Top Attractions in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Characterized by rich arts and culture, fine scenery, historic sites, and posh restaurants, galleries and boutique shops, Carmel-by-the-Sea has everything to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to its visitors.

Top Attractions in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

Characterized by rich arts and culture, fine scenery, historic sites, and posh restaurants, galleries and boutique shops, Carmel-by-the-Sea has everything to deliver a one-of-a-kind experience to its visitors.

Popularly referred to as "Carmel-by-the-sea" because of its geographical location fronting the Monterey Peninsula of California, Carmel is famous for its picturesque setting, rich history and a vibrant arts and culture scene. Today—aside from the city’s spectacular landscape—reminders of its artistic past are still evident in the houses built in the early 20th century. Countless corners of Carmel are overflowing with influences of writers, poets, and filmmakers such as Clint Eastwood, who even became a Mayor of Carmel for two years in 1986.

To help you plan your holiday in Carmel, here are some winning tips on where to go in this city brimming with artistic wealth and splendid nature.

Carmel Beach

From the village, you can effortlessly walk your way to Carmel Beach—where a long shoreline covered with pure white sands opens to an azure-colored wading ocean water. Aside from the picturesque sea views, you will also find a jaw-dropping set of natural rock formations along the coast. Residents often come here for a picnic, so you can join them by bringing a basket of food, a bottle of wine and a lot of cheese. Make sure to witness the sunset here while on weekends, locals organize a game of beach volleyball.

The Heritage Center and Villages in Carmel

As a small city measuring only one square mile, it is very easy to explore Carmel-by-the-Sea on foot. A guided tour will take you from Ocean Avenue to Junipero and on to streets filled with rows of Spanish architecture-designed establishments and other heritage houses. Some landmarks not to be missed includes; the old Carmel Fire Station, the Church of Wayfarer, the Hugh Comstock fairy cottages and the Murphy House just to name a few. In a city populated by less than 4,000 residents, the main village are also a sight to behold as it brims with quaint setting and charming vibe.

The 18th Century Carmel Mission

The Facade of the Chapel (By Dsdugan - Own work, CC0)

Built by the Franciscan Friars in 1770. the Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission is a picture of impressive architecture. Still operating as a church, Carmel Mission is open for visitors on most days. Within the church is lush garden and a courtyard where you can sit on a bench and enjoy a moment of quiet solitude. You can also visit four museum galleries located within the Carmel Mission compound.

Point Lobos State Reserve

Situated just a few kilometers from Carmel-by-the-Sea, Point Lobos State Reserve is a State Park dishes a great outdoor experience to visitors. Highlighted by a maze of hiking trails edging the scenic coastline of Carmel, the National Park teems of bounteous nature. During Spring, the park becomes more vibrant as the plants and flowers starts to bloom. Several times in a year, whale-spotting becomes a popular activity at the waters surrounding the park—when countless of whales passes through as they make their way to Alaska from Baja Mexico.

Carmel’s Art Galleries

Taken at Gallery Elite (Photo by mini at Trip Advisor)

Since the early 20th century, Carmel has been a popular refuge for artists, writers and other intellectuals because of its pleasant setting and an almost solitary atmosphere. The result, is an art scene considered as one of the richest and most diverse in the United States. Make sure to check out several of Carmel's art galleries where you can also join art tours and workshops.

These are just a short list of attractions you shouldn’t miss when traveling to Carmel. Of course, another way of making your trip memorable is to make sure you choose the perfect place for you to stay during the entirety of your Carmel holiday.

You can check out the list of LVH Global's luxurious properties for rent in Carmel to make sure your holiday experience becomes even more satisfying.

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Marky Ramone Go

Marky Ramone Go is a travel writer & photographer based in the Philippines. Aside from contributing articles to publications & websites, he narrates his experiences on his blog Nomadic Experiences.

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