Map of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea

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In the not-so-distant past, Carmel was regarded as a reclusive little seaside town with the sort of relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere that was conducive to such pursuits as photography, painting, and writing. Robert Louis Stevenson, Upton Sinclair, Ansel Adams—all found Carmel so peaceful and intellectually inspiring as to settle down here.

Hotels to Stay

Popular Destinations

Not anymore. The charmingly ragtag bohemian village of yesteryear has long since given way to a cute but conservative tourist mecca filled with yogurt parlors, T-shirt stores, and chichi House and Garden marts offering $300 ceramic geese and other essentials. Traffic—both vehicular and pedestrian—can be maddeningly congested during the summer and on weekends, and prices in the shops, hotels, and restaurants tend to be gougingly high.

The funny thing is, no matter how crowded or expensive Carmel gets, nobody seems to mind. Enamored of the village’s eclectic dwellings, outrageous boutiques, quaint cafes, and silky white beaches, tourists arrive in droves during the summer to lighten their wallets and darken their complexions.

In fact, most B&Bs are usually booked solid from May to October, so make your reservations far in advance and leave plenty of room on the credit cards—you’ll need it.

So much to see and do

Shopping Nirvana
Art Galleries
Carmel’s Beaches
Books & Bagels
17-Mile Drive
Pebble Beach
Carmel Mission
Trails of Solitude
Touring the Tor House
Theater
Carmel Bach Festival