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Carmel Beach

Spot birds or catch waves, then spread out a picnic by a campfire and enjoy the views at this picturesque beach.

Carmel Beach is a long stretch of soft, white sand in Carmel, a picture-perfect town just 15 minutes’ drive south from Monterey. Steady swells make this a popular destination with surfers, swimmers and kayakers. Rent a kayak and paddle out across the kelp beds. Bring a wetsuit, as the water is often cold except in the heat of summer. 

Pack some binoculars as this is a great place to spot Monterey County’s diverse birdlife. Native birds such as herons, hawks and finches circle the beach and often perch in the trees near Scenic Road. Download a bird list from the California State Parks website. 

The town’s easy-going attitude toward dogs makes the beach perfect for strolling with man’s best friend. Dogs are allowed to run off-leash in some areas. 

Sit by the water or in the dunes under one of the many windswept cypress trees. Bring a picnic blanket, some local cheese, a bottle of wine, and watch the sun set over the ocean. Alcohol is permitted, and small fires are allowed on the beach before 10 p.m. 

Carmel Beach shares the coastline with some illustrious neighbors. Just to the north, and clearly visible from the beach, are the greens of the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and Resort. To the South, harmoniously tucked into the rocky outcrop at the end of the beach, is the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Walker Residence. 

Extremely popular with families on the weekends, Carmel Beach is quietest on weekdays. There’s a parking lot on Ocean Avenue and some free street parking on Scenic Road. There are no showers or bathrooms on the beach, but you’ll find amenities nearby at the Ocean Avenue parking lot. Once the midday sun gets too hot, follow Ocean Avenue for cafés, bars, restaurants and people-watching.


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Lodging Near Carmel Beach

See all 332 Properties near Carmel Beach
Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea $245
Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

13th and San Antonio, Carmel
     
    4.3
    of 5, from 470 reviews
    3.5 out of 5.0

    Situated by the ocean, this hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Golden Bough Playhouse and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.8 mi (4.6 km) away.

    Wayside Inn
    Wayside Inn

    Wayside Inn

    7th Avenue & Mission Street, Carmel
       
      4.5
      of 5, from 533 reviews
      3.0 out of 5.0

      Located in the heart of Carmel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.8 mi (4.4 km) away.

      Monte Verde Inn $229
      Monte Verde Inn

      Monte Verde Inn

      Monte Verde Street, Carmel
         
        4.3
        of 5, from 147 reviews
        3.5 out of 5.0

        Situated near the beach, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Galante Vineyards and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.5 mi (4 km) away.

        La Playa Carmel $442
        La Playa Carmel

        La Playa Carmel

        Camino Real at Eighth Ave., Carmel
           
          4.4
          of 5, from 638 reviews
          4.0 out of 5.0

          Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Golden Bough Playhouse, Sunset Center, and Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room. Galante Vineyards and Blair Estate Tasting Room are also within 10 minutes.

          Candle Light Inn $199
          Candle Light Inn

          Candle Light Inn

          San Carlos Street, Carmel
             
            4.3
            of 5, from 688 reviews
            2.5 out of 5.0

            Located in the heart of Carmel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Chamber of Commerce and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.6 mi (4.1 km) away.

            Carmel Bay View Inn $186
            Carmel Bay View Inn

            Carmel Bay View Inn

            Junipero Street Between 5th And 6th St, Carmel
               
              4.1
              of 5, from 1,048 reviews
              2.5 out of 5.0

              Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Plaza and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.7 mi (4.4 km) away.

              Carmel Wayfarer Inn $159
              Carmel Wayfarer Inn

              Carmel Wayfarer Inn

              4th Ave And Mission Ave, Carmel
                 
                3.1
                of 5, from 1,149 reviews
                3.0 out of 5.0

                Located in the heart of Carmel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Chamber of Commerce and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.6 mi (4.2 km) away.

                Pine Inn $189
                Pine Inn

                Pine Inn

                Ocean Ave At Monte Verde, Carmel
                   
                  3.9
                  of 5, from 184 reviews
                  3.5 out of 5.0

                  Situated near the beach, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Galante Vineyards and Carmel Beach. Pebble Beach Golf Links is 2.5 mi (4 km) away.