Carmel has been in the Top Ten Visitor Destinations (as named by Conde Nast Traveler Magazine) for the past 8 years. There are lots of reasons for this but not the least of them is that the shopping is fantastic. If you like art, there are over 80 art galleries, including painting, sculpture, and photography galleries. If you are into clothes shopping, there are dozens of unique shops that you won't find anywhere else. You will find gifts, books, cameras, jewelry, toys, pet accessories, and surf boards - we have everything you might need even if you don't know you need it yet.
Carmel's Wine Walk By-The-Sea™ currently features 12 wine tasting venues with more opening soon. Stay in a charming Carmel inn, walk on the beach in the morning, wine taste in the afternoon and have dinner at a local restaurant with an award-winning wine cellar - all without getting in your car. Or drive to Carmel Valley for wine tasting in charming country settings. You can say you’ve been here when Monterey County becomes the new Napa.
Eco-tourists will love to see Point Lobos State Reserve and Garland Park for hiking and visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium whose mission is to showcase and protect the marine animals of the Monterey Bay. There is the Frank Lloyd Wright house for those interested in architecture and the National Steinbeck Center for those who love literature. Every 4th grader in California has to visit at least one mission and the Carmel Mission is one of the best. Car buffs will not want to miss events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and the annual Car Week in August which culminates with the Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach.
From its deep roots as a Bohemian art village, Carmel continues to be a cultural destination. From the internationally acclaimed Carmel Bach Festival to the brand new Carmel Art & Film Festival, there is almost always something cultural to do. Carmel has four theaters and the recently renovated Sunset Center hosts classical music, dance, and all sorts of performers from David Sedaris to KD Lang to the "Nutcracker".
The beach is the most popular attraction for all visitors, but especially for families. Take a picnic, a boogie board or just yourself and enjoy this white sand beach. Beach fires on the beach are a beloved experience for families. Check out the Aquarium and other attractions and see the itinerary for families on this website.
Somewhere in its history, Carmel started to become dog-friendly and now Carmel is a favorite place for dog-lovers. Doris Day opened her Cypress Inn in the early 90’s and immediately began to allow dogs in rooms and offer afternoon tea for dogs. You’ll find a leash-free beach and pet water bowls in front of many Carmel shops. Come especially for the city’s birthday party held at Halloween time and participate in the dog (and their owners) parade.
Looking to travel somewhere that fits your green lifestyle? Want to travel with a low carbon footprint? Dreaming of a destination that will be unique but supportive of your environmental ethics? Visit Carmel, California. Long a haven for those who followed their own muse, Carmel has always been a green community. It’s easy to practice sustainability here.
The Carmel Chamber of Commerce runs a visitor center which is on San Carlos between 5th & 6th in the same building as the Hogsbreath Inn. Stop by for directions, referrals to inns and restaurants, or to find out any information you want to know about Carmel. The center is open 7 days a week from 10am -5pm. Closed on major holidays.
Click here to get a walking map of Carmel, our restaurant map with 53 delicious locations and the inns map with 45 places to stay. Come by the Visitor Center where there are more maps to fit your agenda.
Carmel is an easy 1:45 from the San Francisco Airport, 1:15 from the San Jose Airport and 10 minutes from the Monterey Peninsula Airport. Once here, there are walking and driving tours for every interest.