Nothing beats escaping the winter doldrums and we recently were treated to an amazing getaway in Monterey County, California, where we visited both Carmel-by-the-Sea and Carmel Valley.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is the definition of quaint, comprised of just one square mile on the Monterey Peninsula. With no street numbers, houses are instead designated with cutesy names like Sea Daze and Suntrap, but the small town is very easy to navigate. On every street you will find a scattering of shops, eateries, and art galleries, each more welcoming than the next. Some must hit locations include:
- Thomas Kinkade Studio in the Garden: Located in one of the many back gardens hidden among the shops on the streets, this particular gallery was Kinkade‘s first!
- Point Lobos: A quick five minute drive out of the main drag of town, this natural reserve is a breathtaking state park that you can spend hours walking around and getting lost in (not literally lost). Many visitors get the chance to see incredible wildlife like whales, dolphins, and sea lions. Plus, there’s a small museum on the property called the Whalers Cabin Museum, adding to your cultural experience.
- The Art of Dr. Seuss: Another fun gallery, covered in well-known artwork, is the small but fun-tastic Dr. Seuss gallery. Various works of art and sculptures can be seen here.
- Carmel Bakery: The display window alone will have you salivating here. Not only can you get first class biscottis, cookies, and baked goods, but there’s plenty of substantial food items like sandwiches and salads to keep you here all day long.
- Chuckles: This store is filled with laugh-inducing gifts, from cards and socks to books and decorations, you’ll be in here laughing for at least 15 minutes, and most of it is totally inappropriate (we love it!).
- The White Rabbit: This whimsical shop is adorned with all things Alice in Wonderland. From backwards clocks to vintage books, and even a tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum photo-op, this store is definitely worth checking out.
- Cottage of Sweets: Exactly what it sounds like, this tiny cottage is the one-stop-shop for those with a sweet tooth.
- Carmel Beach: Like the rest of the town, this beach is dog-friendly, with many visitors letting their pups run free, while watching the surfers, swimmers and many others enjoying the sun.
- Tarpy’s Roadhouse: Located a quick 10 minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea, this Monterey staple is great for a night out. Stay tuned for our article on it!
- Wine Walk Passport: In between shops and galleries are numerous winery tasting rooms. The Wine Walk passport allows you to try a tasting flight at 9 of the 14 tasting rooms. (Bonus: it never expires!)
- Little Napoli: A wonderful Italian spot with both indoor and outdoor seating has a great array of pizzas, salads, and pastas on the menu and is a spot we’d gladly go back to.
- Hofsas House Hotel: This adorable B & B is where we hunkered down for our weekend getaway in Carmel-by-the-Sea. There’s too much to say about it here, so click the link to read our full article on our stay.
In addition to all these great places in Carmel-by-the-Sea, another important point to touch upon is how friendly everyone in town is. Whether your traveling solo, as a couple, as a family or with a furry friend, it’s a great spot to mix and mingle with the locals and have a nice, relaxing vacation. We loved our stay here and really can’t wait to go back — there’s still so much to do! After our stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea, we ventured 15 minutes away to Carmel Valley. Make sure to read all about our stay there, as well!
Twisted Talk: Have you ever visited Carmel-by-the-Sea? What were some of your favorite things there? Discuss below!