Monteray or Carmel

Old Jan 15th, 2009, 01:59 PM
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Monteray or Carmel

We are driving down the California Coast with our two daughters, ages 15 and 16, and want to overnight for two nights in either Carmel or Monteray. Both towns look great so I am having an awful time deciding which one is best to overnight in. Does anyone have an opinion on this of which one is better choice? I've never been there and have never driven the coast.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:11 PM
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I loved both but preferred to stay in Carmel. If you want a charming little place that's not so expensive, try the Best Western Bay View Inn in Carmel, not at all your "typical" BW!
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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Both places are very nice, I love Carmel but there might be more for the kids to do in Monterey. Fisherman's Wharf, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, etc. The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa is a nice option for families in MOnterey. There is also the new Clement Intercontinental there you may want to check out. Monterey is just a few minutes away from Carmel.

Have fun and let us know how it goes! ***kim***
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 02:38 PM
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Three votes or Carmel. Carmel's charm is a major attraction of the area. Staying there enhances the experience. Shopping and restaurants are all within a few blocks walk. Monterey and Carmel Valley are a short drive. Fodor's has many threads discussing which hotel or B and B.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Just to throw a wrench into the works -- I suggestion Pacific Grove as the place to stay. Close to both of the other places, charming main street, great restaurants and prices are friendlier than Carmel.

You can walk to Monterey Aquarium and Cannery Row from Pacific Grove.

Here are some pictures we took last year.

http://picasaweb.google.com/DebitNM/PacificGroveCA2008

Deb
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:11 PM
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I'd stay in PG or Monterey - Carmel is pretty upscale and adult. Plenty of art galleries and expensive shops, but not much to interest teenagers. Monterey, on the otherhand, is really fun for teens. PG is right next to Monterey, has a neat main street, and a good coastline with paved walking and bike trails.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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Thanks everyone for your input. I'll have to check out PG, I didn't even think of that. Carmel looks so beautiful and quaint and where I'd like to stay but looking on the web at Monteray the town looked like they had better beachfront hotels which will come in handy with the teenagers.

Another thing is we will be getting in on a Sunday, I'll have to check if businesses close early, if so the beach will help with any possible boredom factor.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:27 PM
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We took out girls there 2 years ago (Yosemite, SF and the Big Sur drive)and enjoyed the aquarium and just the general sights along the way. We're from Alabama so this whole area was amazing to us. I'd vote PG or Monterey too. Carmel is cute, but not what I'd consider a place to stay. We didn't spend a lot of time there though, so we could have missed some places. I'm not sure what you'd do at the beach though. That was the coldest water I'd ever stepped into in my life !!
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 06:49 PM
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Thanks, How old were your girls? What were your favorite places to visit along the coast?
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 07:11 PM
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Yeah - we don't really swim in our ocean - LOL. Well, I did when I was a kid, but then I used to swim at Donner Lake when there was still snow on the ground At the beach we walk, hang out, make stuff out of driftwood, picnic...
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 07:52 PM
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With teenagers, I would stay in Monterey. The teens love to hang around the pier. There are tourist shops and restaurants on the pier. You can also get whale watching boats at the pier. The sea lions and otters are fun to watch from the pier.

The Monterey Aquarium is a great place for teens also. Another favorite short stop is the Monterey Bay Chocolate factory in Seaside. It is a small, short tour, but we always bought some chocolates there.

My son loved Monterey so much, he now goes to college there.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 08:33 PM
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Carmel is one of the prettiest places to visit in the country. I couldn't imagine staying in Monterey over Carmel.
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Old Jan 15th, 2009, 10:38 PM
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Listen to Andrew. We are the parents of daughters living in Carmel. Our beach is the nicest on the peninsula. Monterey's is seedy. Our downtown is nicer and the girls will love to shop in Paloosh (Ocean & Dolores) and Coach, across the street. There are many nice restaurants and cute boys surfing on 10th & Scenic.

