It’s around this time of year that Canadian explorers start to look past our own backyards for adventure in search of sunshine, snow-free trails and inviting waters.

Luckily, we don’t have to travel far to find those summertime vibes.

Monterey County boasts double-digit temperatures in Canada’s chilliest months. Take a drive or book a flight to California’s central coast and soak in the blue skies on these outdoor adventures.

1. Hiking

Lace up your boots and hit the trails! From the rocky coastline to desert-dusted hills, Monterey County’s natural scenery is best explored on foot. America’s newest National Park, Pinnacles, has been treasured and visited since the late 1800s, but was only recently named a national park in 2013. It features talus caves and volcanic rock along 30 miles (48 kilometres) of hiking trails, including a kid-friendly 2.2-mile (3.5-kilometre) loop. Bring your four-legged hiking buddy to Garland Ranch Regional Park, where steep trails offer you and your pup a workout. For dramatic ocean views, trek the Skyline Self-Guided Nature Trail in Jack Peaks County Park.

 

2. Kayaking

Spot sea lions, harbour seals and rescued sea otters in the gentle waters of Elkhorn Slough. Hundreds of released sea otters bob in the salty waves, thanks to a program initiated by the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Outfitters such as Adventures by the Sea can get you geared up for a kayaking trip. Be sure to wear quick-dry clothing and sunscreen, and plan your visit around the tide to maximize your time on the water.

 

3. Whale Watching

Cruise into the open ocean and keep your eyes peeled for marine life. Blue whales, gray whales and humpbacks migrate through the area seasonally, while other whale species stick around all year. If you’re extremely lucky, you might spot a beaked whale or a sperm whale. You can find several whale-watching companies at Fisherman’s Wharf, including Discovery Whale Watching, Monterey Bay Whale Watch, Princess Monterey Whale Watching and Chris’ Fishing and Whale Watching.

 

4. Scuba Diving

If you’ve swam, surfed or paddled in winter, you might be hesitant to dive back in to the ocean at this time of year. But the water in Monterey County is no match for wetsuits provided by outfitters such as Break Water Scuba. Take the plunge into the Monterey Bay for the opportunity to see magical Metridium Fields, sunlit kelp forests, colorful star fish, sea otters, dolphins and more.

 

5. Golf

Sometimes, you don’t need to work up a sweat on an epic adventure—just get outside and golf. Monterey County has several golf courses to choose from. Bayonet and Blackhourse offer 36 recently renovated holes on courses previously reserved for military members. Now, visitors can book a tee time on the same greens used by many PGA Tour players. Even if you’re not a fan of the sport itself, the gorgeous views of Monterey Bay will win you over.

 

When exploring Monterey County, remember to always visit responsibly. Respect the wild places by following Leave-No-Trace guidelines and supporting local companies that contribute to the community.

   

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