Situated on the Monterey peninsula, Carmel-By-The-Sea is a beautiful town right on the Pacific Ocean and its famous Carmel Beach. Charming in architecture and layout, the entire town is walkable and was incorporated in 1916. Now that there is a new daily non-stop flight from Dallas direct to Monterey, this gorgeous little destination full of art, culture, antiques and divine restaurants should be on your immediate travel list!
This unique town of 3,000 residents and 900 dogs has some fun facts you will notice immediately. There are no street addresses. None. The town chose to operate with one central post office and still does. Some homes have names on them and you can find any establishment easily. There are no chain restaurants or fast food establishments. None. You won’t miss them because there are so many great restaurants, coffee shops and wine tasting rooms! It’s rated as the #1 dog-friendly town in America. Pets are welcome everywhere – hotels, shops and restaurants and of course, the beach. There is a permit required to wear high heels (more below). Clint Eastwood is the former Mayor of Carmel-By-The-Sea (1986-88) and still lives nearby. Until her recent passing, Doris Day was also a longtime resident.
The American Airlines regular air service began April 2 and operates through November 3, 2019. The daily flight departs Dallas at 9:15am arriving Monterey at 10:46am. This is such a convenient flight because the drive from Monterey airport to Carmel-By-The-Sea is a short 15 minutes. You’ll arrive, get checked into your accommodations and be enjoying lunch by noon! Often referred to as Carmel, the actual town is called Carmel-By-The-Sea with the surrounding area to the south being Carmel Highlands and Carmel Valley. To the immediate north is a beautiful 17 mile drive to Pebble Beach. Unless you want to explore any of the surrounding areas, you will not need a car. I chose not to have one and walked the entire time I was there. In looking at my iPhone, I logged 10,000 steps a day.
Located on the stunning Pacific coast of California, Monterey County is home to rugged cliffs, cobalt blue waters and endless rolling green hills. Monterey County’s coastline spans miles of scenic views of Big Sur, Highway 1, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove, and more. While all of these locations are certainly worth exploring, I concentrated only on Carmel-By-The-Sea. I’m detailing my stay with descriptions underneath each picture below. In addition to exactly what I did, I got a lot of recommendations from my followers on social media and wanted to include those as well. You will see those at the very bottom of this blog post.
I did this trip by myself and felt completely safe. It’s a little hard to take pictures, explore and keep up with social media while on a press trip but I think I captured enough to give you the flavor of this charming California town. My trip was 3 days/2 nights and I would have loved another day/night. A long, four day weekend would be a perfect stay! Carmel-By-The-Sea has a magnificent Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center with lots of resources and maps. Be sure to visit their office.
In my opinion, this is a place for couples, a girls trip, golf outing, hikers, shoppers and anyone who loves a good meal. There’s even a Historic Walking Tour that you can take. While I’m certain there’s lots of kid friendly things to do, I didn’t see any families with young children when I was there. If you love wine, you’re in luck! Wine tasting rooms are abundant and often feature local wines.
Have you been to Carmel-By-The-Sea? Be sure to leave a comment on the blog today. I would love for all of us to share our recommendations and use this blog post as a resource! Haven’t been? I highly recommend traveling to this wonderful little town and enjoying all that it has to offer.
xoxo – Tanya
my carmel-by-the-sea trip details
At the foot of Ocean Avenue, Carmel Beach is one of the most iconic spots on California’s Central Coast and is rated “One of America’s Top Beach Towns.” From morning to night Carmel Beach attracts visitors and locals alike to take in the majestic scenery and fun activities. The Scenic Bluff Path is a well-maintained gravel pathway that parallels Scenic Road just above Carmel Beach. There are eight stairways accessing the white sand beach below. The trail meanders through the shade of Monterey cypress and landscaped gardens to Carmel Point. It’s great for walking, as the white sand beach path is really wide.
Lunch at Hog’s Breath: Formerly owned by Clint Eastwood and sold to his good family friend Kaiser Morcus, a seasoned restaurateur, hotelier, grocer, butcher and entrepreneur. They offer all natural and hormone-free USDA PRIME beef, free range organic chicken, sustainable/wild seafood and fresh, local produce. They use organic products as much as possible and make their desserts, dressings and sauces in-house. I enjoyed lunch outside and ordered the Dungeness Crab Cake and Heirloom Tomato Salad. The perfect lunch combo!
I don’t usually take a lot of selfies, but a girls got to do what a girls got to do! Carmel Beach is gorgeous but remember it’s the Pacific Ocean so it’s a bit chilly!
This beautiful door is on Ocean Avenue. I believe it is a private residence. I just love it, as it reflects the ambiance of this quaint little town. I would have taken a picture by the door but no one was walking by. Oh well.
At Vesuvio, Chef Pèpe’s culinary style will take the so called “Mediterranean Diet” to the next level. The food is divine and I simply couldn’t finish everything I ordered. What you see here is the Truffled Gnocchi appetizer with melted fontina cheese and parmigiano. To die for! My entree was the Sgt. Pepe’s “1944” classic meat lasagna. Pèpe will call his cooking style at Vesuvio the “Italian Lifestyle Diet”. I call it true Italian at its best! Pepe originates from Hoboken, New Jersey and he uses family recipes. Bravo!
