Whether you stay inland in Carmel Valley or closer to the Pacific Ocean at Carmel-by-the-Sea, this Northern California region is a great place for a weekend getaway or a fun-filled vacation. You can even bring your pet along as you check out the beaches.
Carmel Beach is the start of Carmel-by-the-Sea. This beach is filled with locals mixing with vacationers to watch some of the area’s best sunsets while walking along the cool sand, with or without their dogs. This is also a popular beach for surfing so don’t be surprised to see boarders catching waves.
Just south of Carmel Beach is Carmel River State Beach, which offers a different environment even though it is only a mile away. This beach is a popular place for birders to watch along the lagoon and Wetlands Natural Reserve. Carmel River State Beach is also a good place to dive and kayak, though swimming is not recommended in this area.
The Monterey Peninsula is becoming known for its wines and Carmel is a good place to find some excellent ones. Bernardus, which also has an award-winning lodge, is the place to go for an excellent sauvignon blanc. While in Carmel Valley, also stop by Chock Rock Vineyards to taste their chardonnay.
You will find tasting rooms throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea, including Caraccioli Cellars, which produces sparkling wines. For an experience that will fill all of your creative senses, head to Winfield Gallery. This Carmel-by-the-Sea venue has a selection of fascinating modern art and a tasting room for Figge Cellars, which makes a great pinot noir.
Carmel offers dining for every taste and budget. Splurge on the tasting menu at Aubergine, located in the L’Auburge Camel hotel. The tasting menu here will rival the best in Paris. Actress Doris Day provides great food and drinks at her Cypress Inn, where the place is so pet-friendly there is a Yappy Hour in the lounge.
Demetra Café downtown in Carmel-by-the-Sea has a terrific menu filled with Mediterranean food in a casual atmosphere. If you’d really like to keep it simple, head to Salumeria Luca downtown in and pick up some supplies for a picnic on the beach, with a bottle of local wine.
The former home of American poet Robinson Jeffers remains as a museum along the ocean in Carmel. The Tor House, as it is called, contains many of the artifacts and books that belonged to Jeffers. This is the place he wrote most of his works during his career.
Robinson Jeffer’s story in this house included visits by many other well-known creative minds of the early 20th century, including Langston Hughes, George Gershwin, Charles Lindbergh and Charlie Chaplin. Tours are given hourly on Fridays and Saturdays. Visit the website for more details.