Travel Guide to Carmel-by-the-Sea

We had a great time walking around the city soaking in the atmosphere, but there’s so much more to do in Carmel than just sightseeing.

There’s a big community of artists in the area, and I’m sure that’s partly responsible for the many cool shops and restaurants. It’s just a fun place to be. There are also several small museums around town including the Pacific Avenue Museum (PA Mus) and the Delford B. Hixon Museum at Point Lobos; both are worth a stop if you have some extra time. The most popular attraction in Carmel is their famous beach, but at this time of year it was too cold to enjoy it properly so I didn’t get to see it first hand, but there are plenty of people enjoying it over the summer!

There are a number of wineries in Carmel Valley and along the coast, as well as some great restaurants.

We decided to take one of the popular tours. The Wine Walk Tour started early and lasted most of the afternoon. This was definitely not your typical wine tour – it was much more informative, interactive, and above all fun! The guide kept things light-hearted and fun while sharing stories about each winery we stopped at along way. The tour included six wineries where we tasted some amazing wines including my favorite: Malbec!

The tour ended with lunch at an incredible restaurant overlooking Monterey Bay that was featured on Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations show on the Travel Channel.

My only regret is that I didn’t stay even longer; there’s so much more to do in Carmel. I have a feeling I’ll be back soon to discover a few more treasures of this amazing little town. Here's a collection of some of my favorite things to do while you're in town.

Wine Tasting Tour -- The tour we took was provided by Viator, but there are others offered by companies like Monterey Wine Adventures and Del Rey Tours.

The Del Monte Hotel – When visiting for wine tasting purposes, this is where you want to stay as it’s located right next door at the Del Monte Resort & Golf Club. It’s also home to one of my favorite restaurants in all of California: Michael’s on East!

Mountain Bike Trails – There are dozens of miles of mountain bike trails throughout Carmel Valley, some easy and short while others are extremely strenuous and long. Even if you don’t have your own bike, many companies including Pedal ‘n Paddle Rentals provide rentals so you can enjoy these fun rides without going through the hassle of bringing your own bike.

Ocean View – As you can imagine, the ocean view in Carmel is incredible and there are plenty of places to enjoy it, including the beach and at some restaurants. As an added bonus, during whale watching season you have a good chance of spotting some Humpbacks or other amazing aquatic mammals from these locations.

Malbec – It’s the official wine of the town, but that doesn’t mean you can only drink Malbec while visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea. In fact there are dozens of different wineries to visit where they produce everything from Chardonnay to Zinfandel!

Carmel Plaza – This historic shopping center is home to dozens of specialty stores including bookstores, jewelry shops, clothing boutiques, and more!

Santa Cruz Boardwalk – The Santa Cruz boardwalk is just a short drive away where you can cool off with some classic carnival rides, food options, and games.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – Named after the woman who discovered the massive Pfeiffer Big Sur waterfall, this beautiful state park attracts millions of visitors each year. There’s a well-marked and maintained trail that leads to one of the most popular waterfalls in all of California. While you can visit on your own, it is also home to a number of tour operators offering everything from zip lines to rappelling. It’s also known for its series of hiking trails as well as its camping options.

My favorite part of the visit was a Malbec made with grapes grown on their property!

Have you ever visited Carmel-by-the-Sea or any other town in the Monterey Bay area? What was your favorite thing to do there? Put it in the comments below!

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