Six Family-Friendly Activities in Monterey’s Cannery Row

by Julie Cohn

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Monterey, California is a great year-round family destination, rich in history and culture, with beautiful scenery and a temperate climate.  Most families coming to Monterey are already familiar with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, located in Cannery Row, the historic section of Monterey, but there are also other indoor and outdoor activities in Cannery Row to keep your family busy for days!  Here are Six Family-Friendly Activities in Monterey’s Cannery Row.

Six Family-Friendly Activities in Monterey’s Cannery Row

{I was invited as a guest of Cannery Row Company but photographs and opinions are my own, unless otherwise noted.}

The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail

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Cannery Row Family 2

This 29-mile long shoreline path extends from Pacific Grove to Castroville, with gorgeous views of Monterey Bay.  Families can walk, bike, or skateboard along the path, renting bicycles or a four-wheel surry from Adventures By Sea, located right on the path in Cannery Row.

Monterey Mirror Maze and Laser Vault

Cannery Row Family 18

The Monterey Mirror Maze is a crazy kaleidoscope of color in a fun indoor mirror-filled maze.  Pulsating lights and music baffle maze-goers, and everywhere you turn, you see yourself (and everyone else in the maze), with each twist and turn offering a new surprise until the very end.  Note:  I recommend parents go through the maze with smaller children, as the lights and mirrors may confuse and scare smaller children.  Also, there are strobes and other pulsating lights, so people with sensitivities should take this into consideration.

Cannery Row Family 17

The Laser Vault is another fun activity at the Monterey Mirror Maze, where visitors pretend they are a spy (or criminal) maneuvering through a laser vault (think Mission Impossible).  Race the clock to shimmy through the maze without touching any of the lasers!

Kayak & Stand-Up Paddling in Monterey Bay

Cannery Row Family 7


Photo courtesy of Cannery Row

Photo courtesy of Cannery Row

Rent a kayak, or paddles and surfboard to navigate the waters of the protected waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  On the water, watch sea life play amongst the kelp, including sea otters, harbor seals, and fish

Highway 1 Golf, Games, and Grub

Highway 1 GolfLocated next door to the Monterey Mirror Maze, the Highway 1 Golf, Games, and Grub offers a unique indoor black light miniature golf experience.  Putt-putt your way through famous Rt 1 attractions while wearing 3D glasses, then play video games while you grab a hot dog or burger.

The MST Trolley

MST Trolley

Ride the trolley from downtown Monterey to Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and the Aquarium of the Pacific.  This free trolley is all you need to get around the area, with stops at several parking garages in Monterey.  The trolley is available 10 a.m – 7 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. on weekends and holidays through September.

John Steinbeck History

John Steinbeck Cannery Row

John Steinbeck’s novel, Cannery Row, offered a fictional, yet historically accurate account of the sardine canneries and lives of the people of Ocean View Avenue, Monterey, during the Great Depression.  His character, Doc, was based on his real life friend, Ed Ricketts, a marine biologist from Monterey.  In 1958, Ocean View Avenue was renamed Cannery Row, in homage to Steinbeck.  Take your family on a walking tour of Cannery Row, visiting the places that inspired Steinbeck, and the memorials that pay tribute to Steinbeck and the workers of Cannery Row.  See Ed “Doc” Ricketts house, the original Monterey canning buildings where sardines were canned, and Steinbeck Plaza, with the the new Cannery Row Monument, which highlights some of the iconic people of Cannery Row, including Steinbeck, “Doc” Ricketts, and the Chinese fishermen and sardine canning workers.

For more information on family activities in Cannery Row, please visit Cannery

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1 comment

Shobha 06/17/2015 at 12:34 pm

I’ve never heard of Cannery Row! frankly not sure about Monterey either. Didn’t realise it had so much going for it until I went last month. We are going to have to visit California more!


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