carmel by the sea getaway guide

Situated in the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, the charming village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is one of California's top travel destinations - home to some of the country's finest beaches and wineries, art galleries, restaurants, and golf courses. A magnet for artists and writers (at one point counting actor Clint Eastwood as the town mayor), the seaside village feels like something out of a fairytale, interspersing an eclectic mix of European-style cottages and chalets with stunning views of the rugged Pacific coastline. With no street lights, parking meters, or even numbered addresses, Carmel runs at a calm and peaceful pace, making it the perfect haven for those seeking a romantic weekend escape or a laid-back family getaway.

We can turn a home rental into a real vacation by adding amenities such as:

  • private chef
  • grocery delivery
  • vetted restaurant recommendations and/or reservations
  • in-home spa services
  • even a butler!

Every reservation has access to a local property manager and 24/7 concierge service:

Once a reservation is made, our 24/7 concierge is always on call as an extra layer of service and support, on top of the local professional management team overseeing on-the-ground logistics during a stay. While we recommend coordinating with the local property management team on matters relating to on-site requests and custom amenities while a stay is in progress, you can always call or reach out over email or live chat with your reservation number to receive immediate assistance from our team. We strive to provide the most comprehensive service and support in our industry, so you can rest assured in the quality of the booking and travel experience!


From whimsical architecture to a stunning coastal landscape, Carmel is sure to enchant. Soak in Carmel’s natural beauty with a picnic on Carmel Beach or a trip to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, a ten minute drive down the coastline. At Point Lobos, hikers of all abilities will be mesmerized by the cliffside views, whale-watching outlooks, and seals playing on the rocks below. In town, take note of the storybook cottages built by Hugh Comstock in the 1920s, stopping by the California Visitors Center for a list of all twenty-one cottages’ locations. Familiarize yourself with some of the area’s history by visiting The Carmel Mission, a National Historical Landmark, built in 1770 as the second Spanish mission in North America. Go for a stroll around the Mission's courtyard and gardens and stop by the four museums on its grounds to learn about the history of the Monterey Peninsula.


Filled with thatched-roof shops, small cafes, and some of the best art galleries in America, downtown Carmel is charm personified. Spend an afternoon gallery gazing; with 100 art galleries in a single square mile, you’re bound to find something that peaks your interest. For a unique experience, visit the Dennis Rae Fine Art Gallery for an intimate glimpse into the artistic life of Dr. Seuss. Once you’ve gotten your fix of downtown, spend some time exploring the nearby area. Discover regional wines in the Carmel Valley’s top tasting rooms. For a romantic experience, try Folktale Winery – a French-inspired chateau with outdoor garden seating, where you can cozy up next to a fire pit with a glass of sparkling rosé, seasonal small plates, and live music. Bernardus Winery is another Carmel classic known for its excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and for being the first tasting room in the Valley. For something the entire family can enjoy, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium situated on the ocean’s edge and offering a unique view into marine life including sea otters, penguins, and sharks. Love golf? Carmel is home to the famously scenic Pebble Beach Golf Links and Spyglass Hill. With its curving coastline and cliff-top setting above the Pacific Ocean, Pebble Beach has been host to five U.S. Opens and 70 Tour events. Relish the spectacular stretch of coastal holes and be sure to soak in the unparalleled oceanfront view at No. 18 - the most famous finishing hole in the sport.


From award-winning gourmet cuisine to cozy cafes and wine bars, Carmel is a dining destination in and of itself. Notably, every dining experience in Carmel is one-of-a-kind, since chain restaurants have been banned to improve the sustainability of local eateries. La Bicyclette, a quaint country bistro reminiscent of a French brasserie, is a great choice for all times of day. With hanging copper pots, cozy dining nooks, and a wood oven that delivers delicacies like oven-baked escargot and wood-fired eggs, you may find yourself coming back multiple times during your stay. For an elegant date night or celebratory meal, Aubergine at the L’Auberge Carmel is our top pick. The eight-course fixed-price menu by executive chef Justin Cogley incorporates local bounty into exquisite dishes – think asparagus enhanced with hazelnuts and oyster emulsion and local abalone paired with white team – and has earned Forbes Travel Guide’s highest Five-Star rating for restaurants. And if wine is a passion, venture to La Balena, styled after a Florence trattoria and known for its Tuscan-inspired take on local seafood. La Balena’s extensive wine list features small producers and highlights female winemakers, as well as organic and biodynamic wineries. Though open for lunch, the space comes alive in the evening, when a bubbling fountain and soft twinkling lights create a romantic Old World mood.


Whether you're traveling for a romantic weekend, serious golfing, or a laid-back family retreat, you're sure to be enchanted by Carmel-by-the-Sea. Between cozy cottages and spacious homes with ocean views, find your perfect stay near Carmel with exclusive member discounts on all listed properties.

contact us sales@journeystrvl.com 855.465.6876


Created with images by Hendrik Cornelissen - "Yes, I know there are two trees…" • Ganapathy Kumar - "As hundreds of people stood mesmerized by this sunset at Carmel-by-the-Sea, this lone swimmer with a paddleboard waded through the waters. I was looking for a subject to freeze this frame and this made a perfect opportunity."