Unless you are a cycling enthusiast, you may not know about the Sea Otter Classic—a mountain and road bike event that takes place every April in Monterey. This year the Sea Otter Classic is celebrating its 25th anniversary on April 16–19, when hundreds of pro and amateur cyclists will converge for a weekend of racing and camaraderie. But did you also know that the Sea Otter is a great place to bring the kids? Keep reading for our 10 reasons why you need to pack up the kids and the bikes and head down to Monterey!sea otter classic

  1. Kids 12 and under are totally free all weekend at Sea Otter! They are not just incidental visitors as Sea Otter has a wide array of activities designed just for kids. Insider tip: Arrive early on Thursday or Sunday to have the best chance of avoiding the crowds. The Expo and Kids Zone both open at 9 a.m. so there will be plenty to do no matter how early you get there.
  1. Bring your bikes and helmets. The 12-and-under crew can participate in bike races specifically designed for them at 11 a.m. each day of the event. The races are divided by age and all finishers receive a medal.
  1. There will be no shortage of snacks! Head to the Expo to see what samples are available. Or go to the food court where you can find everything from pizza to burritos. Go green and bring your own reusable water bottles. Insider tip: Bring your CamelBak and you can refill at their station in the Expo.


  1. Look for Skipper the Sea Otter as he hosts the Sea Otter Egg Hunt at 10 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Participation is free for all kids 8 and under. Prizes will be given out!
  1. Need a break from the bikes? Head over to the Wheelie Mobilee to paint, play Plinko or mess around in the Moon Sand.
  1. Keep the kids entertained with the amazing stunt shows happening every day by professional riders such as Ryan Leech and Jeremy VanSchoonhoven. Stay after the shows for autographs. And don’t forget to check out the pump track!


  1. Girls ages 8 to 13 who are looking to get hooked on mountain biking should check out Little Bellas Day Camp that takes place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Sea Otter. This girls-only camp focuses on improving skills and having fun! Sign up for one day, two, or all three.
  1. Dress in layers. The days start out cool and can get very warm. Bring your sunscreen and if any owies arise, head to the Red Cross tent for some TLC from the friendly medics.
  1. Check out the event schedule to see what races will be going on during your visit. Insider tip: The dual slalom and cyclocross are kid favorites.
  1. Kids cooped up in the stroller for too long? Head to the carnival where they can bounce, slide and jump on the bounce houses to their heart’s content! Or take a rest on the grassy area in the Expo.

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Ticket info: One-day passes are available for $15 on-site or pay $50 for a four-day festival pass. Receive a discount when you pre-purchase your festival passes online. Kids 12 and under are free!

Sea Otter Classic
Located at the Laguna Seca recreation area in Monterey, Ca. Step-by-step directions can be found here. Parking at Sea Otter is free. Carpools of 3+ people and those driving Subarus, electric and hybrid vehicles receive preferred parking when available. Check out parking information here.

Online: seaotterclassic.com

Have you attended the Sea Otter Classic with your kids? What is their favorite event? Let us know in the comments below!

—Kate Loweth

Photos: Sea Otter Classic