Published: December, 2017

Carmel, California

Carmel Beach - It never gets old. Perfect for strolling, exploring and relaxing from sunrise to sunset...
— Megan Escher
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, Beach, City
  • Activity level: moderate
  • Ideal length of trip: LONG WEEKEND

to & from

  • Time it right and the drive can be two hours from San Francisco - in can take up to 3.5 hours if you get stuck in traffic. Use Waze - Sometimes it will guide you through the back roads along the beautiful agricultural fields of the area.
  • Monterey airport has several regional flight options. San Jose airport is 70 miles North. SFO is 110 miles North.
  • Uber easy to book once in town - but most everything is walkable - Bring flats or get a permit for high heels.

Where to Stay

  • Auberge Carmel - Relais & Châteaux. Great Location. Good for Couples.
  • Hotel Carmel - Recently updated classic Carmel drive in motel. Has a communal outdoor fireplace/lounge area and hot tub. Brophy’s is an updated sports bar attached to the hotel. Great for game days and worth a visit for the old school jukebox - hours of entertainment in itself!
  • La Playa- Classic, quiet location. Has a pool, oversized outdoor chess, and a beautiful terrace cafe that looks to the Sea.
  • Carmel Valley Ranch - Resort - 6 miles east of town. Great weather and good for families - pools, tennis, golf, fitness, spa, hiking, family activities etc..
  • Vacation Rentals - depends on the size or your group, length of stay and desired location - Carmel Realty Company has some good options

Where to Eat and Drink

  • Seventh and Dolores - New, Modern, Tasty. We prefer to walk in and sit at the bar or communal tables. Reservations are a must for dinner tables in the dining room.
  • Cultura - Higher End Mexican - Happy Hour from ten pm to midnight (check website to confirm)
  • Artemis - Good Mediterranean Fare on Ocean Avenue
  • Carmel Belle - Great casual cafe for breakfast or lunch. Eat in or take away.
  • Piano Bar at Mission Ranch - 19th century ranch that was slated for condo development until Clint Eastwood stepped in and restored it. Stunning setting - food just ok - grab a table on the first come first serve terrace and overlook sheep grazing in a meadow with Point Lobos and the Pacific in the background. Also known for the sing- along Piano Bar later in the evening. They have rooms and cottages for lodging.
  • Tricycle Pizza (Monterey) Check website for hours, only open a few days a week - great wood fired pizzas and one salad option.
  • Happy Girl Cafe (Pacific Grove) Excellent casual vegetarian cafe with a boutique of house made jams, pickled vegetables, and olive oil.

What to Do

  • Carmel Beach - It never gets old. Perfect for strolling, exploring and relaxing from sunrise to sunset. There are a few designated areas for first come, first serve city approved bonfires on the south end of the beach.
  • Carmel River Beach - on the South End of town, smaller and quieter but just as lovely as Carmel Beach. Good place to paddleboard and kayak (on the river Side)
  • Forest Theater - Recently renovated outdoor amphitheater - excellent productions of regional theater. Great for a family evening.
  • Monterey Bay Aquarium - worth the visit - excellent installations, especially for children. Try the surface scuba diving class for children in the Summer
  • Point Lobos - just South of Carmel proper - beautiful coastal trails. Take your time and do the seven mile loop (highly recommend) or break it up and visit bits and pieces of the park. Whaler’s Cabin and Cove, as well as the South Shore Trail are two of my favorite areas. Make this a first thing in the morning part of your day. It gets CROWDED.
  • Sunset Theater - Check listings - concerts range Dwight Yoakam to Preservation Hall.
  • Car Week - in Mid August - Fun (if crowded) week with visitors for everywhere and all sorts of events, concerts, car show and auctions. One day of the week they shut down 18 blocks on and around Ocean Avenue for a free to the public showing of vintage cars with an enthusiastic awards presentation in the afternoon. I enjoyed it far more than I imagined I would.
  • Om Yoga - excellent Studio In the Carmel Barnyard. Some of the teachers also do off site hike/yoga workshops.
  • Garrapata Park - South of town on the way to Big Sur - Gorgeous hiking trails overlooking the Coast. Make sure to check which trails are open and ideally go in am or on a weekday - parking is limited
  • 9 hole Par 3 course in Pebble Beach - for a quick fix, if not on a golf specific adventure.

Carmel, California - Suggestions from the Oliver Community

  • Cynthia Pillsbury Says

    I LOVE the shops Girl Boy Girl and Paloosh are musts!!! Great collection of brands in downtown Carmel.

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