Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, is a small beach city that’s known for its quaint city center and beautiful coastline.
Top things to do include walking or biking down the Scenic Bluff Path, which offers stunning coastal views, sunbathing on the Carmel River State Beach, and visiting the historic Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo church, which was built in the 18th century. The basilica is now a National Historic Landmark and was the home of Saint Junípero Serra, the Franciscan friar that founded the Californian missions, until his death.
Carmel-by-the-Sea experiences warm and sunny weather through most of the year. The best time to visit is during the spring months of April and May or the fall months of September and October, which is when the days are warm and sunny but the summer vacation crowds are yet to descend on the city.
The charming town of Carmel by the Sea rewards visitors with some of America’s most stunning scenery, as well as numerous cultural attractions like historic sites and art galleries. No road trip along the West Coast would be complete without a stop-off in Carmel, just a short drive away from Monterey Bay.
The rugged coastline draws artists to the area from all over the world, all eager to see the sandy beaches, impressive sunsets, and rocky outcrops. A mile south of the main town, visitors can find the Carmel River State Beach, a popular spot for a range of activities such as diving, kayaking, surfing, and bird watching. Carmel Beach, which basically is the end of many streets in town, like Ocean Avenue, is a great place to play beach volleyball or surf when the swells are breaking well.
Today, Carmel village has nearly 100 art galleries in just one square mile of space. Some of the most popular galleries include Travis Hall Fine Art, Classic Art Gallery, Gallery Sur, Exposed, Gallery by the Sea Carmel, and many others. For live art and entertainment, be sure to check out the Sunset Center’s list of events.
Along with the many art galleries in downtown Carmel, CA, the town is packed with wine-tasting rooms and wine bars, meaning guests can fully appreciate the Central Coast Wine Country location. While walking through the European-style village, venture into one the buildings and get to know the local winemakers, and of course, taste some of the region’s premium wines.
For a great day trip, take a drive down the coast to impressive Big Sur, over the iconic Bixby Bridge. The area has majestic hiking trails and hilltop restaurants offering ocean views. Big Sur is arguably one of the most beautiful places in the United States. Its many stunning vistas have inspired artists for years, including Jack Kerouac who expressed his appreciation for the place in his novel Big Sur. In addition to Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls is the most recognizable place in Big Sur. Often photographed it is a beautiful of collision of land and sea as an 80 foot waterfall descends from the cliff side forests onto the sandy shore below. Another day trip option could be to Point Lobos State Reserve, which is arguably the crown jewel of the state park system. Thick groves of Cypress forests beckon explorers into their cool interiors, perfect for wildlife-lovers and those that are always on the lookout for a scenic vista. Built in a rustic building just inland from one of the shoreline trails is the Point Lobos Whaling Museum. The small exhibit highlights the area’s whaling past, which thankfully ended. Outside the museum those with an untrained eye may think there are some old tree stumps, when really they are the weathered vertebrae of the world’s largest creature.
Be sure to also pay a visit to the top-quality golf courses located around Carmel. Two of the best are Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill, both of which feature impressive holes, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, that challenge even the most skilled golfer. Golf Digest named Pebble Beach, in 2001, “No. 1 Golf Course in America”. This was the first ever time that a public course received that honor. The course at Pebble Beach has hosted 6 major championships for the men’s Professional Golf Association Tour, including five U.S. Opens and one PGA Championship. Many of these courses, like Pebble Beach and Spyglass, are connected by the famous 17-Mile Drive, a road that some would say is the most beautiful in California. The scenic route that winds around the Monterey Peninsula eventually reaches its end just outside of Carmel by the Sea.
When it comes to looking for a place to stay, there are few big chains here. Each and every hotel or inn is unique, and provides a fantastic base for fully exploring what Carmel and Carmel Valley has to offer. Another option is hiring one of the many Carmel vacation rentals. Guests can choose between one of the town center vacation rentals or a property by the white sand beaches. Some rentals may even be pet-friendly, meaning your four-legged friend doesn't need to miss out.
Browse accommodations from all the best providers including Airbnb, VRBO, Homeaway and more at AllTheRooms.com. AllTheRooms has 1,052 vacation rentals, hotels and other great places to stay during your time in Carmel-by-the-Sea, with everything from cheap hostels and homestays to luxury Airbnbs and hotels. For those traveling on a budget, the cheapest place to stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea is available at $35 per night. On average, a place to stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea will cost you $1,210 per night.
Those looking to get some work done during their trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea can pick from 334 places to stay that provide WiFi. 27 of our accommodations in include a breakfast in the price. Choose from 29 places to stay that provide gym facilities, so you won't miss a single workout. If you are driving to Carmel-by-the-Sea, you'll want to pick from 306 places to stay that provide parking. 20 hotels and vacation rentals have a pool or jacuzzi.
Those traveling with a dog, cat or some other animal can stay in one of 119 accommodations that are designated as pet-friendly.
We combine a wide variety of Carmel-by-the-Sea accommodations including vacation rentals, homestays, hostels and other unique places to stay into one easy search. We show results from more than 7 providers, including 165 places to stay from Airbnb, 138 accommodations from VRBO and 40 places to stay from Homeaway.
562 of our places to stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea have been rated by previous guests. They rated 67% as excellent or good. You can instantly book any of 167 places to stay right now.