Pacific Grove is a coastal city between Point Pinos and Monterey which is renowned for its charming Victorian homes and beautiful beaches. Top attractions include the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast, the Point Pinos Lighthouse, the Pacific Grove Art Center, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Lovers Point Beach, and Asilomar State Beach.


We recommend that you call the attractions and restaurants ahead of your visit to confirm current opening times.

1.Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Beach
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Asilomar State Beach is a state park that protects a narrow, 1-mile strip of rocky coastline and dune habitat on the Monterey Peninsula. The rocky coves along the shoreline are home to thousands of marine species, and the ocean offshore is protected as the Asilomar State Marine Reserve, which forms part of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The park is accessible to pedestrians by a one-mile wheelchair-accessible trail that winds through the dunes and includes the Asilomar Conference Grounds, conference center built by the YMCA that dates back to 1913 and is now listed as a National Historic Landmark.

Sunset Dr, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-646-6440


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2.Lovers Point Park

Lovers Point Park
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Lovers Point Park, also known as Lovers Point State Marine Reserve is a landscaped community park and a small marine protected area located at the end of 17th Street in Pacific Grove. Encompassing just over four acres, the park features a large grassy lawn, lovely sandy beaches, and rocky outcrops, a children's swimming pool, a beach volleyball court, a concrete fishing pier, and a restaurant and snack bar. The park is a popular spot for enjoying a variety of outdoor recreational activities such as swimming, fishing, watersports, surfing and picnicking and is a beautiful venue for romantic weddings.

631 Ocean View Blvd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-648-5730


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3.Point Pinos Lighthouse

Point Pinos Lighthouse
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Set on the jagged, rocky coast of the Monterey Peninsula, the Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast of the United States. Built-in 1855 and an iconic emblem of Pacific Grove, Point Pinos Lighthouse has been guiding ships on the Pacific coast of California for more than 160 years and still operates with the original lenses and prisms. In addition to guiding vessels, the Lighthouse was a social hub in early Pacific Grove and hosted many dinners and parties in the early 1900s. Set on Lighthouse Avenue, the Point Pinos Lighthouse is open to the public Thursday-Monday with occasional special events hosted by costumed docents.

80 Asilomar Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950



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4.Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Pacific Grove, California

Monarch Grove Sanctuary, Pacific Grove, California
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The Monarch Grove Sanctuary is a nature preserve that serves as a habitat for the thousands of migrating Monarch butterflies that overwinter in the fog-shrouded Monterey pine forests of the Pacific Grove. Home to dense forests of eucalyptus, cypress, and pine trees, the Sanctuary shelters thousands of monarch butterflies who arrive in October and cluster together on the trees for protection. The Monarch Grove Sanctuary is managed by dedicated volunteers who ensure the butterflies are protected during their stay in Butterfly Town.

250 Ridge Rd, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-648-5716


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5.Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History
© Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History


The Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History is dedicated to showcasing the local fauna and flora of the region, including local native animals, plants, geology, and cultural heritage. Established in 1883 by renowned naturalists John Muir and Louis Agassiz, the museum stands as a living field guide of the California Central Coast and features exhibits of wildlife, birds, plants, and geology. Displays include a collection of over 400 bird specimens, including the California condor and the extinct passenger pigeon, and over 100 plant species native to Monterey County, ranging from mixed oak woodlands, coastal scrub, and chaparral, to butterfly host and nectar plants.

165 Forest Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-648-5716


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6.Big Sur Adventures, Pacific Grove, California

Big Sur Adventures, Pacific Grove, California
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Located in American Tin Cannery Outlets, Big Sur Adventures offers fun e-bike tours around the most beautiful sights in Pacific Grove. Tours are available for all levels of bike riders and include exploring some stunning spots such as the 17-Mile Drive, Old Coast Road, and McWay Falls. A range of regular and electric bikes are also available for rental, safety equipment such as helmets are provided, and special group packages and customized tours can be arranged.

125 Ocean View Blvd #122, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-244-0169


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7.17-Mile Drive, Pacific Grove, CA

17-Mile Drive, Pacific Grove, CA
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Hailed as one of the most scenic drives in the world, the famous coastal 17-Mile Drive stretches along the Monterey coastline through the exclusive suburbs of Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove and into the magical Del Monte Forest. The famous coastal landmark winds its way through the gated community of Pebble Beach, which is home to the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links and continues along the coastline, boasting breathtaking vistas and panoramic views. Enjoy this scenic drive, and marvel at some of nature’s riches found including The Lone Cypress, one of California’s best-known landmarks that are situated in the vast Del Monte Forest; Bird Rock, the Cypress Point Lookout and Spanish and Carmel Bays. Take in the magnificent jade fairways of The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill, and Cypress Point.

Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Pacific Grove, CA 93950



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8.Red House Cafe, Pacific Grove, CA

Red House Cafe, Pacific Grove, CA
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The Red House Café is a cozy neighborhood eatery that serves seasonal American cuisine with a European twist in a charming and welcoming space. Named for the quaint red building in which the café is housed, the Red House Café…

662 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-643-1060


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9.Passionfish, Pacific Grove, CA

Passionfish, Pacific Grove, CA
© Passionfish

Passionfish is a sustainable, eco-friendly restaurant that serves Californian-inspired fare and rare wines in a small and sophisticated dining space. The restaurant’s ever-evolving menu features ocean-fresh sustainable seafood, prime cuts of meats that are slow-cooked to perfection, organic salads and vegetables, and delectable desserts, all accompanied by an extensive award-winning wine list of well-known and hard-to-find bottles. Signature dishes on the menu include starters of Smoked Trout Ceviche Tostaditas, Fried Californian Squid, entrées of Sea Scallops, Albacore Tuna, and Arctic Char, and desserts such as Straus Organic Mint and Espresso Mud Pie and Meyer Lemon Panna Cotta. Passionfish is open for dinner, seven nights a week.

701 Lighthouse Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-655-3311


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10.il Vecchio, Pacific Grove, California

il Vecchio, Pacific Grove, California
© il Vecchio

il Vecchio is an inviting Roman-style Italian restaurant on Central Avenue that serves a menu of traditional Italian fare and an impressive wine list showcasing many Italian and California vintages. The rustic-chic eatery boasts comfortable décor, a crackling fireplace, and a warm and welcoming ambiance and serves a menu to match which features house-made pasta and creamy sauces, wood-fired pizza with a variety of toppings, platters of grilled meats and sausage, antipasto and fresh salads, and mouthwatering desserts. Boasting the vibrant and lively atmosphere of a bustling trattoria, divine aromas, and slick, unmatched service, il Vecchio features a massive Carmel stone fireplace built in 1950 and can seat up to 80 diners for lunch during the week and dinner every night.

110 Central Ave, Pacific Grove, CA 93950, Phone: 831-324-4282


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10 Best Things to Do in Pacific Grove, California



Attraction Spotlight: Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History

Located just blocks from the beach and the aquarium, the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in downtown Pacific Grove, California offers guests of all ages a diverse and interesting look at the local environment. Focusing on many different angles, from wildlife to geology, visitors will come away having learned many fun facts about this area of the state.

History

The museum originally opened its doors in 1883, as one of the first natural history museums in the United States. It is among less than 5% of museums of its type to have earned a special accreditation and has held that accreditation for over 40 years. The mission of the museum is to inspire stewardship, discovery, and wonder of the natural world in all guests. They hope to continue to grow and inspire for many coming generations.

Permanent Exhibits

While also displaying a variety of seasonal, temporary, and rotating exhibits, the core of the natural history museum is its permanent exhibits and collections.

- Birds (of Monterey County)- A less well-known fact about this area of California is that it is one of the top five areas in the entire United States to do some bird watching, as it features a diverse population of both migratory and resident birds. This exhibit displays the over 290 different bird species with more than 400 mounted displays. It also features the rare Passenger Pigeon, an extinct bird species that is only on display in 30 different museums.

- Monarch Gallery - This exhibit takes guests all the way through the annual cycle of the beautiful western monarch, a butterfly that migrates to the Central Coast of California in the winter. Featuring mounted specimens, videos, artifacts, and a few hands-on areas, the Monarch Gallery is fun as well as educational.

- Biodiversity Gallery - The Pacific Grove area is well-known for its biodiversity due to a variety of factors including the weather, local geology, and the ocean currents. The exhibits help guests see the beauty through a variety of dioramas and hands-on experiences. It also goes into details about the differences between predators and prey, how and why animals are colored like they are, and more. It includes a large taxidermy collection from the 1800s.

- Geology - The star of the geological exhibit is the enormous 2400-pound jade boulder that was found in the bottom of where the ocean pools at Big Sur. There is also a larger jade display, as well as more information on local mineralogy, paleontology, and geology. There is even an enclosed window to view special, fluorescent minerals.

- Native Plant Garden - Three different spaces were designed to reflect the local ecosystems that are native to the area, which are the chaparral, oak woodland, and coastal shrub. There is also a beautiful butterfly garden, and an area displaying the plants that local Indians have historically used for utility and food. Let the children dig in the fossil pit while visiting as they are even able to take home any fossils that they might find.

There are several other permanent collections to see as well, including exhibits on environmental art, baskets, and the area’s history as a fishing village.

Educational Opportunities

The museum of natural history gives a large variety of different, free field trips and educational programs for students. The website offers a complete catalog of all available opportunities, which are broken down into a few categories. There are class field trips designed specifically for students from pre-k through 5th grade, which last just over an hour and offer over 10 different choices of topic. There are also monarch sanctuary field trips, focusing on the butterfly. All field trips and educational programs must be requested in advance, which can be done by visiting the museum website and filling out the online form.

For students wanting a more comprehensive experience, there are the watershed explorers. This free, multi-day program is designed for children anywhere from kindergarten through 8th grade. It allows children to walk around the watershed and includes four lessons taught by the museum staff. Scholarships are available to help cover the cost of travel.

Shopping

There is a small museum gift shop found on site, which sells a variety of merchandise as well as letting guests can adopt a bird. The Adopt A Bird program is valid for a full year, and guests who take part will have their names displayed alongside a picture of the bird they are adopting. As the museum is a non-for-profit, all proceeds go directly back into helping the museum with its day to day operations.

Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History, 165 Forest Avenue, Pacific Grove, CA, 93950, Phone: 831-648-5716

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