Carmel-by-the-Sea is a step into another world, unlike any city along the California coast. The cobbled sidewalks, quaint cottages, breath-taking seascapes, tucked away shops and incredible art galleries are a few of the attractions that draw travelers from around the globe to experience a part of California unique unto itself.


Romantic, inspiring and usually bustling with activity, Carmel should not be missed on your next California coastal visit..  Monterey Airport offers connector flights with Los Angeles International Airport, but the drive to Carmel along Big Sur Highway 1 is incredible, if not a bit challenging with its hairpin turns.


With nearly 2,000 hotel rooms, several luxury golf resorts andd more than 30 Bed and Breakfast Inns, Carmel-by-the-Sea's close knit community of over 4,500 shares its home with the world daily. The familiarity of a European village in which necessities are within walking distance combined with scenic beauty and unique weather of the California Coast makes this well known destination a much desired and admired vacation. It is also considered one of the world's most romantic places, as well. Many couples come to Carmel to get married. The air, the scenery and sense of time and history is evident in little things such as cobblestone walkways, homes known by names rather than addresses and beaches framed so perfectly by nature's props that you can't escape the feeling you are in Paradise.


Father Junipero Serra, father of California missions, was one of Carmel's earliest European settlers to establish a presence by building a mission in 1771.  He chose the location near the ocean as his favorite spot to live and was even buried at the Carmel mission. This man traveled up and down the coast and knew its landscape well. He could have chosen hundreds of locations with beautiful beaches and fantastic climate to call home. With a mission to build settlements along the coast, Father Serra chose Carmel as his home. Some consider Carmel-by-the Sea the closest point to heaven.


More than 100 years later,  San Jose land developer Frank Devendorf purchased a huge parcel in the early 1900's and subdivided it with dreams of creating a family village at one with nature. He virtually gave lots away in Carmel Bay to attract his target audience of  academic, scientific and artistic people from the San Francisco bay area. His timing couldn't have been better. San Francisco experienced a massive earthquake which destroyed much of the city in 1906. Eager to relocate, many creative types answered Devendorf's call with the likes of famous writers, poets and painters such as Mary Austin, Sinclair Lewis, Xavier Martinez, David Starr Jordan and Jack London on the newcomers list. 


Word quickly spread and Carmel became one of the "in" spots. Tree house offices, theater in the woods, and beach parties until dawn are some of the memories that live on and are shared amongst locals. Artists were outplaced when they no longer were able to support the dream with their meager paychecks and commissions from sales. Still, they helped set the tone for the influx of wealthier investors with money to burn on artists' goods.  It is a cruel paradox that the people who made Carmel such a livable place could no longer live there, author John Steinbeck wrote.


The number of galleries per capita currently averages more than one for every 100 residents. That's almost unheard of but is sustainable, due to patrons which include celebrity residents and upscale tourists shopping for works not seen elsewhere. 


Carmel is a unique and special place as evidenced by its residence who recently voted overwhelmingly to not receive home delivery of mail. Such an action would require putting numbers on houses which are known by names and descriptions. When visiting, walk down the street to see why people like things just the way they are. 


Special places to stay in Carmel and nearby: We have tried many hotels in and around Carmel and can't help but stray to nearby resorts such as Carmel Valley Ranch Resort, our first pick with its large condo-sized suites, deer, wild turkey and beautiful flora and fauna, plus a stunning golf course.  We usually choose something in the $150 to $2505 price range so must shop for specific times that resort hotels offer affordable pricing.  In Carmel's village overlooking the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay, demand is high for lodgings so we shop for prices there first but seldom stay right downtown. Other local finds include a charming hotel with a resident spirit, Fred—The Monterey Hotel. Soul-searching Californians with their penchant for a thrill are making spirit (ghost) hotels the rage.

See California ghost hotels


On the beach in Monterey and in nearby are two coastal gems, Best Western Monterey Beach Hotel and Marina Dunes Resort. Both hotels provide modest-sized rooms with awesome views. Some of the rooms at Maria Dunes Resort include a golf cart you are issued to drive from your car to the room, situated near an ecologically-sensitive dunes.


If your prefer top-of-the-line luxury, don't hesitate to book rooms or suites in Pebble Beach. With the look and feel of continental resorts, the prices are upwards of $400/night.


Carmel-by-the-Sea  Information: 831-626-1424