This park was designed by the creator of Dennis the Menace. It has a real locomotive train engine, large slides, a living maze, tunnels, and original "play structures" to climb on, a rope bridge, hedge maze, sand and grassy areas – toddlers won't want to leave. I took my kids there often.
Open daily 10 a.m. to dusk, summer supervision. Closed on non-holiday Mondays November - May.
on Pearl Street
Spend a day, or at least half a day, at Point Lobos State Reserve, which will rival any area along the central California coast for breathtaking beauty. There's several miles of trails you can hike with incredible views, and some places to have a picnic as well. Often times there's a ranger to answer questions and sell postcards and such. Take a coat, or wear several layers of clothing -- I about froze during my last walk there during the summer. Great for children (watch them along the cliffs, though), and you can usually spot sea animals along the south side of the reserve. Take Hwy One a few miles south of Carmel, there's a sign. Last time I went it cost $7 -- well worth every penny.
Big Sur State Park - Make sure you check out this area. The hiking here is great. There are beautiful waterfalls to visit. You can find this area right off of the 101 Freeway about 20 miles outside of Carmel. This is a picture of Pfieffer Falls at Big Sur.
Ventana Wilderness - South of Monterey before Big Sur are a couple of turnoffs into the Ventana Wilderness. There is great hiking and also a few stands of Redwoods.