Carmel, California

Romantic. Bohemian. Casually Elegant.

These are just some of the words that best describe the gorgeous Central California coastal destination of Carmel, California.  Secret courtyards, art galleries galore, and exquisite cuisine are around every corner.


A special thanks to Monta Potter, President and CEO of the Carmel Chamber of Commerce for sharing a glimpse into all of the activities, events, and colorful history of Carmel.  Enjoy this week's episode and be sure to stop by the Visitors Center for more tips on how to make the most of your visit.

Also known as Carmel-by-the-Sea, this town will leave you relaxed, artistically inspired, and wondering if you just stepped out of a postcard after witnessing the most spectacular sunset.

There's a reason why famous architects, actors, authors, and musicians have descended on Carmel since it's founding in 1906.  Established after the tragic 1906 San Francisco earthquake, locals work hard to keep Carmel authentic to its bohemian roots but welcome visitors and new residents alike with arms wide open in hopes to share the abundance of art, music, and theater.  In terms of years, Carmel is still considered quite youthful but trust that this area is rich in history and culture and offers something for all ages.

Photo courtesy of

With near perfect weather all year round, it's hard to decide what time of year to visit.  Perhaps you have a deep appreciation for classical music?  The Bach Festival will have you clearing the calendar every July to surround yourself in total Bach bliss.  Do you love food and wine?  Then the Taste of Carmel every October will hit the spot.  Or maybe you're just looking for a romantic getaway with nothing on the agenda but to wake and see what the day brings.  Carmel delivers on all fronts.

Here are a few things that make Carmel truly unique:

  • Businesses don't have street numbers so expect an address to include directions like "On San Carlos between 5th & 6th (one and a half blocks north of Ocean Avenue)" for the Visitors Center.

  • There aren't many street lights.  This isn't as obvious as it may sound.  We walked around town after dinner and commented that it felt so peaceful and calm.  It turns out that not having the buzz and brightness of street lights makes a world of difference for a post-dinner stroll.  And don't forget to look up.  Minimal street lights mean you can see the gorgeous night sky.

  • A permit from City Hall is required for wearing high heels.  While not technically enforced, a city ordinance was created in the 1920's that requires all that wish to wear footwear which measure more than two inches in height and less than one square inch of bearing surface first obtain a permit.  It's more of a ceremonial gesture at this point but just in case, swing by City Hall when you get into town and check this one off the list!

Whether you return every year for a special occasion or it's a destination that's always been on your bucket list, you'll leave Carmel feeling rejuvenated, inspired, and a touch bohemian.

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Celebrating the centennial in 2016, Carmel has a deep artistic heritage that stems from the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and continues today.  Find out more from the Carmel Heritage Society and be sure to give yourself enough time while you're in town for the self-guided historic walking tour.

Sights and Activities

Art galleries
Beach activities (kayaking, paddleboarding, surfing, and sunsets)
Discover secret courtyards and passageways throughout downtown
Museum at Carmel's historic San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission
Tor House
Tours (artfood, walk, driving)
Wine tasting

Other regional sites and attractions include Pebble Beach, Big Sur, and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Create a custom itinerary for your stay.  Contact the Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center at 800.550.4333 or stop by their location on San Carlos between 5th and 6th.

Events and Festivals
Find more event details from the Carmel Chamber of Commerce here or check out the Guide to Carmel (digital edition).

AT&T Pebble Beach ProAm

Carmel Art Festival

Carmel Bach Festival
Summer Live Music Series (July-August)

Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Tor House Fall Festival
Monterey Jazz Festival

Annual Pumpkin Roll
Taste of Carmel
Carmel International Film Festival
Annual Great Sandcastle Contest

Inns of Distinction Tour


Adobe Inn, Carmel-by-the-Sea
Best Western Carmel's Town House Lodge
Briarwood Inn
Candle Light Inn
Carmel Bay View Inn
Carmel Cottage Inn
Carmel Fireplace Inn
Carmel Garden Inn
Carmel Inn & Suites
Carmel Lodge

Carmel Oaks Inn
Carmel Resort Inn
Carmel Wayfarer Inn
Carriage House Inn
Coachman's Inn
The Colonial Terrace
Cypress Inn
Edgemere Cottages
Forest Lodge

Green Lantern Inn
Happy Landing Inn
The Hideaway
Hofsas House
The Homestead
Horizon Inn and Ocean View Lodge
Hotel Carmel
L'Auberge Carmel
La Playa Carmel
Lamplighter Inn

Lobos Lodge
Monte Verde Inn
Normandy Inn
Pine Inn
Sea View Inn
Svengaard's Inn
Tally Ho Inn
Tradewinds Carmel
Vagabond's House Inn

Village Inn
Wayside Inn
Vacation Rental by Owner (