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CarmelUnited States of America

This charming oceanfront town is a perfect day-trip for art, food and relaxation. 

Carmel-by-the-Sea offers eclectic architecture, streets rich in bohemian history, and a laid-back lifestyle. Spanish explorers and missionaries first claimed the area around Carmel in the 17th and 18th centuries. It wasn’t until the after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake that the sleepy hamlet began to develop into a charming and ecclectic town that continues to draw art lovers and romantics.

Carmel’s heady bohemian days may have long passed, but the city is still fully engaged in the arts and determined to preserve the small community’s characteristic atmosphere and aesthetic. Several artists have served as mayor, including actor and director Clint Eastwood. Historic theaters, including the Sunset Theater and Forest Theater, are still thriving. Check local guides for current productions. There are over 80 art galleries dotted throughout the downtown area, which is impressive for a town with a population of less than 4,000. Pick up a Carmel Gallery Guide or simply take a wander.

Architecture is one of Carmel’s main attractions. Don’t miss Tor House on Carmel Point. Once the home of renowned American poet Robinson Jeffers, the house was built by Jeffers himself with stones collected from the beach below. This extraordinary home features a 40-foot (12-meter) tower embedded with stones from around the world, including the Great Wall of China. Walker Residence is another of the city’s architectural marvels. This modern stone building sits just above the beach and was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Ocean Avenue is the old town’s busy hub and is perfect for people-watching. There are over 500 boutiques to explore, and plenty of excellent cafés and restaurants. Monterey County’s reputation as a commercial fishing hub means the seafood is fresh and abundant. Carmel is also close to the California wine region, resulting in wine lists that are long and impressive. The city is renowned for its relaxed attitude towards dogs, and that includes the beach and many restaurants.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a 15-minute drive from Monterey and is accessible by bus from downtown Monterey. Once you arrive, it’s best to sightsee on foot. Pick up a self-guided tour map or join one of the fascinating two-hour Carmel Walks.

Top hotels in Carmel

Carmel Mission Inn
Carmel Mission Inn
3.5 out of 5
The price is RM530 per night from 12 Nov to 13 Nov

Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Barnyard and Carmel Mission Basilica. Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive are also within ...

4.2/5Excellent! (924 reviews)

"Rooms modern and clean. Staff friendly. Hotel well situated to Carmel and Monterey."…"

Reviewed on 20 Oct 2020

Carmel Mission Inn
La Playa Carmel
La Playa Carmel
4 out of 5
The price is RM1,239 per night from 1 Nov to 2 Nov

Located in Golden Rectangle, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Golden Bough Playhouse, Sunset Center and Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room. Galante Vineyards ...

4.4/5Wonderful! (942 reviews)

"The hotel is in a perfect location. The grounds are beautiful, the breakfast was great,however we stayed in a tiny room right above the entrance to the hotel. It was very noisy. Do not stay in room 306. On our last night we were awoken at 10:30 by a hotel employee knocking on our door to ask if we ..."…"

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2020

La Playa Carmel
Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Overlooking Big Sur Coast
Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Overlooking Big Sur Coast
4 out of 5

Situated in a state park, this resort is within 1 mi (2 km) of Gravity Garden and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Hidden Beach and Gibson Beach are also within ...

4.3/5Excellent! (353 reviews)

"Beautiful, quiet, safe and a perfect getaway! Staff, especially Monica (check in) and Sam (bell cap) , were very sweet and helpful. We booked a garden room and were upgraded at no cost to ocean view suite! Nice to see Hyatt try to make your stay memorable beyond expectations during a time we can ..."…"

Reviewed on 8 Oct 2020

Hyatt Carmel Highlands, Overlooking Big Sur Coast
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Vacation Rentals in Carmel

Stunning Ocean Views, Close to Golf, Wine Tasting, Shops, Beach, Aquarium Passes Available!
Stunning Ocean Views, Close to Golf, Wine Tasting, Shops, Beach, Aquarium Passes Available!
3.5 out of 5

Located in Northeast Carmel, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Cherry Center for the Arts and 17-Mile Drive. Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica ...

Stunning Ocean Views, Close to Golf, Wine Tasting, Shops, Beach, Aquarium Passes Available!
Lx1: Chateau D' Renaitre - Carmel-by-the-sea Luxury Villa
Lx1: Chateau D' Renaitre - Carmel-by-the-sea Luxury Villa
4 out of 5

Situated in Carmel, this holiday home is within 9 miles (15 km) of Folktale Winery and Vineyards, Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. Carmel Mission Basilica and ...

Lx1: Chateau D' Renaitre - Carmel-by-the-sea Luxury Villa
LX 57: Weathertop Rustic Ranch in Carmel With Luxury Amenities
LX 57: Weathertop Rustic Ranch in Carmel With Luxury Amenities
4 out of 5

This family-friendly Carmel holiday home is located near the beach, within a 10-minute walk of Galante Vineyards, Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. Pebble Beach ...

LX 57: Weathertop Rustic Ranch in Carmel With Luxury Amenities
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

Popular places to visit in Carmel

Carmel Beach
Image for Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach

4.5/5(60 reviews)

Spot birds or catch waves, then spread out a picnic by a campfire and enjoy the views at this picturesque beach.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
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Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

4.5/5(39 reviews)

This wildlife sanctuary, a magnet for nature lovers and artists, is a jewel of the California State Park system. 

Carmel Mission Basilica
Image for Carmel Mission Basilica

Carmel Mission Basilica

5/5(3 reviews)

This tranquil 18th-century stone mission and museum offers a fascinating look into 200 years of spiritual and everyday life in Monterey County. 

Bixby Bridge
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Bixby Bridge

4/5(62 reviews)

This single-span bridge is a magnificent feat of engineering that provides incredible views of one of the finest stretches of U.S. coastline.

Tor House
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Tor House

Be inspired by this fairytale stone cottage on the dramatic Carmel Big Sur coastline, built by one of America’s legendary poets.

Sunset Center
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Sunset Center

Catch local up-and-coming acts and international superstars in one of America’s most intimate theaters. 

Top things to do in Carmel

Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of California
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Survival Challenge by Zombie Scavengers of California

RM84
Per adult
Wacky Walks Adventure walking tours of California
Image for Wacky Walks Adventure walking tours of California

Wacky Walks Adventure walking tours of California

RM42
Per adult
City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of California
Image for City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of California

City Scavenger hunts by Operation City Quest of California

RM42
Per adult
80% of travellers recommend
Crazy Dash Walking Adventure of California
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Crazy Dash Walking Adventure of California

RM42
Per adult
1-Hour Sea Car Tour
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1-Hour Sea Car Tour

RM273
Per adult
96% of travellers recommend
Electric Scooter Rental -1/2 day
Image for Electric Scooter Rental -1/2 day

Electric Scooter Rental -1/2 day

RM392
Per adult

Reviews of Carmel

4.5

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
22
5 - Excellent 59.45945945945946%
4 - Good
11
4 - Good 29.72972972972973%
3 - Okay
3
3 - Okay 8.108108108108109%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 2.7027027027027026%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

12 Dec 2019

Bit quiet (due to being off season) as we are young maybe not as much about to do. But lovely place and great beach

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

22 Oct 2019

Check out the Mission Ranch for early dinner, and then watch the sun go down at the beach

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

9 Oct 2019

Paradise!

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

27 Sep 2019

Beautiful place but visit Monterey for the real world.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

22 Sep 2019

Lovely

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

19 Sep 2019

Want to go back asap

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