Top Things to Do in Pacific Grove, California

  • 01 of 06

    Take a Scenic Drive

    Overview of Pacific Grove coastline.
    ••• Coastline in Pacific Grove. Doug Steakley / Getty Images

    Pacific Grove is one of the Monterey Peninsula's overlooked treasures. People just get too excited to see Monterey and Carmel and they don't take the time to check out the town in between. That's too bad because it's just full of things you really want to see and do.

    If you're looking for the best that Pacific Grove has to offer a visitor, try these things to do. 

    If you like them so much that you want to spend an entire day or weekend there, here's how to do it

    Pacific Grove's waterfront runs along the edge of the Monterey Bay between the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Pebble Beach. The town doesn't allow development on its waterfront, which leaves every one of its beaches and scenic points natural and unobstructed.

    You can take a drive along the coastal road in Pacific Grove and see sights as beautiful as the famous 17-Mile Drive, without paying an entrance fee. The road passes along the coastline of the Monterey Bay past Lover's Point, near a scenic...MORE lighthouse and to some breathtaking vista points, and you can see it all for free.

    This link will take you to map that shows the route.

    Continue to 2 of 6 below.
  • 02 of 06

    Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary

    Migrating Monarch butterflies in Monterey Bay California horizontal
    ••• Monarch Butterflies. milehightraveler / Getty Images

    Gorgeous orange and black monarch butterflies spend one winter of their life cycle in the trees in Pacific Grove, where they sleep in big clusters in the trees to keep warm. In the morning, they wake up in the morning and take flight, looking like bunches of orange leaves fluttering into the sunshine.

    The city takes its role as a home for the migrating monarchs so seriously that they enacted a law making it a misdemeanor to kill or threaten a butterfly. If you break it, you could pay up to a $1000 fine.

    The Monarch Grove Sanctuary is on Ridge Road between Lighthouse Avenue and Short Street. Find out about it and more places to see the monarch butterflies.

    Continue to 3 of 6 below.
  • 03 of 06

    Point Pinos Lighthouse

    Point Pinos Lighthouse
    ••• Point Pinos Lighthouse. ©2007 Betsy Malloy Photography. Used by Permission.

    Point Pinos Lighthouse in located just a short distance from the coast and it's well worth a stop when it's open.

    To start, it's the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the West Coast (since 1855). It had not just one but two woman light keepers, and it's in one of the most beautiful locations on the coast. The design is also unique, and you may see deer walking on the golf course next door.

    Check out its fascinating history and find out how and when to visit.

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  • 04 of 06

    Victorian Architecture

    Dr Hart's Mansion - Pacific Grove, CA
    ••• Dr Hart's Mansion in Pacific Grove. photo by Chris Axe / Getty Images

    Some of Pacific Grove's "painted ladies" Victorian-style houses are as lovely as their sisters in San Francisco. And there are plenty of them. ​​The Pacific Grove Heritage Society has approved more than 500 of them to wear green plaques showing the year they were built and their original owner.

    Several of the Victorian beauties are now bed and breakfast inns, but there are plenty of beautiful examples all over town, and you can take a self-guided walking tour around town to see some of them.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06

    Asilomar State Beach

    Walking on Asilomar Beach at Sunset
    ••• Walking on Asilomar Beach at Sunset. Myles Tan/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    This pretty beach is the last stop before you reach Pebble Beach and the 17-Mile Drive. It has a gentle slope, rolling waves and lots of sand. It's popular with locals, and even if you don't want to get sand between your toes, there's also a beautiful cliffside walk, too.

    It's close enough that you can walk to the Asilomar Conference Center to see the thirteen buildings on the grounds which were designed by Hearst Castle architect Julia Morgan.

    Get all the details and tips in the Asilomar Beach Guide.

    Continue to 6 of 6 below.
  • 06 of 06

    17-Mile Drive

    Pacific ocean waves crash the rocky beach coast in California on the 17 mile drive in Carmel Monterey USA.
    ••• View on the 17-Mile Drive. Paul Giamou / Getty Images

    You'll pay a fee to drive through the exclusive Pebble Beach community on the 17-Mile Drive, but even though the scenic drive mentioned above is just as pretty, it does offer bragging rights to say you've been there.

    The 17-Mile Drive also has some pretty fantastic views and fabled sights. Use this guide to find out what there is to see - and discover a little-known tip that can help you get your entrance fee refunded.