Whatever brings you here, you’ll find plenty of time for all the things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Though Monterey County’s smallest village, Carmel-by-the-Sea packs a punch with fun activities and attractions all within a one-square-mile radius. Discover the awe-inspiring arts and culture scene, indulge in culinary delights, and explore the white sands of Carmel Beach. When it’s time to turn in, plenty of cozy inns and hotels provide personalized service. Experience it all in just two days with our action-packed itinerary that saves room for relaxation.




Begin your first day at one of the oldest and most delicious businesses in Carmel-by-the-Sea–Carmel Bakery. Located on Ocean Avenue, this famed eatery offers a variety of hot and cold beverages, grab-and-go snacks and freshly baked goods. 


With your pastry and coffee in hand, stroll through town and hit up the charming boutiques along Ocean Avenue and the surrounding side streets to peruse fine clothing, jewelry and more. You’ll want to spend some time strolling around Carmel Plaza, our  premier shopping and dining destination, housing designer brands like Tiffany & Co. and Anthropologie and locally-owned gems, including Carmel Honey Company.


If you prefer to explore the local art scene, spend your morning marveling at unique creations across the many Carmel-by-the-Sea art galleries. The Carmel Art Association on Dolores Street features the work of over 100 Monterey Peninsula artists. If you’re with the kids, check out the association’s lineup of free art classes. Other notable art galleries include the Dawson Cole Fine Art Gallery and the photography-focused Gallery EXPOSED.

Carmel Art Gallery


Indulge in Monterey Bay's freshest seafood for lunch at Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar or A.W. Shucks Oyster Bar. Flaherty's Clam Chowder Bowl

Afterward, cruise the scenic Carmel coastline on an e-bike rental from Mad Dogs & Englishmen Bike Shop. The local outfitter offers everything from family-friendly cargo bikes to vintage beauties with sidecars for your furry four-legged companion. Book a tour with the shop for a guided experience. Mad Dogs and Englishmen eBikes Monterey Bay Coastal Trail

If you’re opting for the self-guided tour, start your journey by heading west on Ocean Avenue to Scenic Road, and you’ll arrive at dog-friendly Carmel Beach. If you prefer a beach picnic over a sit-down affair, grab local cheese and produce from a local market beforehand to enjoy a photo-worthy lunch spread. Afterward, continue riding south on Scenic Road, weaving past charming cottages and breathtaking Pacific Ocean sights. 

Wrath, River Road Wine Tasting, Salinas Valley


Freshen up at your waterfront inn or award-winning hotel for a fun evening out that begins with dinner at one of our renowned restaurants. Chef Justin Cogley's Michelin-starred Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel is among the gems, with a rotating eight-course tasting menu and lux setting.

Aubergine at L'Auberge Carmel

After your meal, head to the theater to immerse yourself in the local performing arts scene. The architecturally stunning Sunset Center regularly hosts world-class performances and live events, including concerts, comedy shows, plays and dance performances. You’ll also want to check out the Golden Bough Playhouse, where you can see local talent give their rendition of a popular musical or play. 

Sunset Center

Enjoy a nightcap across any of Carmel’s bars, like Vesuvio’s Star Bar. Sit by one of the rooftop bar’s fire pits and be sure to try one of Chef Pepe’s limoncello cocktails.

Vesuvio Rooftop Bar

Day 2



Head to Carmel Belle for a delicious breakfast featuring locally sourced ingredients, a common feature across most Carmel-by-the-Sea restaurants. Order the famous avocado toast and a fresh smoothie to fuel yourself for another busy day. 

Carmel Belle

Want to hit multiple food spots in a short amount of time? Sign up for a tour of Carmel and Monterey County’s fine cuisine, wine and brews with outfitters like Carmel Food Tours and Kombi Tours. Both companies offer private and public excursions.

Carmel Food Tour

Interested in going on a self-guided scenic drive along the coast instead? Just outside Carmel-by-the-Sea is the iconic 17-mile Drive, a famed stretch of coastal road with 17 must-see stops, including Spanish Bay beach, Bird Rock, where sea lions and other wildlife are often spotted, and the Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Late Afternoon/Evening

If you’re opting to take your own winery tour, you’re in luck because you’ll find countless wine tasting rooms, from Scheid Vineyards Wine Lounge to Manzoni Cellars Tasting Room.

Carmel-by-the-Sea wine tasting

Depending on what time of year you’re visiting, you’ll find tons of world-class performances and live events, many of which take place at the Sunset Center, including the Carmel Bach Festival

For dinner, round out your trip with an incredible meal at Anton & Michel, which serves table-side specialties, including flambé desserts, or Italian restaurant Pepe’s Little Napoli Bistro Italiano, offering authentic Italian specialties and a curated wine list. 

Little Napoli Outside

Plan Your Carmel-by-the Sea Getaway

Carmel-by-the-Sea truly has something for everyone, whether you’re looking to taste local cuisine, explore the arts and culture, or go shopping. Discover places to stay and more travel ideas in Carmel-by-the-Sea to make your trip fun and relaxing.