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10 things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea

10 Things to Do in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming coastal town nestled on California’s Monterey Peninsula, offers a rich blend of natural beauty, artistic heritage, and small-town charm. Known for its pristine beaches, fairytale-like cottages, and thriving art scene, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a must-visit destination for both locals and tourists alike. In this article, we will explore ten exciting things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea, ensuring you have an unforgettable experience in this enchanting town.

1. Explore the Scenic Beaches

Carmel-by-the-Sea is blessed with stunning beaches that showcase the rugged beauty of the California coastline. Take a leisurely stroll along the Carmel Beach, known for its white sands and mesmerizing sunsets. You can also visit the picturesque Carmel River State Beach or venture a little further to explore the scenic Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, offering breathtaking hiking trails and panoramic ocean views.

2. Wander Through Fairy Tale Cottages

One of the most distinctive features of Carmel-by-the-Sea is its enchanting architecture. The town is dotted with whimsical cottages, resembling something out of a storybook. Take a leisurely walk along the streets, admiring the fairytale-like houses with their unique designs and charming gardens. Don’t miss the famous Hansel and Gretel cottages, located on Ocean Avenue, which are sure to transport you into a magical world.

3. Indulge in Art and Culture

Carmel-by-the-Sea has long been a haven for artists and writers, attracting creative souls from all over the world. Explore the numerous art galleries and studios that line the streets, showcasing a diverse range of artwork, from traditional to contemporary. Visit the renowned Carmel Art Association, the oldest artist cooperative in California, to admire and purchase exceptional pieces. Don’t forget to visit the Tor House and Hawk Tower, the former home of poet Robinson Jeffers, which offers a glimpse into the town’s artistic legacy.

4. Visit the Historic Carmel Mission

The Carmel Mission, officially known as the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, is a must-visit attraction for history enthusiasts. Founded in 1770, the mission is considered one of the most beautiful in California. Explore the stunning architecture, visit the museum showcasing artifacts and exhibits related to the region’s history, and stroll through the peaceful gardens. Attending a mass service at the mission is also a serene and spiritual experience.

5. Sample Culinary Delights

Carmel-by-the-Sea boasts a vibrant food scene, offering a variety of culinary delights for every palate. From cozy cafes to upscale restaurants, the town has something to satisfy every craving. Indulge in fresh seafood dishes, farm-to-table cuisine, and exquisite wines produced in the nearby vineyards. Don’t forget to explore the local farmers’ market, where you can find organic produce, artisanal cheeses, and homemade treats.

6. Discover the Carmel River State Park

Nature lovers will be delighted by the Carmel River State Park, a hidden gem nestled along the Carmel River. Embark on a hiking adventure through the park’s diverse trails, passing through lush forests, meandering rivers, and open meadows. Keep an eye out for the park’s abundant wildlife, including deer, birds, and even the occasional river otter. Picnic areas and camping facilities are available for those looking to immerse themselves in the serene natural surroundings.

7. Enjoy Boutique Shopping

Carmel-by-the-Sea is renowned for its charming boutique shops, offering a unique shopping experience. Stroll along Ocean Avenue and the nearby streets, lined with an array of specialty stores, art galleries, and fashion boutiques. Browse through one-of-a-kind jewelry, handcrafted ceramics, and exquisite clothing. The absence of chain stores adds to the town’s distinct character and ensures you’ll find something truly special.

8. Experience the Sunset Cultural Center

The Sunset Cultural Center, housed in the historic Carmel City Hall building, is a cultural hub that hosts a wide range of performances and events. Enjoy concerts, theater productions, and film screenings in the center’s state-of-the-art facilities. Check the schedule to catch a show during your visit and immerse yourself in the vibrant arts and entertainment scene of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

9. Take a Scenic Drive Along 17-Mile Drive

Just a short distance from Carmel-by-the-Sea, the iconic 17-Mile Drive offers breathtaking coastal vistas and stunning landmarks. This scenic drive takes you through picturesque coastal communities, world-renowned golf courses, and famous landmarks such as the Lone Cypress and Pebble Beach. Don’t forget to stop at viewpoints along the way to capture the stunning beauty of the rugged coastline.

10. Relax and Rejuvenate

Carmel-by-the-Sea provides the perfect ambiance for relaxation and rejuvenation. Book a stay at one of the town’s charming inns or luxury resorts, offering exceptional hospitality and tranquil surroundings. Enjoy a spa day, indulge in a yoga class, or simply unwind on the beach with a good book. Let the peaceful atmosphere of Carmel-by-the-Sea wash away your worries and leave you feeling refreshed.

Carmel-by-the-Sea truly offers a magical experience for visitors. From its scenic beaches and fairytale cottages to its vibrant art scene and culinary delights, this coastal town has something for everyone. Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or cultural immersion, Carmel-by-the-Sea promises to captivate your heart and create lasting memories. Plan your visit today and discover the wonders of this enchanting destination.


Q: What is Carmel-by-the-Sea known for?
A: Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its pristine beaches, fairytale-like cottages, and thriving art scene.

Q: What are some popular things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea?
A: Some popular things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea include exploring the scenic beaches, wandering through fairy tale cottages, indulging in art and culture, and visiting the historic Carmel Mission.

Q: Where can I find unique architecture in Carmel-by-the-Sea?
A: You can find unique architecture in Carmel-by-the-Sea by taking a leisurely walk along the streets and admiring the fairytale-like cottages with their unique designs and charming gardens.

Q: What is the Carmel Mission?
A: The Carmel Mission, officially known as the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, is a historic attraction founded in 1770. It is considered one of the most beautiful missions in California and offers stunning architecture, a museum showcasing artifacts and exhibits, peaceful gardens, and mass services.

Anwar Abdi
Anwar Abdi
Anwar Abdi is a Canadian business executive and Digital Journalist. Anwar Abdi is the CEO of AMG Brands Network Inc. and the Current Editor-in-Chief of University Magazine. Previously He Worked as an Education contributor at HuffPost. Anwar received a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communication at the University of Windsor.
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