web analytics

What To Do At Carmel By The Sea: A Guide To Exploring This Beautiful Coastal Town

Carmel By The Sea is a charming coastal town located on the Monterey Peninsula in California. This idyllic destination is known for its stunning coastline, picturesque architecture, and thriving arts scene. Whether you’re a nature lover, foodie, or art enthusiast, there’s no shortage of things to see and do in Carmel. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the best activities and attractions that this town has to offer.

Take A Stroll Along The Scenic Shoreline

One of the most popular activities in Carmel is taking a stroll along the scenic shoreline. The town’s white sand beaches are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and surfing. The most popular beach in town is Carmel Beach, which offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean and is the perfect spot for a romantic sunset walk. Other notable beaches include Carmel River State Beach and Monastery Beach, which are both known for their calm waters and picturesque scenery.

Explore The Quaint Village And Its Architecture

Carmel By The Sea is known for its charming village and unique architecture. Most of the buildings in town are constructed of stone and wood, with intricate details and unique designs. Take a stroll around the village and admire the architecture, which ranges from Tudor-style homes to Spanish-style villas. Don’t forget to visit the famous Carmel Mission, which was founded in 1771 and is one of California’s oldest missions.

Indulge In Fine Dining And Local Cuisine

Carmel’s food scene is as diverse as it is delicious. The town is home to a variety of restaurants, from casual cafes to high-end fine dining establishments. Seafood lovers will enjoy the town’s fresh catch of the day, while those looking for something more exotic can indulge in international cuisine. Don’t forget to sample some of the local wines, which are made from grapes grown in the nearby vineyards.

Visit The Thriving Arts Scene

Carmel By The Sea is a haven for artists and art enthusiasts alike. The town is home to numerous galleries, museums, and studios, all of which showcase a variety of art forms, from paintings and sculptures to glassblowing and pottery. Don’t miss the iconic Sunset Center, which hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including music, theater, and dance.

Take A Hike In The Surrounding Natural Beauty

Carmel’s natural beauty extends beyond its beaches and coastline. The surrounding area is home to numerous hiking trails, offering breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the lush vegetation. Some of the most popular trails include the Point Lobos State Reserve, Garrapata State Park, and the Palo Corona Regional Park.

Visit The Monterey Bay Aquarium

Located just a few miles from Carmel, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the most popular attractions in the area. The aquarium is home to over 35,000 creatures, including sea otters, sharks, and jellyfish. Visitors can watch the animals being fed, take part in interactive exhibits, and learn about the ocean’s ecosystems.

Go On A Whale Watching Tour

For an unforgettable experience, take a whale watching tour from the nearby town of Monterey. These tours offer a chance to see humpback whales, blue whales, and gray whales, as well as dolphins, sea lions, and other marine life. The tours are available year-round, but the best time to go is between April and December.

Attend A Festival Or Event

Carmel By The Sea is home to a variety of festivals and events throughout the year. From the Carmel International Film Festival to the Carmel Art Festival, there’s always something happening in this vibrant town. Don’t miss the annual Feast of Lanterns, a celebration of the town’s history and culture that features a parade, food vendors, and live music.

Relax And Unwind At A Spa

After a long day of exploring, why not treat yourself to a relaxing spa treatment? Carmel is home to numerous spas and wellness centers, offering everything from massages and facials to yoga classes and meditation sessions. Some of the most popular spas in town include the Refuge and the Spa at Bernardus Lodge.

Shop Till You Drop

Carmel’s streets are lined with quaint boutiques and shops, offering everything from handmade jewelry and artisanal chocolates to designer clothing and accessories. Don’t miss the Carmel Plaza, a shopping center that features a variety of upscale retailers and restaurants.

Take A Scenic Drive Along 17-Mile Drive

Just a short drive from Carmel is the iconic 17-Mile Drive, a scenic route that winds along the coastline and through the Del Monte Forest. The drive offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, as well as glimpses of luxurious mansions and golf courses. Don’t miss the famous Lone Cypress tree, which stands alone on a rocky outcropping overlooking the ocean.


Carmel By The Sea is a truly magical destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore the local arts scene, or indulge in fine dining, this town has it all. With its stunning scenery, charming architecture, and vibrant culture, Carmel is a place that is sure to capture your heart.


  1. What is the best time to visit Carmel By The Sea?

    The best time to visit Carmel is in the fall or spring, when the crowds are smaller and the weather is mild.

  2. Is Carmel By The Sea pet-friendly?

    Yes, Carmel is a pet-friendly town, with many restaurants and shops welcoming furry friends.

  3. How do I get around Carmel By The Sea?

    Carmel is a walkable town, but if you’re looking to explore beyond the village, renting a car or taking a taxi is recommended.

  4. What is the weather like in Carmel By The Sea?

    The weather in Carmel is mild year-round, with temperatures ranging from the mid-50s in the winter to the low 70s in the summer.

  5. What is the history of Carmel By The Sea?

    Carmel was founded in 1902 by a group of artists and writers, who were drawn to the town’s natural beauty and relaxed atmosphere. Over the years, it has become a popular tourist destination, known for its picturesque architecture and thriving arts scene.

Scroll to Top