hotels. Rates this time of year range from $109-$169, far better than neighboring hotels and B&Bs for what you get. Bonus: there's a heated pool that's hot enough even on cold nights.
Bed and breakfast: The Old St. Angela Inn
Only a few miles from Monterey is the sleepy Pacific Grove where you'll find this cozy B&B that's been around since the early 1900s. Its nine rooms book up quickly, so plan ahead. Bonus: It's only a block from breathtaking rugged coastline.
Whale watching: Mothers with their calves will travel along the Monterey coastline mostly through April and May. April also brings the arrival of the first humpback whales who feed around Monterey Bay during summer and fall. More info here.
Hiking: Once you've gotten your coastline fix, head inland to the highest point on the peninsula, Jack's Peak. There's an easy/moderate 2.5-mile hike that presents pretty stunning views of Monterey Bay and Carmel Valley. Weekend Sherpa has the scoop.