Welcome to Carmel-by-the-Sea
Gorgeous beaches and rich creative history in an enchanting coastal enclave
Carmel-by-the-Sea has become a California icon, and for a good reason. Its sweeping views of the glittering Pacific, the rocky coastline, and the gleaming, sugary beaches are nothing short of spectacular. This charming spot, known to locals simply as Carmel, has a creative spirit and artistic soul. Once a quiet artist colony, Carmel was home to the likes of Jack London and Salvador Dali, a Carmel Arts Association member. Jack Kerouac lived in a little beach bungalow in the early 1960s and nearly went mad attempting to capture, in poetry, the drama of the starry night sky sparkling over the water.
Today, Carmel retains this sense of serenity and wild beauty. Quiet streets and dog-friendly beaches keep residents in a Zen state of mind while the incredible culinary scene alchemizes fresh, seasonal ingredients into works of edible art. Carmel’s famed Golden Rectangle contains some of the nation’s most celebrated restaurants, and the area’s nature parks are unparalleled in their picturesque views. Real estate is exquisite, with Spanish styles, French doors, and light-filled abodes made for soaking in the striking coastal backdrop.
What to Love
- Haute cuisine and chef-driven bistros
- Quiet streets and a serene ambiance
- Breathtaking coastal vistas
- Silky white sand beaches
If Carmel-by-the-Sea residents live by a mantra, it is “give us this day our daily sand”. Carmel is known for its impeccable white beaches, and locals make routine pilgrimages to the pristine shoreline for evening strolls with loved ones.
Haute cuisine is another Carmel specialty, and chef-driven eateries call to the area’s well-heeled denizens the way the moon calls to the sea. The Pacific offers fresh fare to local chefs, and the results are exquisite dining events cherished by Carmel residents.
Dining, Entertainment & Shopping
Spilling out over 22 acres of prime coastal real estate, Mission Ranch Restaurant
is one of the area’s most spectacular places to dine. The locale’s lush meadow is dotted with sleepy sheep, while views of the Carmel River and the Pacific shine in the distance. Classic New American fare is elevated with fresh local seafood and features filet mignon and sea scallops with sage brown butter and crispy fried leeks. Whimsy meets stately elegance at Cypress Inn
, a stylish 1920s hotel and restaurant. Owned by Doris Day, this dog-friendly spot features classic coastal cuisine like pan-seared wild salmon, prawn martinis, and filet mignon.
New American cuisine reaches a pinnacle of excellence at Aubergine
, an innovative bistro with refined decor and a stunning tasting menu. Locally sourced ingredients drive the menu, and the result is pure artistry. The eight-course tasting menu changes daily and celebrates the freshest tastes of each season, as well as an impressive array of fine wines. Located in the iconic Golden Rectangle area of town, Seventh & Dolores
joins the ranks of Carmel’s best restaurants. The light, airy dining room evokes the elegant aura of classic supper club dining, and the menu features a dazzling selection of premium steaks and seafood.
Things to Do
In peaceful Carmel, life revolves around the sea. Carmel River State Beach
spans a mile of sandy beaches dotted with rugged rocks and serves as the area’s top bird-watching locale. Scuba divers will find a diving entry point, and those looking for a glorious sunset stroll will find paradise in this picturesque spot. The dramatic coastline gets most of the attention in Carmel, but history plays a part, as well. Carmel Mission Basilica
dates back to 1771. The lovely courtyard offers a sense of peace, while the on-site museum provides exhibits and tours of the grounds.
Running the length of Carmel Beach
, the absolutely stunning Scenic Road
delivers epic views. Get yourself a convertible and cruise down this legendary drive for a taste of salt air and iconic scenes of California’s most beautiful coastline.
Carmel loves dogs, and locals not only enjoy a host of pup-friendly patios and hotels but also a parade in honor of man’s best friend. The annual Poodle Day
parade celebrates the greatest animal on earth with oodles of poodles, an off-leash pup playtime party at the beach, and an evening of food and festivities for neighborhood dogs and their human companions.
The Carmel Bach Festival
brings the celebrated sounds of the famed composer to the glistening shores in a beloved annual event, which brings in talented musicians from around the world. Meanwhile, The Great Sandcastle Contest has been running for over 50 years and inspires creativity in Carmel residents with a chance to take home the trophy for best sand castle creation.