Season one of HBO’s Big Little Lies put a spotlight on the Central Coast hub of Monterey, from its scenic ocean bluffs to Fisherman’s Wharf, home of the main characters’ favorite (and, alas, fictional) coffee shop. With season two now in full swing, the ladies known as “The Monterey 5” have broadened their range around the county, and have left a fun trail that fans can follow.
A recent People article details the most visible locations in season two, such as the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, where character Jane (Shailene Woodley) now works, and local parks and beach areas such as Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
If you want to follow in the characters' footsteps, just be sure to embrace the leave-no-trace approach that is especially close to locals’ hearts. In nearby Big Sur, residents have launched a campaign urging visitors to take the Big Sur Pledge—a promise to enjoy the region’s beauty without harming it, with guidelines for respecting property, protecting natural resources, camping only where permitted, and driving safely on coastal roads.
The People article also points out that one can find some of this season’s most notable locations in the quaint neighboring town of Pacific Grove. The (again, fictional) coffee shop Blissful Drip is located in the town’s very-real Lovers Point Park; the show built the outdoor café for the show, but gave the pieces (plus assembly instructions) to the city after it was taken down, so there’s a chance it could be reborn.
While you’re in town, stop by the Happy Girl Kitchen, reportedly a favorite stop for series executive producer and star Reese Witherspoon, and try the jams that appeared on the show. Alas, the town has no MJ’s Specialty Fudge shop, where Gordon (Jeffrey Nordling) gets cuffed by federal agents.
As a nice contrast to the show’s “I will not not be rich” sentiment, as expressed by Laura Dern’s Renata, the article also sheds light on some of the real, regular-folks places where the cast spent downtime during filming. Some reportedly stayed, for instance, at Monterey’s Portola Hotel & Spa, which offers regular wine tastings in the lobby, and they kicked back at bowling alley Monterey Lanes (according to the article, Witherspoon has quipped that bowling is one realm in which co-star Meryl Streep does not excel).