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Carmel, CA
Travel Guide

Carmel featuring a house and autumn leaves

This charming oceanfront town is a perfect day-trip for art, food and relaxation. 

Carmel-by-the-Sea offers eclectic architecture, streets rich in bohemian history, and a laid-back lifestyle. Spanish explorers and missionaries first claimed the area around Carmel in the 17th and 18th centuries. It wasn’t until the after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that the sleepy hamlet began to develop into a charming and ecclectic town that continues to draw art lovers and romantics.

Carmel’s heady bohemian days may have long passed, but the city is still fully engaged in the arts and determined to preserve the small community’s characteristic atmosphere and aesthetic. Several artists have served as mayor, including actor and director Clint Eastwood. Historic theaters, including the Sunset Theater and Forest Theater, are still thriving. Check local guides for current productions. There are over 80 art galleries dotted throughout the downtown area, which is impressive for a town with a population of less than 4,000. Pick up a Carmel Gallery Guide or simply take a wander.

Architecture is one of Carmel’s main attractions. Don’t miss Tor House on Carmel Point. Once the home of renowned American poet Robinson Jeffers, the house was built by Jeffers himself with stones collected from the beach below. This extraordinary home features a 40-foot (12-meter) tower embedded with stones from around the world, including the Great Wall of China. Walker Residence is another of the city’s architectural marvels. This modern stone building sits just above the beach and was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Ocean Avenue is the old town’s busy hub and is perfect for people-watching. There are over 500 boutiques to explore, and plenty of excellent cafés and restaurants. Monterey County’s reputation as a commercial fishing hub means the seafood is fresh and abundant. Carmel is also close to the California wine region, resulting in wine lists that are long and impressive. The city is renowned for its relaxed attitude towards dogs, and that includes the beach and many restaurants.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a 15-minute drive from Monterey and is accessible by bus from downtown Monterey. Once you arrive, it’s best to sightsee on foot. Pick up a self-guided tour map or join one of the fascinating two-hour Carmel Walks.

Where to stay in Carmel

Carmel Mission Inn
Carmel Mission Inn
3.5 out of 5
3665 Rio Rd, Carmel, CA
The price is $254 per night from Jun 28 to Jun 28
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Barnyard and Carmel Mission Basilica. Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive are also within ...
4.1/5Very Good! (951 reviews)
"Nice place nice location definitely come back again"

Reviewed on Jun 19, 2021

Carmel Mission Inn
Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Quail Lodge & Golf Club
5 out of 5
8205 VALLEY GREENS DRIVE, Carmel, CA
Free CancellationReserve now, pay when you stay
The price is $495 per night from Jul 5 to Jul 5
Located in Quail Lodge, this luxury hotel is 3.7 mi (5.9 km) from The Barnyard and within 12 mi (20 km) of Monterey Museum of Art and Monterey Symphony.
4.6/5Exceptional! (984 reviews)
"Very professional and friendly staff. Rooms and grounds are clean and very nice"

Reviewed on Jun 14, 2021

Quail Lodge & Golf Club
La Playa Carmel
La Playa Carmel
4 out of 5
Camino Real at Eighth Ave., Carmel, CA
The price is $449 per night from Jun 29 to Jun 29
Located in Golden Rectangle, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Golden Bough Playhouse, Sunset Center, and Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room. Galante Vineyards ...
4.4/5Wonderful! (978 reviews)
"Beautiful hotel with wonderful grounds and friendly staff."

Reviewed on Jun 16, 2021

La Playa Carmel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.
Carmel Special. Beautiful Private Cottage
Carmel Special. Beautiful Private Cottage
Carmel, CA
Situated in Carmel, this cottage is within 2 mi (3 km) of Forest Theater Guild, Carmel Beach, and 17-Mile Drive. Carmel Mission Basilica is 1.3 mi (2.1 km) ...
4.7/5Exceptional! (50 reviews)
Carmel
"Great location to do everything."

Reviewed on Jun 16, 2021

Carmel Special. Beautiful Private Cottage
New Listing! Ocean-view Getaway W/ Beach Access 3 Bedroom Home
New Listing! Ocean-view Getaway W/ Beach Access 3 Bedroom Home
3.5 out of 5
One Ocean Ave, Carmel, CA
Located in Golden Rectangle, this golf condo building is within a 10-minute walk of Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. Pebble Beach Golf Links and Carmel Mission ...
New Listing! Ocean-view Getaway W/ Beach Access 3 Bedroom Home
Beautiful and Sunny Carmel Guest House
Beautiful and Sunny Carmel Guest House
Carmel, CA
Situated by the sea, this romantic vacation home is 2 mi (3.2 km) from Folktale Winery and Vineyards and within 6 mi (10 km) of Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. ...
4.9/5Exceptional! (17 reviews)
A beautiful, clean property in the most gorgeous spot.
"We had a lovely few days in Carmel. The house was spotlessly clean and was really comfortable."

Reviewed on Jun 15, 2021

Beautiful and Sunny Carmel Guest House
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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