Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach


No exploration of California’s central coast is complete without a sojourn to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a town as well known for its shopping as it is for its most famous former civil servant, the Honorable Mayor Clint Eastwood. This quaint amalgamation of art galleries, boutiques, hotels, shops, fine restaurants and whimsically styled homes evokes a storybook ambiance that can be appreciated by romantics of all ages and it is no wonder why Travel + Leisure has named it as one of the "World's Best Cities for Romance." The area around Carmel-by-the-Sea, known simply as Carmel, has breathtaking scenery, wonderful parks and the historic Carmel Mission.

Visit the Carmel-by-the-Sea official website for more information.

History of Carmel-by-the-Sea

The earliest Native American settlers of the Carmel area were the Esselen, followed by the Ohlone. Europeans first settled in Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1771, when Father Junipero Serra established the Carmel Mission.

Developers such as Honore Escolle and S.J. Duckworth worked to subdivide the area in the late 1800s, but it was the Carmel Development Company in 1902 that had the most success in drawing new residents to the area. Many of these new settlers were the bohemian artistic elites of San Francisco, especially visual artists who were inspired by Carmel-by-the-Sea's stunning coastline. By 1906, the artistic community in Carmel-by-the-Sea began to attract media attention, which encouraged even more artists to migrate to the town.

Carmel Art Galleries and Arts

An artistic hotbed for over a century, Carmel-by-the-Sea holds some of the greatest arts establishments in Monterey County. Pacific Repertory Theatre, known regionally as 'PacRep', is the only year-round professional theatre in the Central Coast region. The company presents a season ranging from Broadway musicals, comedies and dramas, to Shakespeare and the classics, and also presents world-class Performing Arts screenings. Performances take place at various PacRep venues including the Golden Bough Theatre, the Circle Theatre-in-the-Round and the Outdoor Forest Theater.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is also home to some of Monterey County's most notable music organizations and festivals. The world-renowned Carmel Bach Festival brings visitors from around the globe to experience over two weeks of music by Johann Sebastian Bach and other Baroque composers. The Monterey Symphony was founded in Carmel-by-the-Sea and performs regularly at the Sunset Cultural Center. For those interested in more modern music, jazz performances take place at restaurants and venues throughout the town.

The Carmel Art Association counts artists such as Mary DeNeale Morgan, Armin Hansen and Francis McComas as its earliest members, and currently features the work of over 120 artists, many internationally known. Smaller galleries throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea also showcase the work of local and international artists. Festivals throughout the year celebrate the visual arts, including the Carmel Art & Film Festival and the Carmel Art Festival.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Architecture

Since the founding of the Carmel Mission in 1771, the first mission in California to be built from stone, Carmel-by-the-Sea has been known for its incredible buildings. Stroll along the streets and admire the many fantasy cottages in Carmel built by the legendary Hugh Comstock, as well as those designed by architects Julia Morgan, Charles S. Greene and Bernard Maybeck. Drive along Carmel-by-the-Sea's Scenic Road to catch a view of the Walker Residence, designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Make a date to tour Tor House, the stone home and tower that poet Robinson Jeffers built for his bride Una with his own two hands.

Carmel-by-the-Sea's Natural Beauty

Carmel-by-the-Sea's rugged coastline, featuring both sandy beaches and rocky, cypress-covered outcroppings, has provided inspiration for artists of every stripe. On any evening, visitors will find town residents enjoying the beauty of a Carmel-by-the-Sea sunset at Carmel Beach while watching surfers ply the waves. Just a mile south, Carmel River State Beach is a popular spot for diving, kayaking, surfing and birding. Point Lobos State Reserve, "the crown jewel of the State Park system," is much-photographed by artists and tourists intent on capturing its astounding beauty.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Hotels

Carmel-by-the-Sea lodging options range from quaint, cozy inns with a view of the ocean to full-service award-winning hotels. The majority of Carmel-by-the-Sea's hotels are centrally located and have a unique, quaint, cozy charm.  

Carmel-by-the-Sea Restaurants

A well-known fine dining destination, Carmel-by-the-Sea's restaurants have a worldwide reputation for excellence, with an emphasis on European and Californian cuisine. If you're seeking a casual dining experience, Carmel-by-the-Sea has several restaurant options that emphasize both local ingredients and a laid-back atmosphere.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Map

This interactive map can show you Carmel-by-the-Sea and how it relates to the area. Click on the plus and minus symbols in the upper left-hand corner to zoom in and out. Click on the arrow symbols to move the map around.

View Larger Map


Lay of the Land

click to enlarge map

Lay of the Land



County Map


Click on the links for high-resolution maps of Monterey County communities, suitable for printing: Monterey, Carmel and Carmel Valley, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Salinas, Seaside, Marina, Sand City and Moss Landing.


Fly direct from these five airports:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
McCarran International Airport (LAS)
Phoenix Skyharbor International Airport (PHX)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
San Diego International Airport (SAN)

Free Travel Guide
Get your digital guide now!
Find out everything there is to see and do in Monterey County with the 2014 Offi... more

Monterey Highlights
Monterey County's scenic drives range from the legendary to the little-known, from Highway One to ... more
The Monterey Bay Aquarium is consistently ranked #1 in the United States for its innovative ... more
This is a great place to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Monterey. ... more
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca is an 11-turn, 2.238-mile road course best known for The Corkscrew and ... more
The Basilica of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission (Carmel Mission) was founded in 1770, making ... more
Cannery Row houses an eclectic blend of specialty shops, local artists' galleries, more than 25 ... more
Home to museums, galleries and performing arts venues, Monterey County is a hub for artistic ... more
The antique restored adobes make Monterey the most historic city in California. ... more
Monterey County's shopping scene is full of great deals and extraordinary surprises, from fine art ... more
Sign up for our eNewsletter!
Monterey County's monthly newsletter keeps you up-to-date with upcoming event information, itinerary ideas, occasional contests & more. more


Monterey Spotlight

Featured Events


Thanksgiving Dinners in Monterey County

Nov. 27
Why suffer the stress of trying to please everyone's palate this Thanksgiving? Start…more

Christmas at the Inns

Dec. 2-Dec. 3
Visit several bed & breakfast inns decorated for the holidays in…more

Christmas in the Adobes

Dec. 5-Dec. 6
Experience 20 of Monterey’s beautiful historic buildings illuminated by…more

Teddy Bear Tea at Pebble Beach

Dec. 5-Dec. 7
Enjoy a delightful afternoon filled with holiday treats, hot cocoa, teas and festive…more

Teddy Bear Tea at Pebble Beach

Dec. 12-Dec. 14
Enjoy a delightful afternoon filled with holiday treats, hot cocoa, teas and festive…more

Teddy Bear Tea at Pebble Beach

Dec. 19-Dec. 21
Enjoy a delightful afternoon filled with holiday treats, hot cocoa, teas and festive…more

Christmas Dinners in Monterey County

Dec. 25
Why suffer the stress of trying to please everyone's palate this Christmas? Start a…more