Three days after my husband and I got married this past October, we headed off to Monterey, CA to enjoy our honeymoon for a week. My husband planned most of the trip and it was my first time in California, I had always wanted to go since I was just a little girl and was trilled to be checking it off my bucket list.
We flew into San Francisco airport, rented a car and began our route down the coast to Monterey, CA. We made our way towards Highway 1 opting to take the scenic route.
As we left the city, we followed the windy road which was covered in beautiful redwood trees that opened up to the green hills and Crystal Spring Reservoir.
After our day of flight travel, we were hungry and in search of a quick meal. We drove through a small town about 20 miles out of San Francisco called, Half Moon By.
It had a cute little Mexican Restaurant called Taqueria Tres Amigos, right off the main road. It was exactly what we were looking for with over the counter-service and an all-you-can eat chips and salsa bar. We asked the server what the best item on the menu was and she told us the burritos, so we ordered two and they were delicious! The burritos were so flavorful, the best we’ve ever had! We finished up what we could of our large burritos and continued on our route.
It wasn’t too far from the restaurant when the landscape opened up to the gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean. Coming from Minnesota, any time we get to see the ocean is an extra special treat for my husband and I so, I couldn’t wait to stop and take pictures.
We stopped at the viewing area of Pescadero State Beach. The view was breathtaking, with the ocean water crashing against the rocks all you could see was water for miles. With the wind in our hair and the hot sun beating down on us, we were in pure happiness! My husband reminded me that we had a long drive ahead, so we took a few videos and pictures and continued on our way.
We stopped at a little place along the road, Pie Ranch, which is an educational farm training center which sells local products and of course, pie so we bought a few desserts and continued on our quest to Monterey.
The drive took us about 4 hours taking our time and stopping along the way. We made it to our hotel, Monterey Tides later that day and got all checked in. The hotel offered us a discounted rate for the oceanfront view along with complimentary item of our choosing for our honeymoon, we decided on the chocolate covered strawberries which were made fresh and delivered to our room.
As we made our way to our room, we were thrilled we made the choice to upgrade to the ocean view. Our room was only about 30 yards from the ocean, we could hear the ocean through our window it was so close. We put our luggage in our room and went out to the beach.
After putting my feet in the cold water, we just stood there and took it all in. The mist from the ocean along with the crashing waves on the shoreline and the noise of the seagulls. We made it just in time for our first sunset to the west along the city line all lit up. It was exactly what we needed after a long day of travel and our first night of our honeymoon.
After we got all settled into our room, we headed out for a late dinner at the place we’ve heard so much about and had to try, In-N-Out Burger. We don’t have this franchise in Minnesota so it was a must try on our list of things to do. The burgers were very yummy, although, I was disappointed to find out that they don’t offer bacon, but for the price, it was very impressive. We stopped at the local Target and got a few supplies for the week then headed back to our room and settled in for the night.
The next morning, we woke up just in time to catch our first sunrise. The pink and yellow sunrise over the water was like something out of a movie. After, we decided to head out and get breakfast at a small local restaurant called The Breakfast Club. I ordered the Country Eggs Benedict which was one of the best I’ve ever had, and I have had quite a few. My husband ordered the French Toast which he enjoyed as well.
After breakfast we headed back to our room and got ready for the day. We then headed over to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It was huge, it has all types of different sea creatures and animals.
It even has an area you can hold a few different sea creatures in your hands and an area you can touch the stingray. My husband pet one and it seemed it wanted to come with us it was so smitten with him. The aquarium was a lot of fun and definitely a must see!
Once finished at the aquarium we shopped at some of the local stores along the main road. We stopped in at a restaurant just down the road from the aquarium called, Sly McFly’s. My husband ordered the Fish and Chips which he said was one of the best he had ever had and I ordered the Chicken Alfredo which wasn’t anything to rave about.
We then headed back to the hotel and bought a fire kit and smore kit at the front desk which includes all the items to make your own fire on the beach in the sand along with the supplies to make smores. We found our own little area on the beach and build our fire.
It was the perfect night, with the clear star filled sky and city lights in the distance. We sipped mimosas on the beach while eating smores with the ocean within feet of us crashing on the beach, enjoying the warmth of the fire as the wood crackled. It was my favorite experience from the whole trip and one of a lifetime. Another bucket list item checked off of my list! After our fire, we headed off to bed.
The next morning, I woke up early and headed out to our deck overlooking the ocean of our hotel room to watch the sunrise. As I was watching it, I spotted a whale in the distance and rushed to wake my husband. We watched the sunrise with the whales in the distance as a family of dolphins made their way to the shallow waters to feed. It was another beautiful experience with the sunrise and the sea life in the ocean.
We decided to spend the day at a local state park but grabbed breakfast at another local restaurant called First Awakenings. The food was pretty good but our expectations were pretty high from our first experience at The Breakfast Club. We made our way to Point Lobos State Park after breakfast.
The state park was very large, we parked our vehicle along the side of the road to avoid parking fees, which was a thoughtful suggestion by one of the locals. We hiked our way through the forest to a point overlooking the ocean. We could see the hilly nature covered mountains and the ocean tides hitting the sharp rocks. We took a bunch of photos then made our way to the next point.
We came upon a little shack in the woods with history from the pacific ocean. An old scuba diving outfit and various stories to go with all of the items. After writing our new names in the guest book, which I hadn’t done since signing my name on the marriage certificate, we were on our way back to hiking the state park.
We hiked around the various lookout areas then found ourselves on a path through a small valley with tall grass and nothing too exciting to see. We almost decided to take a different path but choose a random path off the main drag. We hiked our way up the hill and at the top we were awestruck. The view was breathtaking!
