Carmel by the Sea

Overlooking a beautiful beach, this small town is known for its natural beauty and rich artistic heritage.

TravelCurious Tip

Don’t wear high heels! Bizarrely, you need a permit to wear them here, to prevent lawsuits from tripping accidents involving the irregular pavements…

Carmel by the Sea, or simply Carmel, is a small city in Monterey County. It’s famous for its stunning natural scenery and artistic heritage: in 1910 the San Francisco Call reported that 60% of Carmel’s houses were built by citizens who were “devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts.” That legacy remains: the city has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including none other than Clint Eastwood himself. You wouldn’t fool around in his town.

The city is singularly devoted to its canine citizens, allowing them into most establishments, so beware if you have a fear of dogs! But it all adds to the feel of Carmel as a rather quaint sort of country club. Ocean Avenue, the village’s slow-traffic main drag, is always full of well-groomed gents drifting by in their convertibles; sweet little Comstock cottages, with their stone chimneys and pitched gable roofs, can be found all over town. For someone actually from a quaint village in the UK, it must be quite a curious experience to find it transplanted to the sunny clime of California.

However, this atmosphere is perhaps unsurprising given that Carmel was founded as a seaside resort in the 1880s, quickly attracting artists and writers such as Sinclair Lewis and Jack London to its picturesque patch of coastline. There are still over 100 galleries downtown, but any trace of Bohemia is long gone — property prices have soared as people have realised just how delightful Carmel is.

From Carmel you can explore the Carmel Mission, Point Lobos - a wonderful park that juts out into the pacific - and of course the 1.5 miles of white sand on Carmel Beach.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in San Francisco
Cannery Row
A historic waterfront street in Monterey, with more than its fair share of excellent restaurants.
Lone Cypress
One of the most photographed trees in North America, the iconic Lone Cypress stands bravely on a granite outcrop along the Pacific Drive.
Golf Course
Several amazing golf courses lie along the coast, including the oldest operating course in the Western United States.
Carmel Mission Basilica
A Roman Catholic mission church dating back to the 18th century.
17-Mile Drive
A scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove that is in itself one of the great attractions of the region.
Pacific Grove
Nicknamed 'America's Last Hometown,' this charming coastal city is known for its beautiful Victorian homes - and its annual deluge of Monarch butterflies.

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