Located on the Monterey Peninsula, the quintessentially charming beach village of Carmel, California is the definition of a coastal travelers dream. From its European-style and picturesque white-sand beaches, this small but cosmopolitan city has an undeniable aesthetic allure; each artfully designed home boasts a pristine magic garden. As a city started by artists, Carmel still boasts a booming art scene and retains its identity as a self-consciously quaint village. Aside from the cities sprawling beaches and picturesque naturescapes, Carmel is home to countless boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, and wineries, which means it’s perfect for a romantic getaway, girls trip, or even a family getaway. We’ve rounded up some of the things you can’t miss, and the best places to stay while visiting.
Since 1959, the premier boutique hotel, Tradewinds Carmel, has been a luxurious landmark in the heart of the village. The inn architects, Richard and Caitlin, who spent seven years living in Japan, built and designed the property with the idea of redefining luxury in downtown Carmel. In 2004, their daughter and current owner, Susan Stilwell, remodeled the property. From the complimentary kimono robes made specifically for guests in Bali, to the tranquil Buddha Meditation Garden, the impression of their previous home in Asia is evident in the details. There is, of course, some tropical flair thrown in. Appointed with 28 guest rooms, all of which are furnished with exquisite decor and detail, the bedrooms at Tradewinds offer guests some of the finer things: fine linens, down pillows and featherbeds, custom-made organic bath products, and more. Many rooms also offer gorgeous Pacific Ocean views and fireplaces, perfect for those chilly Northern California nights.
Looking to stay as close to the beach as possible? Stay at the quaint Edgemere Cottages where you’ll be only steps away from the sand. Featuring three charming, private and unique cottages, the inn provides the perfect amount of seclusion and romance with something to offer for every Carmel traveler. Built in the early 1920’s, the property blends European-style architecture with the beauty of its natural surroundings. Before heading out to explore the city, delight in the continental breakfast in a warm atmosphere with garden views and classical music. P.S…If you listen closely, you’ll be able to hear the therapeutic sound of waves crash on the shore at night.
Both spacious yet private, the Carmel Country Inn is the perfect place to stay for those looking to experience an intimate getaway. With the perfect balance of luxury, convenience, and amour, the property exudes romantic enchantment. Surrounded by colorful gardens and the rugged beauty of the Pacific coastline, it’s not hard to see why. The inn’s spacious suites and studios, complete with separate garden entrances, provide secluded comfort. The only reason one would contemplate getting out of their plush beds would be to indulge in the inns delicious gourmet breakfast buffet each morning, which is served fireside in the kitchen, as well as on the patio.
Located 3.5 blocks north of the cities main street, Ocean Avenue, the Hofsas House Hotel is just a short walking distance from Carmel Beach, shops, art galleries, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and city parks. The family-owned, 38-room property offers spacious accommodations and wonderful amenities. Opening up the Dutch doors of your bedroom invites you to take in the beauty of Carmel: glorious sunsets over the Pacific, ocean views overlooking the pines in the village, etc. Most suites also feature in-room fireplaces and private balconies, wet bars or kitchens.
When you visit a beach town, the first thing you should probably do is…visit the beach. Locals agree that an early morning stroll along the pristine Carmel Beach is a must. Plus, it’s been ranked as one of the nation’s cleanest and most beautiful beaches, according to the city’s tourism board. Insider tip: At night, return to experience a majestic Carmel sunset over the water.
For top-notch luxury shopping, head over to Carmel Plaza, where you can splurge (or window-shop) at four-star retailers and boutiques. After working up an appetite, take advantage of some gourmet cuisine at the plazas fabulous eateries, which include Bistro Beaujolais and Carmel Coffee & Cocoa Bar.
From muesli and salads, freshly baked cookies, jams, and so much more, you’ll find countless delicious and organic goods and greens at The Earthbound Farm Market and Farm Stand. Set on two-and-a-half acres, this famous farmers market is the perfect place to sample the freshest foods, roam in the herb gardens, and admire the manicured rows of planted veggies and flowers. You’ll even find a quaint lunch counter towards the back, where you can hop in line to make your own salad and try out the “Panini of the day”.
One of the best parts about visiting Carmel is the chance to take in the beautiful surroundings and experience the great outdoors. Luckily, there seems to be no shortage of state and national parks to hike along the Big Sur coast, from Limekiln in the south to Point Lobos in the north. Whether you want to partake in a leisurely stroll or break a sweat and tackle some serious mountain-interior hiking, Garland Ranch Regional Park, the “granddaddy” of the MPRPD properties, representing the District’s first parkland acquisition, is where it’s at.
Try one of the world’s best golf courses at Pebble Beach Golf Links, which was given the title of the “best public golf course in America” by Golf Digest. With its fairways and greens set right on the coast, you can take in some of the most scenic views while playing an afternoon round. Designed in 1919, this famous course has remained a fixture on the professional golf circuit.