California is about so much more than Los Angeles. In fact, you should forget Los Angeles altogether and visit Californian cities like Fresno and Napa, as well as Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley, and tiny little Monterey towns like Carmel-By-The-Sea.
Secluded, seaside villages, such as the Southern California destination of Carlsbad, are becoming all the rage among travelers which is why it's so important for you to know all about this gorgeous little hidden gem of Monterey County. There are only 3,000 permanent residents in this tiny beach town, but it's become a hotspot for tourism due to its spectacular scenery, dog-friendly businesses, story-book buildings, and epic golf courses.
Without further ado, here's what to expect when visiting the tiny town of Carmel-By-The-Sea in California.
10 It's A Romantic Seaside Destination And Not For Hooliganism
There are some pretty bizarre spots in California that are hidden right under our noses such as Melrose Avenue in L.A that are worth visiting. But Carmel isn't about bizarre it all. And it's definitely not about "hooliganism". This is a message that the former mayor, film icon Clint Eastwood, made very clear. Carmel-By-The-Sea is not a party town. The quaint Victorian buildings and storybook cottages are surrounded by tree-shaded streets and an enchanting village vibe that is ideal for budding romances or shopping trips with friends. The sandy beaches are fun for hikers, kids, and doggies. Kayaking, diving, and other ocean activities are abundant as are luxury spas and golf courses. In short, Carmel is a place to unwind.
9 Carmel Beach Is Nice, But Carmel River State Beach Is Just Pure Gold
Carmel River State Beach may only be a mile long but it's an extremely popular place for kayaking, diving, and bird watching due to the adjoining sanctuary. The water tends to be brisk and the surf is hazardous so it's not the best place for swimming. But it's so visually striking that most reviewers on TripAdvisor claim that it's better than the much larger main Carmel Beach. It's also a wonderful place to walk your dog as the beach is friendly to our four-legged friends.
8 Shopping Is A Lifestyle Choice In Carmel
Without a doubt, shopping in Carmel is one of the most popular and beloved activities. The shopping in the town is metropolitan style but has an entirely unique setting thanks to the stone-paved alleyways or curlicue-roofed shops. You can find tons of outdoor malls and well as quaint, family-owned artisan boutiques. Most of the shops are situated in the town center around Ocean Avenue. But 7th, 6th, and Dolores Street are also shopping hubs. And guess what? Most of the shops are dog-friendly. How awesome is that?
7 Carmel Is Dog Heaven On Earth
We've already mentioned that there are multiple off-leash areas for dogs as well as pet-friendly stores and hotels in Carmel. But, according to Carmel California.com, the town is basically a haven for dogs and dog lovers. Dogs are greeted by water bowls at the fronts of practically every establishment and biodegradable bags are handed out throughout the town. Since Carmel is in California, you shouldn't be surprised to learn that there are various extravagant pet-focused shops like massage parlors and spas.
6 However, There Are Some Strict Rules About Dog Ownership
While Carmel-By-The-Sea is a very dog-friendly destination, there are certain rules that residents and visitors must follow when taking their dog around town. According to Carmel California.com, all dogs must have a current license and up-to-date vaccinations, as well as respond to voice command before being brought around town. Dogs can be off-leash completely on Carmel Beach and Mission Trails Park, but only if they are obedient and don't attack other dogs, animals, or people. Otherwise, heavy fines will be enforced.
5 Scenic Hiking In An Already Walkable City
If you've been to Los Angeles, you'd know that the city is anything but walkable. But Carmel isn't like that. You can get practically everywhere on foot. But given how small the town is, that's not surprising. But exercise in Carmel goes far beyond shopping and pub crawls. According to TripAdvisor, you can venture just outside the borders of the town to enjoy a variety of trails and hiking opportunities. Soberanes Canyon Trail is basically the only one in the area that's difficult. The rest are for more leisurely hikes or full-on runs. But all of the trails, including Palo Corona, Coffeeberry, and Point Lobos, are absurdly stunning.
4 The Food Scene Is High-End But Simultaneously Quaint
Even the most high-end dining experiences in Carmel are quaint due to the style of the buildings, stoned-paved streets, and the warm decor. According to TripAdvisor reviewers and SeeMonterey.com, some of the highlights include the Carmel Bakery, which is known for its European style pretzels, Dametra Cafe, Basil, Anton and Michel, Grasings, Mission Ranch Restaurant, and Portabella. Some of the freshest seafood in all of Monterey can be found at Flaherty's and A.W. Shucks Oyster Bar.
3 Wine Tasting And And Really Chill Nightlife
Carmel is NOT a party town. It's a romantic paradise. So, there are no pumping clubs. The nightlife is all about pubs, cocktail bars, and phenomenal happy hours. Live music is also a popular feature in a lot of these hotspots. Locals love The Forge in the Forest at Junipero and 5th as it's been a hotspot for happy hours for almost 50 years. Brophy's tavern is great for sports lovers, Sade's is iconic but cash-only, Vesuvio's has an awesome rooftop bar, and Terry's Lounge is completely pet-friendly. Yeast of Eden on the lower end of the Carmel Plaza on Ocean Avenue is a new, popular destination. Then, of course, there are over 20 wine tasting rooms belonging to local vineyards Galante, Scheid, and Silvestri, which is owned by Alan Silvestri the film composer.
2 Golfing Is One Of The Highlights Of The Town Thanks To The Presence Of The World-Famous Pebble Beach
Anyone who takes golfing seriously is well aware of Pebble Beach, which is located right next to the town of Carmel. After all, it's constantly regarded as the number one golf resort in the country. This is partly because the picturesque course is located right on the ocean and boasts some of the best views around, it being the home of major Pro-Am tournaments, and how it attracts regular world-class players like Tiger Woods. But it's also really hard to play on because of its status. But, according to VisitCalifornia, Pebble Beach isn't the only course you can play at in Carmel. Less exclusive and less expensive courses like the historic Del Monte, Bayonet and Black Horse are nearly as superb.
1 Carmel Is Abundant With Luxury Accommodations And Quaint Bed and Breakfasts
There's an array of accommodation choices in Carmel-By-The-Sea, according to TripAdvisor. Due to the presence of Pebble Beach Golf Course and the amazing scenery, there's no wonder why Carmel relies heavily on tourism and most provide for all sorts of travelers. The Tickle Pink Inn offers huge suites with fireplaces and private balconies overlooking the cove and Point Lobos Marine Reseverse but is very expensive. There is also the beautiful Quail Lodge & Golf Club and Sandpiper Inn. Carmel Valley Ranch is perfect for families and couples and has some truly spectacular amenities. But there are also mid-range hotels like the pet-friendly Tradewinds Carmel, the gorgeous Cyrpires Inn and a host of independent bed and breakfast spots that are truly, truly gorgeous.