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Top Rated Attractions in Monterey

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Monterey Bay Aquarium

Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best designed aquariums in the country, period. A rather stand-out feature of this aquarium is the two-story tank, home to a kelp forest in which swim sunfish, sharks, and the occasional diver tasked with squeegeeing the algae off the tank walls. Sand dabs are displayed in shelf-like tanks ideally suited to the flat fish, and a school of sardines swim in an endless circle in their cylindrical tank home. If you want to interact with some aquatic dwellers, you're invited to pet the bat rays. The jellyfish display is one of Monterey Bay Aquarium's star attraction.

Monterey State Historic Park

This is one of this beautiful city's many attractions. You can tour numerous historic period homes that date back to the 1800s as well as early adobe buildings. Each house is fully restored to its original condition and is decorated with authentic antiques to match. There are also sculpture gardens you can tour. Come experience a piece of regional and European colonial history. Admission to the park is free.

Tor House

Tor House, one of the most prominent attractions in Carmel, was the home of poet Robinson Jeffers and his family from 1918 to 1978. This piece of property located on Carmel Point has an absolutely breathtaking view of the coastline. The property consists of a stone house, Celtic tower and English garden. An hour-long docent-led tour interestingly mixes poem reading with story telling, as well as studying the stones and exploring the secret in the tower. Reservations for the tour are recommended.

Heller Estate

Amassing 120 acres, this purely organic vineyard specializes in Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The estate also includes gardens filled with sculptures by Toby Heller, each of which is related somehow to the tasting experience at the vineyards. Started in 1969, the vineyard is now owned by Europeans and cranks out about 25,000 cases each year. The tasting room is top-notch, and also includes a doll museum and an outstanding gift shop.

Carmel Walks

This inexpensive and spectacular two-hour guided tour takes you through all the hot spots, back streets and secret pathways of this unique town. See places haunted by famous authors and artists. See historical buildings and many off-the-beaten-track places. The tour has been raved about in many, many media outlets including Bay Area Back Roads and USA Today. Definitely not a thing to miss, this is a perfect way to familiarize yourself with Carmel.

Stevenson House

This two level, brick house has been a refuge for many artists, families, writers and people from all walks of life during the early 18th-century. The French House as it was called then was the abode of famous Scottish writer Robert Louis Stevenson where he courted his to-be wife. This is where he wrote the "Old Pacific Capital," and was inspired to pen the “Treasure Island.” To save it from the verge of destruction, it was bought by two women who in turn gifted it to the state to make it a memorial. Today the Stevenson House has many memorabilia that includes furniture, first edition books and personal belongings of the writer.

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