Enjoy 48 Hours in Carmel
Anyone who has visited Carmel-by-the-Sea is well acquainted with its infinite charm and natural beauty. The expansive white sandy beach and sparkling blue waters make a weekend away feel like an indulgent beach vacation. Known by many as the seaside town where Clint Eastwood served as mayor, Carmel-by-the-Sea was home to Doris Day and frequented by notables like John Steinbeck, Salvador Dalí and Jimi Hendrix. The streets of the small village are lined with countless luxury-good-filled shops, cafes, wine tasting rooms, art galleries and restaurants, and are best explored on foot by wandering down the tree-lined streets taking it all in as you go. Stay at one of the small, charming hotels that are in walking distance of it all and make the most of what this location has to offer. While there is no doubt you’ll find plenty to do, here are a few recommendations to get you started.
Fourth Avenue and San Carlos Street
This boutique hotel is the perfect retreat after a day of shopping and wine tasting and is a mere seven-minute walk from the center of all the action. During the cooler months book a room with a fireplace and don’t dismiss the courtyard fire pit; it’s a great way to meet and mingle with fellow travelers. The adjoining restaurant, Brophy’s Tavern, offers a cozy pub-like experience and serves casual bar food along with local wines and tasty cocktails.
San Carlos Street, between Ocean and Seventh avenues
If delicious coffee, plant-based protein smoothies or mouth-watering vegan desserts are what you are craving then this is your place. Order at the counter, and lounge with locals on the nearby sofas. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are available for anyone looking for a quick, healthy bite.
Fifth Avenue, between Mission and San Carlos streets
A favorite among locals, this family-owned-and-run restaurant offers rustic fare with a focus on local, seasonal produce. As the story goes, the current owners acquired the house after local icon Aunt Fairy Bird — once a cook for Charlie Chaplin — passed away. It’s just as cozy as you imagine.
Sixth Avenue and Mission Street
Offering lunch, brunch and dinner, this eatery serves an elevated take on classic California cuisine in a quaint setting. The extensive wine list, emphasis on fresh seafood and outstanding service make it a must-visit.
San Carlos Street, between Fifth and Sixth avenues
If an indulgent brunch is on your to-do list then make a plan to stop here — you won’t be disappointed. Caviar and chips, lobster roll, shakshuka and the simple pleasure of tomato soup and grilled cheese are all on the menu.
SW corner of Fifth Avenue and Junipero Street
Originally a renowned blacksmith’s workshop, this spot has a storied past that includes serving as a local drinking hole for artist and writer Henry Miller and legendary writer John Steinbeck. These days the restaurant offers an eclectic menu featuring everything from lobster linguini to barbecue pork ribs and paella.
On Lincoln Street between Fifth and Sixth avenues
If you love happy hour, make time for a visit. The menu includes truffle fries, meat and cheese boards and ahi tuna along with inventive cocktails and local and international wines by the glass. The atmosphere is modern with an air of coastal chic.
Carmel Valley Is Always a Good Idea
Carmel Valley is about a 30-minute drive from Marin and a fantastic way to see a little more of the area. Decidedly more rural than the bustling Carmel-by-the-Sea village, the valley boasts sprawling resorts, a top-notch spa and abundant wine tasting (pinot noir is the varietal du jour here).
Book a weekend at this lodge for a top-notch getaway — an irresistible spa, gourmet dining options and 28 acres of rolling vineyards, orchards and gardens offer plenty to do and many ways to truly relax. But a dinner reservation or spa appointment alone is more than worth the drive.
60 Holman Road, Carmel Valley
Once a respite for Hollywood royalty (Charlie Chaplin has a room named after him), this bucolic ranch is a lesson in tranquility. Schedule a wine tasting (pinots are king, but the rosé is a delight) and enjoy the views.
8205 Valley Greens Drive
Golf lovers will revel in the award-winning course and the all-grass nine-hole putting course, while outdoor enthusiasts will find a lot to keep them busy — tennis and pickleball courts and a year-round outdoor heated swimming pool can all be found on property.
27300 Rancho San Carlos Road
If a day of relaxation cycling through saunas, steam rooms, outdoor hot and cold plunge pools and lazily lounging by fire pits is your idea of fun, then Refuge is your spot. It also offers massages for those who want to indulge.