CarmelUnited States of America

Image for Carmel which includes street scenes, signage and a city

Visit Carmel

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 which includes a house, autumn colours and a sunset

Golden Rectangle

5/5Exceptional!(11 area reviews)

If you're spending some time in Golden Rectangle, Carmel Beach and Sunset Center are top sights worth seeing.

Golden Rectangle
Carmel which includes street scenes, signage and a city

Northwest Carmel

5/5Exceptional!(11 area reviews)

While visiting Northwest Carmel, you might make a stop by sights like Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive.

Northwest Carmel
Northeast Carmel, Carmel, California, United States of America

Northeast Carmel

4/5Very Good!(14 area reviews)

Though Northeast Carmel may not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica.

Northeast Carmel
Carmel Mission Basilica featuring a house, a fountain and skyline

Carmel Point

5/5Exceptional!(1 area review)

While visiting Carmel Point, you might make a stop by sights like Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica.

Carmel Point
Forest Theater Guild featuring theatre scenes and a park

Southeast Carmel

If you're looking for some top things to see and do in Southeast Carmel and surrounding area, you can visit Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica.

Southeast Carmel
Carmel Riviera, Carmel, California, United States of America

Carmel Riviera

While Carmel Riviera may not have many sights to explore, venturing just a little farther will lead you to top things to see and do like Point Lobos State Reserve and Carmel Beach.

Carmel Riviera

Top hotels in Carmel

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Quail Lodge & Golf Club
4 out of 5
8205 VALLEY GREENS DRIVE, Carmel, CA
£112
per night
Jan 28 - Jan 29

Located in Quail Lodge, this golf 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.

4.7/5Exceptional! (1,193 reviews)

"Beautiful setting with easy to walk areas. Truly dog friendly. Staff especially at check-in we’re exceptional."…"

Reviewed on 22 Jan 2020

Quail Lodge & Golf Club
Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Valley Ranch
4 out of 5
One Old Ranch Road, Carmel, CA
£288
per night
Feb 23 - Feb 24

This family-friendly Carmel resort is located in the mountains, 2.7 mi (4.4 km) from Garland Ranch Regional Park, and within 12 mi (20 km) of Carmel Beach and ...

4.5/5Wonderful! (679 reviews)

"The family rooms were spacious and comfy, bath was huge - we all tried it - and the view from the terrace beautiful."…"

Reviewed on 11 Jan 2020

Carmel Valley Ranch
Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café
Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café
3.5 out of 5
3665 Rio Rd, Carmel, CA
£110
per night
Feb 17 - Feb 18

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 ...

4.2/5Very Good! (1,949 reviews)

"Bathroom needs an exhaust fan. Heating unit is a somewhat noisy.."…"

Reviewed on 25 Dec 2019

Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café

Popular things to do in Carmel

Carmel Beach
Image for Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach

4.5/5(59 reviews)

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

Point Lobos State Reserve
Image for Point Lobos State Reserve

Point Lobos State Reserve

4.5/5(39 reviews)

This wildlife sanctuary, a magnet for nature lovers and artists, is a jewel of the California State Park system. 

Carmel Mission Basilica
Image for Carmel Mission Basilica

Carmel Mission Basilica

5/5(3 reviews)

This tranquil 18th-century stone mission and museum offers a fascinating look into 200 years of spiritual and everyday life in Monterey County. 

Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course
Image for Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course

Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course

4/5(1 review)

Enjoy a round of golf in Carmel at Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course. Attend a sporting event or simply enjoy the seafood restaurants while you're in the area.

Carmel River State Beach
Image for Carmel River State Beach

Carmel River State Beach

If a restful holiday is part of your travel plans, Carmel River State Beach might be the perfect place to visit during your trip to Carmel. Visit the area's shops or amble around its seaside.

Bixby Bridge
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Bixby Bridge

4/5(62 reviews)

This single-span bridge is a magnificent feat of engineering that provides incredible views of one of the finest stretches of U.S. coastline.

Top activities in Carmel

The Creative Carmel Scavenger Hunt
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The Creative Carmel Scavenger Hunt

£23

Itinerary It all begins at a scenic spot that's a local favorite. You'll get your quest and learn instructions/ground rules for the game. After a warmup to prepare for this true sport, teams will take off to experience a wide variety of carefully curated locations throughout town.

Scenic 17-Mile Self Drive Tour Mobile GPS Audio Guide (from Monterey and Carmel)
Image for Scenic 17-Mile Self Drive Tour Mobile GPS Audio Guide (from Monterey and Carmel)

Scenic 17-Mile Self Drive Tour Mobile GPS Audio Guide (from Monterey and Carmel)

£4

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Pass By: Old Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, CA We begin our tour at the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Drive down Oliver Street until you hit the pedestrian-only zone. To your left should be an interesting pink building.

California Big Sur (Monterey to Pismo Beach) GPS Self Guided Audio Drive
Image for California Big Sur (Monterey to Pismo Beach) GPS Self Guided Audio Drive

California Big Sur (Monterey to Pismo Beach) GPS Self Guided Audio Drive

£5

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Pass By: 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, Monterey, CA 93953 17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove on the Monterey Peninsula in California Pass By: The House of Hansel & Gretel, between 5th and 6th Ave.

Wine Trolley Premium Package
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Wine Trolley Premium Package

£227

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Stop At: Carmel Valley, Carmel Valley, California Let our Historic Trolleys “Glory” and the “Mona Lisa” take you on an unforgettable journey wine tasting through Carmel Valley, California.

Monterey Puzzling Adventure
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Monterey Puzzling Adventure

£5

Choose your own start time and embark on your adventure. With your smartphone as your guide, go on a brain-teasing and educational walking tour of your chosen neighborhood. Visit a series of locations and answer the questions or solve puzzles to receive your next instruction.

Private 8 Hours Tour To Carmel Luxury Mercedes Sprinter From San Francisco.
Image for Private 8 Hours Tour To Carmel Luxury Mercedes Sprinter From San Francisco.

Private 8 Hours Tour To Carmel Luxury Mercedes Sprinter From San Francisco.

£82

Itinerary This is a typical itinerary for this product Pass By: Carmel River State Beach, Carmelo St, Carmel, CA 93923 Have unforgettable moments on tour in a Luxury Mercedes Sprinter guided by our chauffeur to Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history.

Reviews of Carmel

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
22
5 - Excellent 59.45945945945946%
4 - Good
11
4 - Good 29.72972972972973%
3 - Okay
3
3 - Okay 8.108108108108109%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 2.7027027027027026%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Dec 12, 2019

Bit quiet (due to being off season) as we are young maybe not as much about to do. But lovely place and great beach

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Oct 22, 2019

Check out the Mission Ranch for early dinner, and then watch the sun go down at the beach

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Oct 9, 2019

Paradise!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Sep 27, 2019

Beautiful place but visit Monterey for the real world.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Sep 22, 2019

Lovely

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Sep 19, 2019

Want to go back asap

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