Monterey is one of my favorite places to visit in California. I do not go there too often since the drive is about an 1 1/2 to 2 hours away from me but when I do go I always take in the beauty that Monterey has to offer.
My favorite things to do while in Monterey is go to Old Fisherman's Wharf and visit with the California Sea Lions. Monterey has some of the best chowder that I have ever tasted. When you are at the Wharf all the restaurants will be serving samples of the clam chowder for you to taste. I always make my rounds to taste the clam chowder and then decide which one I like best for that day but normally Gilbert's or Rappa's have the best at the Wharf from my experience.
There is a lot of wildlife out in Monterey along the bay that you can see such as California Sea Lions, Harbor Seals, Pelicans, Sea Gulls, Sea Otters, Herons, Star Fish and other animals. The Sea Lions are my favorite because you can get close to them because they love to hang out on the rocks that are attached to one of the docks.
There is so much you can do in Monterey besides the Wharf and the Sea Lions like visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Kayaking and also take a trip on a boat to go Whale Watching. One of these days I will need to try my hands at kayaking and also take a boat trip to try to see the Whales. Plus you can see all the boats out in the bay which is always neat to me cause you have fishing boats, house boats, sail boats and other type of boats.
There is also a State Reserve called Point Lobos that is just south of Monterey going towards Big Sur that is also really enjoyable to visit because of all the rock formations that are in the ocean water. My favorite part of Point Lobos to visit is called "The Devils Cauldron" because the waves get really rough in that area and it is cool to see the waves hit the rocks plus just past "The Devils Cauldron" is also Sea Lion Island which the Sea Lions love to hang out on.
If you are ever visiting the California Bay Area I highly recommend taking a day trip over to Monterey.