Carmel-by-the-Sea, California at its Most Charming

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small beach city on California’s Monterey Peninsula, is known for its beauty and its arts and culture scene. It’s also one of the most luxurious and well-known small cities in America. Flying into California’s Monterey Airport makes getting to Carmel-by-the-Sea super simple, and the locale’s easy pace, points of interest and, of course, the ocean make it hard to leave. (Opening photo: Tradewinds Carmel)

Lodging and Accomodations

There are several beautiful and distinctive lodging options for every taste. Hofsas House is located just outside of the city and features million-dollar ocean views from hillside cottages. The 38 rooms have charming and traditional décor and some feature decks. Guests can enjoy the heated pool and saunas. The friendly, old-world hospitality includes a daily continental breakfast.

One of the lush balconies at Tradewinds Carmel (Photo courtesy of Aniesia Williams)

Tradewinds Carmel has been a fixture in the heart of the city since 1959. This boutique hotel is ideally located, close to the beach and shopping areas. Its glamorous Asian and tropical decor is reflected in each of the 28 guest rooms and the meditation garden. Guests get a restful night’s sleep on handmade beds from Bali dressed in Egyptian cotton linens and luxury pillows. Continental breakfasts feature French pastries.

La Playa Carmel is a historic hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea proper. Dozens of rooms feature ocean and garden views, high-end bedding, and a full complement of amenities with beach cottage flair. The location puts visitors close to world-class golf, the beach, shops, fine dining, and exclusive wineries.

Seeing and Doing

Cultural and artistic points of interest vary widely and there are countless shops to browse and enjoy.

The theater at Sunset Center (Photo courtesy of Aniesia Williams)

It’s easy to explore Carmel-by-the-Sea on foot. The Wine Walk pass allows visits to some (or all) of Carmel-by-the-Sea’s 16 tasting rooms. There’s also a self-guided tour that visitors can complete with a brochure or smartphone app–comfortable walking shoes are strongly advised.

The Sunset Center is a renowned performing arts center. Harrison Memorial Library is a local meeting place and historic archive that’s been around for more than 100 years. The current building was designed by renowned California architect Bernard Maybeck.

Carmel Food Tours wow visitors with the best “off-the-beaten-path” food and cultural experiences through unique eateries. Enjoy flavored vinegars, wood-fired breads, chocolate, local wines, cheeses, and more.

Visitors with an avid interest in minimizing their environmental footprint can head to Eco Carmel: a store, showroom, consultancy and green center sharing inspiration and ideas. Carmel Plaza is made up of more than 40 specialty stores and restaurants set in an award-winning garden patio. Carmel Bay Company sells an eclectic collection of one-of-a-kind home furnishings, furniture, clothing, and art.

Delicious Dining

Carmel-by-the-Sea’s eclectic mix of restaurants offers relaxed and more formal options. Three popular locations are Vesuvio, Terry’s Lounge, and Pescadero. Vesuvio serves Italian dishes with select ingredients imported directly from Italy. Dishes are complemented by Italian and local wines. Guests can enjoy two bars and a rooftop terrace, as well. Terry’s Lounge the Cypress Inn is known for its cocktails and live music. Co-owned by Doris Day, it serves dishes that reflect a local take on Mediterranean fare prepared with fresh ingredients. And Pescadero Mexican Restaurant hosts Tequila tastings and mezcal cocktails paired with authentic Mexican dishes.

Visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea get world-class accommodations, the best in shopping and tourism, and delicious foods representing several ethnic cuisines. It’s a lovely place to relax and unwind and enjoy the best that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer.

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