Pause the Holly - Let's talk BEACH. || Monterey on the Cheapie

So after scooping up all the cheap eats we could in LA, we had two choices.  Go down south to San Diego or go north to San Francisco.  
In a world with more vacation days, we would have done both :)  One of the big draws for San Diego?  The WHALES.

Cool whales, yes, but I wanted to road trip baby!  So let's go NORTH!  We decided to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway hitting all the little stops along the way including the sweet little luxe Monterey. OK, so let us be honest. Monterey really cannot be "done" on the cheapie.  My post title was a lie.  This little town is one of the ritziest little towns in the United States and there are no "dives" to be found (believe me we tried!)  However, it can be done without breaking the bank if you are a little bit creative.  Here are a few of our favorites from this coastal city nestled in the middle of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Fisherman's Wharf

This is a classic stop in Monterey, a tourist trap chock full of overpriced opportunities.  We visited the wharf in the morning, spent $1 on parking (it is one buck per half hour I believe) and walked the pier.  The best part were the sea lions (seals?) that crawl up on a dock, bark at each other and try to knock each other off into the ocean.  I could watch them for hours -- Alex not so much :)  In any case, eating here will set you back a pretty penny, but it IS fresh and yummy.  We chose to go downtown....

Monterey Farmer's Market

We happened to be in Monterey on a Tuesday night, just in time for the 4-8 Farmer's Market in the middle of historic downtown.  There are plenty of eating options for $5-10 and everything looked and smelled delicious.  The largest line was at the rotisserie chicken place, but we went for a gyro and a hot-out-of-the-garbage-can naan.  Yes, there was a man with two large, steaming iron hooks, throwing dough around a flaming garbage can and the naan that resulted was delicious, large and only set us back 2 bucks.  I finished off my naan with some soup from Whole Foods (ree-DIC-ulously overpriced), so overall it was about a $15 meal for the two of us.

Cannery Row

Another classic tourist trap in Monterey, Cannery Row is where the sardine canning industry thrived years and years ago.  The famous Monterey Aquarium is in one of the old factories and the chutes crossing the street overhead are where the cans used to go back and forth between the canning and fish factories.  The history is cool -- the prices are not.  We basically just wandered, grabbing a sample at Ghirardelli and splurging on taffy at one of the candy stores.  We spent $3 and picked one of each of the really weird sounding taffy types.  Bacon and Maple was weird and not-so-good and the rest were fine, but no particular stand outs.  It was quite fun to taste test them for a few bucks though :)

Cannery Row Historical Worker Housing photo via -- click photo for more from their tour of Monterey!

The 17-Mile Drive

Next on the List was 17 mile drive.  I wasn't too into it before we started (another 17 miles in the car -- I AM PREGNANT!), but it turned out to be quite nice and relaxing.  Aside from the aquarium, this drive is probably the most iconic touristy thing to do in Monterey.  Basically, the drive is through some poor people's neighborhood (and when I say poor, I mean STINKIN' RICH) until you get to the beaches.  I felt a little weird driving through gawking at the mansions hidden behind the trees, but the BEACHES.  Well, they were worth the $10 pricetag to take the drive.  Just incredible little cliffs, crashing waves and the aptly named...

Pebble Beach

YUP.  That is pebble beach -- see the pebbles?!  The gold course is off to one side of the road, the ocean is on the other and the atmosphere is just other worldy.  Really REALLY worth the 10 bucks just for 10 minutes standing out here on the beach.  Suck it up and pay the admission even though it seems like a rip off for you to drive through a neighborhood.  I would do it again...even while pregnant :)

For a basic outline of the typical touristy hot spots in Big Sur/Monterey, THIS POST is a good one!

So that folks is Monterey....check out our next destination SAN FRANCISCO below!!

Have you missed any of the California posts?  Click below to keep reading!

Cheap Eats in Los AngelesStrawberry Fields and West HollywoodCalifornia's Pacific Coast Highway 1 and Hearst Castle Jimmy Kimmel LIVEMonterey on the CheapieThe Garden Shed and GROW in CambriaSan Fran, Chinatown, Fortune Cookie Factory and Dim Sum

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective, however all content and opinions expressed here are my own.