Carmel by the Sea, or Carmel, has to be the cutest little seaside town,maybe ever. With storybook type houses, a quaint downtown and a beautiful beach, this place is a must-visit for anyone travelling in central California. Here were some of our favorite things there!
- Carmel City Beach
As I mentioned, Carmel has a beautiful beach. Just a few blocks from downtown, its very easy to get to. We parked in town and just walked to the beach from there, although there is parking by the beach. It’s limited, so if you want to take advantage, you’ll have to get there early. It’s fairly large and has soft, white sand that we were not used to seeing on the California coast. Watch the surfers, bring your dog or just relax and listen to the peaceful sound of the waves.
- Carmel Mission
Also known as The Basilica of Mission San Carlos Borromeo Del Rio Carmelo, the Carmel Mission is a beautiful piece of history located just a short drive from downtown. It is located at 3080 Rio Rd. I love the missions in California and think they’re all worth a visit. It’s open M-Sat 9:30-5 and Sunday 10:30-5 and will cost you $6.50 for adults, $4 for seniors, $2 for children 7 and up and children 6 and under are free. Check out the Carmel mission here
- Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
This was by far one of my favorite stops on the entire PCH. Once called, “the greatest meeting of land and sea” it’s pretty spectacular. I recommend no less than half of a day here and highly recommend the Cypress Grove Trail, Seal Lion Point Trail, China Cove, Gibson Beach and Whaler’s cove, which you can dive at if you’re certified SCUBA.
- Explore downtown
With some of the cutest little shops and its quaint storybook architecture, take some time to explore the downtown area and all of its uniqueness. The Carmel Plaza is also downtown and is a 3-story shopping and dining area with benches and tables in the courtyard if you want to relax outside.
- 17- mile drive
If I’m being honest, 17- mile drive was a little bit of a let down for me, I think because it is so overly hyped. I wanted to mention it though since it is so popular. While it is extremely beautiful, so is the rest of the coast which you get to see for free. The fact that you have to pay $10 to drive it seems a little silly, but you can get that money back if you spend more than $25 at any of the Pebble Beach establishments here or if you choose to bike it, then it’s free. I would only recommend this drive if you really want to see the Lone Cypress or Pebble Beach.