Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey

Monterey Tour Day Trip Visit Carmel by the Sea

With whimsical storybook architecture, hidden-passageways and tucked-away courtyards, there is much to be explored in this charming village by the sea! Stroll the town’s main block, Ocean Avenue, and wander through storied streets, you’ll find unique boutiques, world-renowned local art galleries, adorable inns and hotels –many of which are pet friendly. You’ll also find metropolitan shopping at Carmel Plaza, and plenty of diverse restaurants, bakeries, coffee shops and markets.

Though Carmel-by-the-Sea is but one-square mile in size, the village has more restaurants per capita than any other small city in America, including Michelin-starred Aubergine Restaurant, and more than a dozen wine tasting rooms serving up some of the best Monterey County regional wines. Download the free mobile Carmel Wine Walk for exclusive experiences and specials!

And don’t miss the white sands of Carmel Beach! The sunsets are legendary, accompanied by picturesque Monterey Cypress trees and great surfing. Plus, it’s one of the most dog-friendly beaches in the area. 

An Amazing Village by the Sea. The unique community of Carmel-by-the-Sea is like a diamond, multifaceted and rare. Lying on a gently rising slope above a magnificent white beach, the village is carefully tucked away, off Highway One between the famous Pebble Beach and stunning beauty of Point Lobos State Reserve.

One of the most popular things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea is explore and wander around the hidden nooks and crannies of this European-style village.

From charming courtyards to secret passageways, discoveries await around every corner. There are shops and art galleries to explore, restaurants to indulge, and wine tasting rooms to stop in and sip some of the California Central Coast’s best varietals — all within one-square-mile.

What makes Carmel-by-the-Sea so unique is a creative culture of locals who take pride in offering one-of-a-kind items and experiences. Even those who travel the world are unlikely to encounter another place that has so much to offer in one location.

While in Carmel-by-the-Sea, expect to see no street addresses, mailboxes, parking meters, or streetlights (read about fun Carmel facts). The local “93921” post office continues to serve as a social hub for residents retrieving mail from their boxes. Visitors, too, often feel like locals as they mingle with winemakers, chefs, artists, innkeepers and shopkeepers.

As you explore Carmel-by-the-Sea, take note of the fairytale-like architecture. Hugh Comstock designed cottages in the 1920s after the style of an English village, complete with rolled eaves, rounded doors and asymmetrical stone chimneys. There remain 21 of Comstock’s original cottages standing in Carmel today.

The oldest house in Carmel was built in 1846 by the Michael J. Murphy family, and still stands today at the corner of San Antonio Street and Fourth Avenue. The “First Murphy House” — home to the Carmel Heritage Society — once served as the residence for Frank Powers, who co-founded the town 100 years ago. 

Come stroll around this charming village, whether to discover something unexpected, to uncover characteristics that make Carmel-by-the-Sea so delightfully unique, or to feel like a local.

Monterey Tour Day Trip Visit Carmel by the Sea

First-class restaurants. Acclaimed executive chefs. Award-winning wines. All this adds up to one of the west coast’s top destinations for lovers of fine food and wine. In fact, you can choose from nearly 50 locally owned-and-operated restaurants all with a passion for crafting incredible meals that make use of the bounty of fresh produce and seafood in the Monterey Bay area.

Monterey County’s finest winemakers offer their vintages at numerous boutique tasting rooms all within walking distance. Let the new Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk be your guide as you stroll your way through this wine-lover’s paradise to sip, savor, and explore the many hidden secrets of Carmel.

Iconic Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its many hidden gems, but perhaps none more so than its splendid, white-sand beach. Whether remaining above on the path along the picturesque, Cypress tree-lined Scenic Road, or feeling the sand beneath your feet, Carmel Beach remains awe-inspiring to visitors who are seeing it for the first time, or locals making their daily pilgrimage. 

Monterey Tour Day Trip Visit Carmel by the Sea Beach

Carmel-by-the-Sea is rated one of the top shopping destinations in the U.S. with a bevy of boutiques around every corner. From outdoor plazas to one-of-a-kind finds, Carmel offers a shopping environment that requires infinite time to explore it.

Art is everywhere you look in Carmel-by-the-Sea. From the many artist-owned galleries lining its charming streets to the village’s buildings themselves, the Bohemian artists who flocked to this small coastal town decades ago left their creative stamp—and continue to make it an artsy town today. Follow in their footsteps and discover why Carmel is considered California’s premier art destination.

Stay in world-renowned Carmel-by-the-Sea and explore one of the most beautiful places on Earth with our unique Locals Guide to Scenic Runs, Hikes & Walks—only available at Carmel-by-the-Sea hotels and inns. Come enjoy an ideal year-round climate. 

With borderline fanatical devotion to its canine citizens, quaint Carmel has the well-manicured feel of a country club. Watch the parade of behatted locals toting fancy-label shopping bags to lunch and dapper folk driving top-down convertibles along Ocean Ave, the village’s slow-mo main drag.

Founded as a seaside resort in the 1880s – fairly odd, given that its beach is often blanketed in fog – Carmel quickly attracted famous artists and writers, such as Sinclair Lewis and Jack London, and their hangers-on. Artistic flavor survives in nearly 100 galleries that saturate downtown’s immaculate streets and courtyards, but sky-high property values have long obliterated any salt-of-the-earth bohemia.

Dating from the 1920s, Comstock cottages, with their characteristic stone chimneys and pitched gable roofs, still dot the town, making it vaguely reminiscent of the English countryside. Even garbage cans and newspaper vending boxes are quaintly shingled. 

Available Tours to visit Carmel-by-the-Sea

Price/person: $555
Price/package: $2,777