Visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea California

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You know those photos you see circulating your favourite blogs and social platforms that instantly make you want to jump inside a photo and be in that place in that instant? Carmel-by-the-sea on the Coast of California is undoubtedly one such town that will make you want to be teleported there, pronto. On my pacific coast highway adventures, I stopped in at Carmel-by-the-sea for the evening to discover why this little seaside village is raved about as one of the “must visit” stops along the Californian Coast.

The Pacific Coast Highway – also known as Highway 1 – has a lot to offer travellers. Not only is it one of the world’s most scenic drives (and subsequently attracts thousands of road trippers each year), but it also has more than enough stops along the way to interest and delight travellers passing through.

One such stop is located on the fringe of Big Sur itself, just a short drive along the road from nearby Monterey. It is known to locals and visitors as Carmel-by-the-sea, or simply just Carmel.

If you’re wondering why the small seaside town is quite so pleasing to the eye, you will perhaps be just as pleased to learn that Carmel has always been a favourite for creative types – even having several famous mayors such as Clint Eastwood. With a population of less than 4,000, Carmel is quiet and unassuming, but don’t be fooled: this is one of the most popular tourist stops on Highway 1.


Checking In to Tradewinds Carmel

Because of the popularity that seems to only grow year by year, Carmel has some fantastic accommodations on offer. I chose to check in to the luxurious Tradewinds Carmel, a humble property with a strong focus on nature and tranquility.

This was the perfect choice to rest midway on the road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles and my only regret would be booking only one night at the hotel. The staff were incredibly friendly, offered freshly baked cookies on arrival, and were more than helpful in outlining a range of dining options for the evening.

The room was complete with a fireplace, private balcony, large spa bath, and even chocolate coated strawberries on arrival. If you’re looking for the perfect “special occasion” hotel whilst staying overnight in Carmel, I can strongly recommend Tradewinds.

And just when you think it couldn’t get any better (and don’t want to leave), you are welcomed to a generous buffet breakfast in the morning before you hit the road for the next leg of your journey. They even offer to bring your breakfast to you in bed for no charge! Bliss.

Rooms start from $325 per night

carmel by the sea - tales from


Where To Go in Carmel

Although a small town geographically, Carmel has a lot to offer. During my short time here, I did some (hands on) research to uncover the best of the best in Carmel. Here are my recommendations:

If you like nature…

Be sure to visit Point Lobos State Reserve, just 5 minutes from Carmel. Entrance to the Reserve is $10 per adult, but if you’re lucky that will include the chance to spot sea lions bathing at the beach below you.

If you like good food…

Look no further than Dametra Cafe. People queue to eat here, so be sure to arrive early or expect a short wait. Dametra serve Mediterranean Cuisine for an exceptionally good price – you can have a fantastic dinner for two with drinks for around $50.

If you’re in search of great photographs…

Simply walk around the streets of the Carmel Village. Ditch the map and get lost, as the best photo opportunities will be found in hidden alleyways and side streets.

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  • Linktastic – April 2015 | Kerry Hishon
    April 27, 2015 at 10:01 pm

    […] I have wanted to visit Carmel-by-the-sea forever, and now I want to go even more. […]

    April 18, 2015 at 6:14 am

    It looks so cute and quaint! Never even knew this place existed will definitely add it to the list

    April 17, 2015 at 8:38 am

    It looks so picture perfect!

    Silly Medley: Lifestyle and Travel

    April 17, 2015 at 6:03 am

    Carmel looks so cute and quaint! A few friends and I are thinking of doing a Pacific Coast Highway road trip at some point in the next year, and if we do Carmel is definitely going on our list! I’ve only been to Southern California so I’m really escited to see Northern California too!

    April 17, 2015 at 5:21 am

    I’ve taken so many California road trips, hard to believe that I have never been to Carmel! This little city looks like a dream, and I really hope to be able to visit this summer when I’m home again in Los Angeles 🙂 Seriously looks like something right out of a storybook!

    Anita @
    April 17, 2015 at 4:43 am

    oh wow! I was just thinking of this place recently! I was there about 10 months ago. One of my favourite writers and book/author mentors does retreats here and I intend on going one day! 🙂 Her name is Linda Sivertson and she is amazing. Lots of love to you Brooke!

    Jessica @ The Belle Voyage
    April 17, 2015 at 12:29 am

    I love Carmel – it’s one of the most adorable towns I’ve ever visited. I love that it’s so dog-friendly, too. People bring their dogs EVERYWHERE. Can’t wait to visit again!

    Tessa / Bramble & Thorn
    April 16, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    This little town looks incredibly picturesque! I’ve never heard of it before, but I’m saving this post for future reference!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

    April 16, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I love the look of this place, it looks so cute! I’ve never visited the USA before, but have always wanted to. Would definitely love to visit here if I’m ever in California!

    April 16, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    This place looks so charming!! Love it!! 🙂
    xo Andrea
    Wonderful and Marvelous

    Jennifer Stevens | Adventurous Appetite
    April 16, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    So cute! Looks like a Disney town 😉

    Karen Farber
    April 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    In love with Carmel-by-the-Sea! I went on a road-trip from San Francisco to LA as well and stopped here. I am so glad I did! It was my favorite part of the whole trip! Can’t wait to go again soon 🙂

    April 16, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    This town looks adorable! I will definitely check this out when I drive the along the coast this fall 🙂

    Daisy @ Simplicity Relished
    April 16, 2015 at 9:39 am

    Carmel is one of my favorite places ever!! It is also unbelievably photogenic. We try to make it there a couple times a year.

    April 16, 2015 at 8:42 am

    Ahh Carmel is one of my favourite places in the world! Such lovely photos, you’ve really captured its beauty xx

  • Any Given Wednesday | theavidpen
    April 16, 2015 at 8:16 am

    […] I’ve been thinking about California more often than not these days, so when I saw this post from Wanderlust about Carmel by the Sea (I went there many times when I was a little girl) I was so […]

    April 16, 2015 at 7:55 am

    It looks so cute and quaint. I have only been to San fran but I’ll add this to my list of Cali spots to see.