If they want to see the aquarium in Monterey, take them for a few hours.

If they like tea, take them to the Cypress Inn for afternoon tea. The Carmel Plaza is fun for shopping. We have an historic mission on Rio Rd and Pt. Lobos is heaven on earth for hiking. Google these.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 01:06 PM
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I vote for Pacific Grove. Cute like Carmel but much less pretentious. Good restaurants everywhere, and the tidepools are nice and close. Oh, nobody has mentioned it yet but it's MonterEy with an ey not ay.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 01:16 PM
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I loved them both, but really loved staying in Carmel. The beach at sunset is beautiful.. and we enjoyed wandering around the town. But I'm sure glad I saw Monterey too. They aren't that far apart, so you'll be able to enjoy both. We spent the day at the Aquarium and wharf... but then back to Carmel for the evening.

But if I was a teenager???? hmmmm, maybe Monterey near the wharf.
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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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TTess, if Monterey is seedy, do you fear for your life upon entering Watsonville?

As with everything, the Carmel or Monterey question is a matter of taste. Carmel is upscale, quaint, and pretentious. Monterey is more varied - there are some upscale and pretentious parts, some tacky touristy parts, and a bunch in between.

Just about every teenager I know in the area likes Monterey a lot, but thinks Carmel is sort of boring. Either way, Carmel and Monterey are very close so you can visit both very easily.





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Old Jan 16th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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Monterey's beaches - not Monterey! Read it again. Cannery Row is fine but now that you mention it, the wharf is just plain ol' tacky for teens. Hey, maybe your teens like tacky, and that' fine. I don't go to Watsonville so I can't answer that question.

PG is gorgeous. It's great for breathtaking seascapes and tide pools. The rest of PG would be boring for teens.

Mariann, what are your daughters into?

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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 12:02 AM
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The girls are into shopping but I also have a husband in tow who doesn't like shopping so we'll be doing a variety of things. I think we would all like the sea kayaking so that's high on the list. I took the girls to Boston last summer and I was a little disappointed that all they seemed interested in was shopping. But we went to Hawaii over Christmas and they liked trying to surf and scuba dive so they do like a varity of things. Teenagers are fickled so it can be a roll of the dice with them. They use to love aquariums but who knows now, depends which way the wind is blowing on any particular day. I always try to have some adventure built into our trips.

While I am at it I'll ask for another opinion. I had planned on driving down to San Luis Obispo from Monterey/Carmel. It sounds like it is 3 hours away but I don't know how accurate that is given the coastal road. I wouldn't mind trying to tour Hearst Castle on the way down but I need to allow enough driving time so we aren't rushed. The Madonna Inn sounds interesting so we'll probably stay there for two nights, maybe rent mountain bikes for the day and then tour the college.





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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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Mariann,
I kayaked out of Stillwater Cove in Pebble Beach when I visited this past October. I highly recommend using Bob Manix from Recreation by the Sea as your guide. My October California trip report shows some pics of kayaking off of Pebble Beach.

http://www.adventuresbythesea.com/stillwater.html
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Old Jan 17th, 2009, 08:34 PM
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I don't think it matters that much where you stay (Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey), because they are so close to each other - short driving distance - that you will easily visit all 3 areas. Our kids enjoyed it all, but their favorite place was Asilomar in Pacific Grove. We usually got a large room with 4 twin beds; there's no TV or phone, but the conference center was designed by Julia Morgan, and it has a unique California rustic quality. It is right on the beach. A full breakfast in their dining room is included and there are pool tables and ping pong tables in the community room.
www.visitasilomar.com
The Clement Intercontinental Hotel is on Cannery Row -literally on the water and next door to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's in an active area that your teens might enjoy. There is a great walking/bike path along the Bay to the ocean with bike rentals nearby.
Have fun planning your trip. I don't think you can go wrong with any of your choices - just pick the kind of lodging you prefer.
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