A permit is required to wear high heels (no I’m not kidding)! Don’t worry, local police ignore it. As a memento of one’s visit to Carmel, high heel permits are available without charge at City Hall. The ordinance, legislated in the 1920s, was designed to protect pedestrians from various road and sidewalk hazards and protect the village from liability. Stop by City Hall to request a high heel permit for a fun memento of your time in Carmel-by-the-Sea. I got mine! Plus, city hall is adorable.
My very first meal after I arrived and checked in at my bed & breakfast. Etats-Unis means United States, which represents Chef Peters menu choices and cooking techniques. Incorporating local ingredients into traditional French cooking has always been a passion of his. I told them to surprise me with the house favorite so this is their delicious Bouillabaisse featuring local catch with a spicy mango baguette. Per French tradition, they serve omelettes and crepes too!
If one thing defines Carmel-by-the-Sea, it is the charming courtyards and secret passageways. The courtyards began in the 1920s, when Hugh Comstock’s fairytale houses and shops were built. Downtown is peppered with 41 passageways and courtyards, each one different, and many are lined with unique shops, galleries, and restaurants waiting to be discovered. This is one of them that I snapped while exploring art galleries, antique shops and retail stores.
Art galleries: There are many art galleries, local artists, art events and workshops in Carmel-By-The-Sea. While I’m at it, the antique shops are very nice too! This particular art gallery is Classic Art Gallery.
OK, don’t judge me. I indulged big time at Carmel Bakery! This little bake shop has been there since 1899 and also run by Chef Pèpe. If you watched my Instagram Stories while I was there you saw the delicious baked goods. SO GOOD and worth the calories!
Stay at the Carmel Country Inn. This Carmel-By-The-Sea Bed and Breakfast offers spacious accommodations with one & two bedroom suites and romantic studios, all with fireplaces and luxury baths. It is pet friendly, as is most of the town. A daily bountiful breakfast is included and you’ll get to chat with Amy Johnson, the Inn Keeper. Don’t miss Mr. Big – he’s the resident cat.
There are many Inns and Bed & Breakfasts in Carmel-By-The-Sea. Here is a list that will help you with your booking.
A favorite of returning guests, I stayed in the deluxe king studio on the second floor, featuring a beautiful balcony adorned with fresh flower boxes, a king sized bed opposite the fireplace, flat screen TV and a luxury bath with an oversized soaking tub and separate shower. The weather was glorious and I had my balcony doors open during the day. Breakfast is served daily from 8:00 – 10:30 AM. You can eat it in the lobby kitchen or take your tray to your room.
All of my outfits that I packed are linked in this blog post. I wore a denim jacket daily because it’s pretty chilly. When the sun was out I simply took off the jacket. Temperatures were in the mid 50’s – mid 60’s.
Dinner at Anton & Michel: Located at the Court of the Fountains on Mission Street between Ocean and Seventh. They are known for their excellence in food and wine, attentive service, and gracious hosting for over three decades. It’s the 2nd oldest restaurant in Carmel-By-The-Sea. Fresh, creative California cuisine and an award-winning wine list. My meal was exquisite. Just when I was finishing my entree (daily grilled fish special), they insisted that I have dessert and coffee. Next think I know, Maitre D’ Luiz Ferreira is performing a magnificent display while making me Bananas Foster. I’ve never been so full (and happy) after a meal!
Shopping: There is world class shopping in Carmel-By-The-Sea! Opt for the local boutiques who carry magnificent luxury brands. This particular store is Augustina’s, which I loved. Be sure to stop by Girl Boy Girl too. My absolute favorite shop was Jan de Luz Linens. They have the most divine linens and do embroidering onsite.
recommendations from my readers:
Wine tasting rooms: Shale Canyon Wines, Vino Napoli, Scheid Vineyards, Galante Vinyards
Dine: Treehouse Cafe, Wagon Wheel, Casanova, Tuck Box (for the scones and tea), La Bicyclette, Misson Ranch, Grassings, Cafe Rustica
Shop: Carmel Bay Company, Paloosh, Diggity Dog
Stay: Cypress Inn, L’Auberge Carmel, Normandy Inn, La Playa Carmel
This trip was gifted by Visit Carmel-By-The-Sea. All selections and opinions are my own.Tags: california, USA
I forgot Anton and Michel ! Eaten there many times for dinner. Love that dress you found at Augustinas. Will give them a call. Glad you had such a nice trip, next time do take the 17 mile loop and stop for lunch at Pebble at hole 18 and at sunset The Inn at Spanish Bay for cocktails by the outdoor fireplace and the bagpipers. You went right before the US Open playing at Pebble before Fathers Day, timing was perfect.
Oh yay! Thanks for all of your great input Kris.
Great list of suggestions! Carmel is one of my favorite places to visit! Thanks for sharing!
Glad you like this travel guide Cindy.
xoxo- Tanya 🙂
Oh so beautiful. I’ve never been but it’s surely one of my top choices. I’ll keep your article for recommendations. Thanks for all the reviews – everything looks wonderful.
You would absolutely LOVE it. So charming! I can’t wait to go back!
Love to see a nearby town through a visitors eyes. We’re due for a return trip soon – dogs or no dogs – and i’ll be using your post as my guide.
So glad you liked it. Let me know what you do and see!
Is there any uber available in the area?
When I was there, yes. However, due to the pandemic, I’m not sure what ride share operations are currently servicing the area.
Tanya, this is one of the best Carmel guide i’ve ever read. your photos looks so amazing