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Monterey Bay Aquarium, Lover’s Point & Carmel Mission in Monterey, California

Best things to do in Monterey California - Chris Christensen - Bixby Creek Bridge by Venti Views on Unsplash

Bixby Creek Bridge. Photo by Venti Views on Unsplash.

I’m really excited to interview Chris Christensen of Amateur Traveler about Monterey, California. Chris’ tips for the best things to do in Monterey are awesome because he grew up in Monterey County, and has been traveling to Monterey for 60 years. He says that there’s no bad time to visit and you can enjoy its scenic views and incredible seafood all year long.

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Best things to do in Monterey California - Chris Christensen - Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve.

Monterey, California

We share a lot of resources and local suggestions in today’s podcast, but you should also check out See Monterey, the local visitor’s bureau. They are a wealth of information and can help you plan an itinerary based on your time, budget, and interests.

If you’d like to learn how to travel for free using airline miles and hotel points, check out my free 7-day email course.

Best things to do in Monterey California - Chris Christensen - Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

Jellyfish at Monterey Bay Aquarium. Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash.

Getting around Monterey

Chris said the cheapest option is to fly into either San Francisco International Airport (SFO), which is about an hour and forty minutes from Monterey, or San José Mineta International Airport (SJC), which is about an hour and ten minutes away from Monterey. Use our Expedia tool below to find flight, hotel, and rental car options.

Chris says that you’ll need a car to explore all of the attractions in the Monterey area. However, when you’re in Monterey, Carmel, and other cities, it is easy to walk around. Parking is generally plentiful in each area. However, you may need to walk a bit to get to the beach since parking can be tough in Carmel on the weekends. For the best rental car offers, visit Avis, Budget, or Hertz.

Rideshares like Uber and Lyft are excellent ways to get around. When you only need a car for a couple of hours, you can rent by the hour with Zipcar. Join now to get $25 loaded into your account.

Best things to do in Monterey California - Chris Christensen - Iconic Lone Cypress along 17-Mile Drive by Ryan Parker on Unsplash

Iconic Lone Cypress along 17-Mile Drive. Photo by Ryan Parker on Unsplash.

Places we talked about on the Monterey, California podcast

Here is a map of all of the places we talked about on the podcast episode with Chris Christensen about Monterey, California. You can zoom into the map and click on each dot to explore the city.

  • Red dots = best places to eat in Monterey, California
  • Green dots = best things to do in Monterey, California
  • Yellow dots = best places to stay in Monterey, California

Who is Chris Christensen?

Chris is the creator of Amateur Traveler is a popular online travel website that focuses primarily on travel destinations. It includes a couple of audio podcasts and a blog. His travel podcasts were downloaded over 1.7 million times in 2022.

The Amateur Traveler is 18+ years old, and they use Amateur Traveler to teach English at Oxford University and to test English proficiency for employment with the Thailand Foreign Ministry.

Chris has won a Lowell Thomas Award, 5 NATJA awards, and a SMITTY Award from Travel+Leisure as the “best independent travel journalist.”

Best things to do in Monterey California - Chris Christensen

Here are a few of his articles and podcast episodes:

You can connect with Chris on his website and on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

We Travel There - Monterey California - Chris Christensen - podcast one sheet

Click here to download our one-page guide of Chris’ tips for Monterey.

Big thanks to today’s affiliate partner – Acorns

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Best things to do in Monterey California - Chris Christensen - The Centrella Inn Pacific Grove

The Centrella Inn Pacific Grove.

Stay tuned for our next episode

Best things to do in Canggu Bali - Suzie Clark - headshotListen to the next episode when Suzie Clark of Female Leadership Collective shares the best things to do in Canggu, Bali. In this episode, Suzie and I talk about taking a sunrise trek to Mount Batur, visiting the white sand island of Nusa Lembongan, and spending the day at a Bali beach club. We hope you’ll join us when We Travel There.

What’s your favorite part of Monterey? Send us a Tweet, let us know in the comment section below, or continue the discussion in our Facebook group!

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Related episodes for Monterey

To learn more about the area surrounding Monterey check out our episodes below:

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    Great interview. My wife and I have been to California a few times, From New England, and loved the Monterey area. With this interview with Chris, and yes I listen to his podcast as well as we are always looking for places o travel to, and this podcast with it’s in-depth description of places to stay, dine and see is fantastic!!!

    If you could have more of your guests provide the same broad view and explanation of areas that would be fantastic.

    Thanks and fun travels,


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