The path we chose led up to a main point that over looked the ocean, you could see for miles with no obstruction of view. The teal blue water crashing over the ginormous rocks in the water. It was our favorite part of the whole park! We took many photos of course and captured the memories as best we could in our minds and continued on our way. We headed to the other end of the park through various paths along the edge of the ocean.
At the end we sat on a bench for a bit and took it all in. By this point I was on the edge of a major sunburn, having forgotten the sunscreen in the car. My pale white skin can only take so much sun and was beginning to get a little too pink. We made our way through the forest on a small trail that seemed to take forever, by this time we had been hiking for just over four hours in the 85 degree weather. We made it to the car and decided where we would go next.
We decided to drive to Carmel-by-the-Sea to what all the hype was, we had heard about the small little beach town. We drove through the town which had very high-end boutiques and various shops. By this time we decided we were simply too tired and hungry to do any shopping.
We went to a nearby beach called Carmel River State Beach to check it out. We took our shoes off and walked through the sand checking out the beach. We knew it was way to cold to swim but we put our feet in to check out the temperature anyways. After a few photos we made our way back to the car and decided to get some food.
We found a cute little place called Rosine’s Restaurant a family restaurant with a display case full of every cake you could imagine. My husband and I, each have a pretty big sweet tooth so we decided on a couple appetizers and dessert for dinner. We ordered the calamari and artichoke dip along with the dessert sampler, with our choices of red velvet cake, chocolate cake, and chocolate chip cookie dough cheesecake and a brownie as a side. I know we’re crazy, luckily, he’s my kind of crazy! The dessert was delicious. It was much more food than we thought it would be, and the appetizers were nothing to rave about. Once we finished what we could of our food, we headed back to the hotel just in time to catch the sunset.
We changed into our swimming suits and headed to the outdoor hot tub in our robes provide by the hotel. We were the only people in the pool area, once the sun goes down it gets pretty chilly near the ocean. We relaxed for a bit then headed back to the hotel room for the night.
The next morning we slept in and headed to the hotel’s restaurant, Vizcaino Waterfront Food + Drink for lunch. We made a point to eat at least one meal at the hotel since we hadn’t done so yet. The view was stunning! They have large windows that showcase the ocean views beautifully. We ordered our meals, my husband had a sandwich which he loved and I had the fish tacos, unfortunately, I wasn’t impressed. We finished up our meals and headed to a local tattoo shop.
My husband had been wanting a tattoo of his (now our) last name for the last ten years since his father passed away, the year we started dating, in 2007. He had always planned to get the tattoo but it just never happened. His father’s family is from Southern California, and with us being on our honeymoon in the same state and with me taking his last name, he felt that it was the perfect opportunity to finally have it done. We had set up an appointment with a local artist earlier in the week so headed to the shop, Creative Vision.
My husband explained what he wanted to the tattoo artist who had sketched it up and after a few revisions the artist got started. While getting the tattoo, my husband and I asked the artist for any suggestions of things to do in the area and he suggested a short drive to the Big Sur bridge, a huge bridge about 30 minutes from Monterey.
The tattoo turned out great and my husband was very happy with the result. Once the tattoo was finished, we headed to the Big Sur bridge.
The bridge was so large we couldn’t believe it! I’m not usually afraid of heights but the cliffs along the edge were very steep. We took lots of photos of the beautiful architecture and water crashing below on the rocks. The sun was lowering for the day which allowed for some perfect photos. After taking in the beautiful scenery, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a nice dinner out, making sure to enjoy at least one on our honeymoon. We had been so busy that we hadn’t had a nice dinner out yet.
Once we got back to the hotel and got all dressed up we headed to Old Fisherman’s Wharf, a cute little pier on the water with tons of different souvenir shops and restaurants. Each restaurant had samples of their clam chowder trying to bring you in to their restaurant. Of course, we tried all of them. My husband had never had clam chowder before and I informed him the bar was now set pretty high for him, those clam chowders were so good and fresh, the best I’ve had! We did some shopping and headed to the restaurant that brought us there in the first place, Old Fisherman’s Grotto. The food was pretty good and the service was too. They gave each lady a pink rose at the end of your dinner, I loved it!
After dinner we headed back and relaxed for the rest of the evening, we needed to be up early to head back to the airport to catch our flight. When we woke, we watched our last sunrise together, basking in the moment.
Our perfect honeymoon trip was coming to an end and was the perfect end to our wedding week! We checked out of the hotel then headed back to San Francisco, taking a different route back, Highway 101, the much less scenic route.
We dropped of our rental car and headed back to the airport. We grabbed breakfast at the airport which was surprisingly delicious then waited for our flight.
When we got back to Minneapolis and took an Uber back to our car which we had left at my sister’s place, she lives closer in the city which helped cut the cost back to our home in the suburbs. After a long day of travel, we decided to grab dinner at the place we had our wedding, exactly a week earlier, BLVD Kitchen.
We ordered our usual, the BLVD Burger, which is by far the best burger we’ve ever had along with a side of truffle fries. It was the perfect end to the perfect week and first vacation together, and as a married couple!
If you’re looking for a place to take your honeymoon or just an affordable romantic vacation, we highly recommend the trip. We had so much fun and it was the perfect getaway and honeymoon destination. The memories we have from our trip and the experiences we had, we will cherish for a lifetime!
Where did you and your spouse go for your honeymoon? What was your favorite part of the trip? I would to hear all about it!
“Let the adventure begin.” – Unknown