Sea Change

Plan a Relaxing Autumn Visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Right in time for the balmy fall days, the crowds have left and Monterey Bay Aquarium is at its shoulder season best. Fewer people means relaxing with more room to roam and enjoy the animals, exhibits, and nearby outdoors for biking, hiking, and beaches. It’s the best of all worlds—warm autumn days on the Monterey Peninsula and mesmerizing attractions like the Aquarium, plus some big bonuses, like whale season and a giant Pacific octopus that’s beautiful, brainy, and mysterious. Get your tickets now to ensure your spot, then enjoy the sea change. Here are the top three ways to relax, refresh, and rejoice in Monterey.

Get Tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Sea the Crowd Pleasers Without the Crowd

sea otters exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium

jellyfish exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium

exhibit at Monterey Bay Aquarium

The animals at the Monterey Bay Aquarium want you to know a little secret: This is the time when they are at their best. Crowd pleasers like the sea otters pour on the charm in less-filled galleries. Get up close and personal with the animals. (Check out the live Aquarium cams.) Sway with the movement of the giant kelp in the Kelp Forest Exhibit. Admire swirling sardines in the Open Sea Exhibit. Come face to face with penguins, sea otters, and sharks! And don’t miss the beautiful, bashful, brainy, giant Pacific octopus. This mysterious animal knows how to keep people guessing!

Get Tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Whale, Whale, Whale, Look Who's Here

Monterey Bay Aquarium

grey whale breaching in Monterey

It’s a whale of a time to be in Monterey! The bay is a magnet for all kinds of sea life, including 27 species of marine mammals and 94 species of seabirds. But the big attraction in fall is whales. This is a good time to see humpback and blue whales, along with dolphins. One of the best places for whale watching from shore is off the back deck of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, basically a front-row seat for viewing the wildlife in Monterey Bay. On-site spotting scopes help zero in on the action, and expert wildlife staff are there to share information and help you see your favorites.

Get Tickets to the Monterey Bay Aquarium!

Relax and Recharge in the Outdoors Nearby

bike on the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail

After first getting some zen time with the floating, flowing, and glowing jellies at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, refuel close by along the 18-mile waterfront Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. Bring a bike or rent one and go for a pedal, past the Aquarium and along the seaside, spying sea lions, passing sailboat docks, and feeling the ocean breeze along this car-free route where the tracks of the Southern Pacific Railroad once ran. Bring a picnic to enjoy at one of several grassy areas overlooking the rocky shoreline.

Pro Tip: If you’ve ditched the gas pump for an electric vehicle, you’ll find charging stations all over town.

Trending Stories NorCal

View all Stories
  1. Up Umunhum

    Rising from the Santa Cruz Mountains, Mount Umunhum is one of the Bay Area’s highest points, reaching an impressive 3,486 feet. With the new 7.4-mile (round-trip) addition to the Bay Area Ridge Trail, locals can finally step up to its peak.

  2. Cross It Off Your Bucket List

    Crosstown Trail San Francisco may be one of the most beautiful city walks in America, passing through less-visited nooks and crannies while also taking in greatest hits, including mosaic stairways.

  3. Kirby Your Enthusiasm

    Just west of the Golden Gate Bridge in Marin is one of the Bay's most-accessible secluded beaches. Kirby Cove is accessed by hiking or biking a 1-mile fire road down to the beach, where the reward is an all-time classic Golden Gate view.

  4. Napa's Wild Side

    It’s wine country’s Amazon. Cutting 50 miles through the famous Napa Valley and emptying into San Pablo Bay, the gentle Napa River is an ecological—and recreational—delight. And Napa Valley Paddle helps you enjoy it.


Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Sponsored

    Weekend Sherpa Podcast: Take it Outside

    Adventure for your earbuds. What's new in the world of the outdoors? Listen to Weekend Sherpa co-founders discuss local hikes, beaches, bike rides, camping spots and all kinds of travel and adventure in California and beyond!

  2. Secret Trail at Torrey Pines

    Find cliff climbs, sandy strolls, and secret hikes throughout “America’s finest sandy stretch" at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego County.

  3. Secluded Royale

    Panoramic coastal views and a killer leg workout combine on this 2.7-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hike to secluded Coast Royale Beach in Orange County

  4. Border Field State Park

    Border Field State Park is the southernmost point in California as well as one of the last beautiful undeveloped coastlines in the state. Visit this natural refuge for a 4.5-mile hike featuring important history and wildlife habitats, plus stunning SoCal beach scenery.