13 Unique and Fantastic Things to do in Marina CA

Marina, the softly windswept bayside town, located on California’s Central Coast was named one of the “100 Best Communities for Young People” by America’s Promise Alliance.

A city that’s unique amongst other Californian metropolises in the way that it’s undeveloped along a large portion of its coastline, Marina inspires the habitation of many rare species of butterflies, sea lettuce, and buckwheat.

Curious about the best things to do in Marina? Read on!

Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.

Seaside California- Fort Ord

The Bureau of Land Management now oversees some of the last undeveloped natural wildlands located in the area, and as a result there are on the Monterey Peninsula over 86 miles of trails that can be traversed on horseback, bike, or on foot.

A portion of the wildly popular Fort Ord Dunes State Park sits alongside Marina State Beach, and it encourages many outdoor recreational activities such as horseback riding, cycling, and fishing.

There are several great places to check out while you spend time in Marina.

Marina State Beach in Marina CA

What to Do in Marina California

Pay a Visit to Marina State Beach

Sloping sands descend right into the sea at this lovely beach, a hot spot for surfing, swimming, and wading. From this beach, visitors can perceive both Monterey and Santa Cruz.

It is also conveniently located near the freeway and has both bathrooms and picnic tables. In the sun-bleached dunes you may even catch sight of or even participate in some kite flying or parasailing.

Go Skydiving in Monterey Bay

For those looking for a more adventurous, adrenaline-filled experience, you may want to check out Skydive Monterey Bay.

Skilled instructors will guide those full of intrigue to jump feet first from incredible heights. This is an incredible thing to do in Marina as well as an unforgettable experience for first-time divers. The staff is very friendly and knows how to make an otherwise terrifying first jump into a leap of faith. More info on their website.

Check Out Fort Ord Dunes State Park

This windy paradisiacal slice of the California coast is enough to calm even the most agitated of nerves. Located at the base of an old military post, huge dunes eclipse around picnickers enjoying views of spectacular waves going through their usual motions.

You can reach The beach after about a ¼ mile trek through a sandy canyon. There are about four miles of beaches to explore. Exercise caution when swimming here as there have been some pretty strong rip currents reported at this location. More info on the official site.

Have Fun at Handcar Tours

This family owned and operated spectacle is not only a great upper body workout, it is also a source of amusement, as visitors can coast along a section of an old railroad track. The cars are handcrafted and the route taken is 6 miles in total (round-trip). Check their site for more information.

Go Wine Tasting at Urban Wine Row

For some immaculate tastings, Urban Wine Row is a recommended attraction for those checking out what Marina has to offer. They showcase some pretty reasonably priced wine-tasting options. Book a wine tasting session here.

Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey CA

Chill at Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium hosts a window for viewing marine life. Spot sea otters, dolphins, sharks, and octopuses amongst other majestic sea beasts while the innate desire to promote marine life conservation is encouraged.

A kelp forest located just offshore is home to sea otters and a variety of birdlife. Bring binoculars for enhanced viewing of the kelp forest. Check more on the official site.

Stroll along Pacific Grove’s Oceanic Boulevard

For some of the best and most expansive views of the sea in the Monterey Area, check out Pacific Grove’s Oceanic Boulevard. Lover’s Point Park sits just at the edge of the Boulevard. There are several noteworthy restaurants to keep you and yours with sated appetites.

Beautiful historical homes and homes-turned-bed and breakfasts dot the area as you cruise down winding pathways. This is simply one of the top activities in Marina CA.

Marvel at Pacific Grove’s Butterfly House

Another interesting thing to do in Marina California is to check out the Butterfly House. The site is nestled amongst innumerable private residences in the neighborhoods of Pacific Grove. The brilliantly colored home features vibrant paintings and a bunch of little rabbits as decoration.

San Carlos Beach in Monterey CA
One of the best things to do in Marina is to spend some time on San Carlos Beach.

Spend Time on San Carlos Beach

San Carlos Beach is home to the Coast Guard Pier, a space well known to be an excellent spot to catch sight of sea otters up close. Around low tide you can watch them playing, napping, and lounging on the rocks. The famed Cannery Row is just a quick jaunt away.

People go out on boats to fish here, and it’s a popular place for scuba diving and snorkeling. Stroll down the pier or walk the sandscape as you look for starfish.

Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey CA

Explore Old Fisherman’s Wharf

Take a walk down the old Wharf and you’ll come across a vast selection of candy shops, restaurants, and other various shops. Described as having more ‘saltwater Taffy merchants than Jersey Shore’, this place effervesces with sound and flavor.

Check out a few of the local stops like Abalonetti and Fisherman’s Grotto. Parking can be expensive here, so often is best you park further away and walk over.

Check the John Denver Memorial

The John Denver Memorial is an excellent place to find solace and hold a place for reverence for a great deceased musician. Located right nearby seaside walking paths, this space commemorates the life of a man whose plane crashed tragically October 12, 1997. It’s easy to access the Memorial right off of Ocean View Boulevard.

Take a Snapshot at Point Pinos Lighthouse

Point Pinos Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in operation on the West Coast. Back in 1855 the lighthouse began a long life of guiding mariners back to shore. It’s just a short walk away from Asilomar.

Learn a chunk of historical information about the lighthouse from the memorabilia and docents stored inside. The lighthouse played a pretty significant role during WWll and continues to inspire nostalgia to this day.

Don’t Overlook Pacific Grove Public Library

The easygoing nature of the library staff makes this a great place to take care of business. Library attendees will be well equipped with plenty of amenities due to the nonrestrictive policies. There is on occasion a used-book sale that takes place in the front patio, where proceeds from the Friends of the Library raise funds.

There’s a kids’ area as well, complete with Disney movies. The library is reminiscent of historical Monterey and contains a whole section of well-preserved documents celebrating the heritage of Pacific Grove. Read more here.

Looking for more things to do on the California Central Coast? Check these other posts:

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