Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small town just south of Monterey, and is frequently named one of the United States' top tourist destinations thanks to its white-sand beaches and small, charming town centre. Carmel’s tucked-away courtyards and alleys are abuzz with antique stores, art galleries, restaurants, spas and boutiques, and shopping mall Carmel Plaza has more than 40 shops and restaurants set within a garden patio. The town’s most famous resident is Clint Eastwood, who was the local mayor from 1986 to 1988, and owns a restaurant near to Carmel Beach.
Carmel is also noted for its dog-friendliness – in fact, the shopping centre has a drinking fountain for four-legged friends, known locally as the ‘Fountain of Woof’.
Accommodation in Carmel
The small beach city offers a wide range of two- to four-star accommodation, from pet-friendly hotels to adventure sport inns. In fact, Carmel is well-known for its large number of independently-owned inns, which boast unique features and a friendly vibe. Choose to stay near a dreamy Californian beach or besides a picturesque vineyard. Whatever your preference and budget, you'll be guaranteed a warm welcome.
Top Beaches in Carmel
Sited in Carmel-by-the-Sea itself, Carmel Beach draws surfers and dog walkers to its sandy shores. Locals and tourists bring picnics and wine to the beach in the evening to watch glorious sunsets. You're even allowed to light a small fire on the beach to keep you warm as the day draws to a close. One mile south of Carmel Beach is Carmel River State Beach, which appeals to divers, kayakers, surfers and bird-watchers.
Carmel's Top Attractions
Take a tour of Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo (Carmel Mission), the second mission to be built in California during the Spanish period. Established in 1771, the mission is worth a look for its peaceful garden and stone Basilica filled with 18th-century artworks.
Hire a bicycle and cycle the 17-Mile Drive that hugs the coast between Carmel and Pacific Grove, and is lined with glorious beaches, golf courses and huge mansions. Keep your eyes peeled for a 250-year-old cypress tree that's thought to be the most photographed tree in North America.