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A Golden Coast Weekend Getaway: My Monterey, California Must-See List

Explorer C

Ever since my obsession with the show Big Little Lies started, Monterey has been calling my name. Earlier this year, I had the privilege of joining the #SouthwestStorytellers team, so when a friend told me he was celebrating his birthday there it seemed like the perfect getaway.


During our short weekend stay, we were able to cover a lot of ground both in and around the city and discover some of the most scenic areas in California. Here’s a list of my top five places to check out the next time you make it to this special part of the golden coast.


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Aloha Coffee and Cafe

I found this spot on our first morning and I ended up going there both days for breakfast. When I’m traveling, I’m always on the lookout for a good cup of coffee and a healthy meal to start the day. This place has great Kona coffee and an amazing acai bowl they top with bee pollen. I was slightly skeptical at first but it was actually quite delicious and nutritious.

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Municipal Beach

Located directly across from Aloha Coffee and Cafe, I’d recommend getting your morning cup of coffee to go to take in some morning rays and get your first smell of that ocean air. It wasn’t very crowded and it’s a great place if you’re a sucker like me for long walks on a beach.

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17-Mile Drive

This was a last minute decision to check out after a day at the beach and it was the best 10 bucks we spent on the trip. From the iconic “Lone Cyprus” to the miles of coastal cliffs and lush forests, this was an Instagrammer’s paradise. I would highly recommend rolling down the windows and cranking up your favorite California tunes to get the full effect.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Getting recommendations for this trip were hard to come by, except for when it came to the aquarium and I will say it exceeded my expectations. All the exhibits are incredibly well done, with the jellyfish exhibit and the sea otter feeding being the standouts.

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Soberanes Point

Our last stop on our trip might have been my favorite. We decided to make the drive to Brixby Bridge (obviously, because it’s in the Big Little Lies opening credits) and on the way back noticed a hill covered in wild flowers with a hiking trail along the side. It was a quick hike to the top and the views of the surrounding coastline were insane and the perfect ending to our weekend.

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I hope this guide helps you when planning your own Monterey getaway! For more on this and other Southwest Storyteller trips check out my Instagram (@robsessed85) or follow the hashtag #SouthwestStorytellers.