Carmel is a small city by the sea on the Monterey Peninsula. Brian and I discovered this town eight years ago when we first moved to California from Virginia. It was our first real weekend getaway on the west coast, and has remained a favorite ever sense. We love the small town vibe, being outside the hustle and bustle of Monterey, and the wide selection of farm-to-table restaurants and fine wine choices. We go at least twice a year and have so many fond memories, including getting engaged at Point Lobos.

Where to stay:

  • If you want something quiet and off the beaten path, there are many amazing Airbnbs a little down the road past downtown so check them out!
  • Tickle Pink Inn is a pricier, but nice for a romantic getaway or special occasion. You have to call the Inn to find their rates.
  • Tradewinds is our favorite, and is closer to the heart of Carmel.
  • Carmel Valley Ranch is a large resort outside of Carmel with enough amenities to keep you from having to venture out during your stay. They have restaurants, golf, tennis, pools, hiking trails, and more.
  • There are also a lot of little B&B’s in downtown Carmel that we are still hoping to stay at one day. 

Where to eat:

  • Carmel Bouchee is a must try. It is hands down our favorite restaurant with delicious food, an extensive wine list, and impeccable service.
  • Katy’s Place is a favorite breakfast spot of ours in downtown Carmel. We love their omelet and egg Benedict options.
  • From Scratch is another wonderful breakfast spot, just outside of town, with a wide selection of dishes created with fresh ingredients. They also serve some yummy sandwiches and salads, if you’re in the mood for lunch. 

What to do:

  • Hike Point Lobos – They tend to get busy during the weekends, but you can almost always find a parking spot farther down the road or just park outside of the park entrance (avoiding the fee 🙂 ) and walk in via the wooded trails. Here, you must check out Whalers Cove for possible whale sightings and Bird Island, accurately named. You may also pass some seals with their pups along the way. There are gorgeous ocean views wherever you go.
  • The Refuge is a spot we love for a nice getaway that includes saunas, cold pools, and hot tubs.
  • Hike Big Sur – There are many hiking trails here, about 30 minutes from Carmel along Highway 1.
  • The 17 Mile Drive begins near Carmel by the Sea. On a clear day, this is a nice excursion to do where you will visit some beautiful and historic landmarks. With your $10.50 entrance fee, you will be given a map to follow in your vehicle. It will take approximately 2.5 hours depending on how long you spend at each spot. 

Tip: Bring a jacket!! It tends to get very foggy and cool, especially near the beach

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