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Recreation, Parks & Activities

Family and Children: Recreation, Parks and Activities

Recreation Trail

The waterfront Recreation Trail stretches 18 miles, from Castroville to Lover's Point in Pacific Grove. This popular paved path hugs the coast, following the same route as the old Southern Pacific Railway. The rec trail is the perfect way for families to access the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, the American Tin Cannery Outlet mall, the Edgewater Packing Company, the Maritime Museum, Fisherman's Wharf, and much more. Along the way, bikes and surreyscanopied quadricycles capable of seating up to six peoplein-line skates, and kayaks can all be rented.

There are several places to stop and get a bite to eat on the trail, or pack a picnic and spread a blanket out at Lover's Point. All the while, you will enjoy beautiful views of Monterey Bay, where you can watch sea lions and sea otters in their natural environment.

Dennis the Menace Park

This famous playground is known throughout the state for its whimsical equipment, which includes a drinking fountain inside the mouth of a lion, a swinging rope bridge, a roller slide and a life-sized hedge maze, among others. Young conductors can climb all over the real steam train engine and pretend they are rolling down the track. Created in 1956 by cartoonist Hank Ketcham, the park celebrates the right of kids to be kids. A snack bar sits directly outside the park. Located in downtown Monterey, near Lake El Estero. Open daily at 10am (except closed Mondays in winter months); free admission.

Sports Fun


An impressive 5600 square feet of molded, sculpted terrain with extensive bouldering awaits families at the Sanctuary Rock Gym, where little climbers can hone their skills. Call 831-899-2595 for hours and more information.


Youngsters take to kayaking like ducks to water. It's also one of the best ways for families to experience Monterey Bay marine life in its own unspoiled environment. Tour guides trained in safety will make sure kids receive proper instruction before hitting the beach. For more information, see our Kayaking page.

A great way to take in all of the sights along the recreation trail, biking is a safe and enjoyable activity for the entire family to enjoy together. For more information about biking in Monterey County, including a list of places to rent bicycles, see our Biking page.


Skaters now have their very own skateboard park adjacent to El Estero Lake behind the baseball field. In-line enthusiasts are also welcome at this concrete park. For more information, see our Biking page.

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