california travel

A Weekend Guide to Carmel by The Sea, California

A Weekend Guide to Carmel by the Sea, California.

An artistic, storybook coastal town that sits atop a hill overlooking the Pacific. That my friends is a little place called Carmel by the Sea and it’s the most charming fairytale town that is unlike any other. Did you know that the houses aren’t numbered and instead each home has its own name? It’s reasons like this that make Carmel by the Sea so charming.

Carmel by the Sea Hotels

Because of the proximity to Pebble Beach Golf Course, there are a handful of higher-end properties in Carmel to stay in. Here are my top picks:

La Playa Carmel

la playa carmel

We personally choose to stay here and loved every minute of our stay. It is reminiscent of an Italian Hotel on the Meditteranean so we fell in love the second we stepped foot on the property. It’s a short walk to the town and only steps to the beach. Breakfast was included in our stay and the pool and property was very secluded.

L’Auberge Carmel

Another European style luxury hotel, L’Auberge Carmel is a great option since it’s located directly in town, within a block from the main street. Not only that, but their storybook facade has all the charm that Carmel offers.

Cypress Inn

cypress inn carmel, california

A small boutique inn that is located in a prime location. Just steps away from the beach and the main street in Carmel town.

Things to do in Carmel by the Sea

17 Mile Drive

One of our favorite parts of staying in Carmel by the Sea was the 17 Mile Drive. It costs $10.50 to enter the road and about an hour or two to complete depending on how many places you want to stop. Don’t miss out on the Lone Cypress or Fan Shell Beach. Those we’re our two favorite stops on the 17-mile drive!

Point Lobos

Immediately south of Carmel, Point Lobos State Park is one of the most scenic parts of the Pacific Coast Highway. With many easy hiking trails, beautiful flora, wildlife, and views for days! Get here early to avoid the crowds and have the entire park to yourself.

Carmel Mission

The Carmel Mission was built in 1797 and is one of the most authentic Missions in California. The stunning Spanish Architecture alone is reason enough for a visit. Finally, it’s functioning today so if you would like to attend a mass here, you can!

Carmel by the Sea beach

One of the most picturesque beaches we have ever seen. The sand was exceptionally soft and it was not that crowded. Make sure to stay for sunset because as you can see pictured above, it’s pretty magical!

Pebble Beach Golf Course

Voted the number one golf course in the country, Pebble Beach is a must-see for any golfer in your life. However, a round of golf runs $550. It’s definitely a splurge but a once in a lifetime experience.

Rent Bikes

Carmel is known for its storybook cottages most of which can be best enjoyed by a nice bike ride. Carmel is extremely hilly so be prepared when planning your bike route. It’s best to keep your route following the ocean.

Day Trip to Big Sur

Big Sur is roughly an hour away from Big Sur. It’s well worth the scenic drive when staying in Carmel by the Sea. I’ve written a Complete Guide to Visiting Big Sur that you can check out here!

Restaurants in Carmel by the Sea

Not only does Carmel have charming homes, but it’s also bustling with charming eateries to indulge in. Their proximity to the ocean is appealing to many visitors. Below are the top eateries in Carmel by the Sea.

  • La Bicyclette Restaurant – European cuisine, the pizza was great!
  • Dametra Cafe – Meditteranean cuisine.
  • Portabella – Italian cuisine, highly recommended.
  • Cultura Comida y Bebida – Mexican cuisine.
  • Flaherty’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar – I may be partial to the name since Flaherty was my grandmother’s maiden name but this spot is a hidden gem. Known for it’s delicious seafood.


There you have it. Thank you for reading my Weekend Guide to Carmel by the Sea. I hope you have the best time exploring this charming city and for more of my California travel guides head here!

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  • Reply Nicola Lavin

    This place is so charming. It actually looks like stepping into a story book. Your photographs are so good.

    August 10, 2020 at 10:19 am
  • Reply World of Lina

    I wish I had more time when I was in California last year. Carmel by The Sea looks really nice 🙂

    August 11, 2020 at 6:05 am
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