If you’ve been complying with along on society media, you’ll have actually noticed that i made the expedition from san Francisco to Carmel quite generally last year. Jessica of Bon Traveler and I released our an initial Gather + Getaway retreat there a few weeks earlier (thank girlfriend so lot for all your support!)

Both of united state write about travel for a living, so as we planned our an initial retreat we considered spots approximately the world for the location. We’re also two north California women living in san Francisco, despite — and also we realized the the beauty in ~ a few hours journey from SF warranted staying closer to home.

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Hopping in the automobile from SF, Carmel is simply a 2 hour journey from the city — and when you get there, you gain a whole new vibe.

Dark green cypress trees framework deep blues and turquoises the the clear sea. Tide crash powerfully along the rough California coastline. Vivid tiles heat stairwells finish at arts galleries, garden passageways, and wine tasting rooms. Homes and shops feel a little bit like they’ve to be plucked out of a european fairytale.

Although I tend not come overuse words ‘charming’ to define a place, it’s the specific word that best suits Carmel-by-the-Sea.

I flourished up visiting the shore from Monterey come Carmel regularly as a child. Still we would have to thoroughly study the area and intimately obtain to know Carmel to have the ability to host a group there in the method we wanted.

So now, i present…my heavily-researched and also double-triple-checked overview to Carmel, California — basic day or (ideally) weekend expedition from mountain Francisco. It’s among my height picks because that a getaway native the city.

Weekend Getaway: san Francisco to Carmel

Getting indigenous SF to Monterey/Carmel

Without traffic, the takes just over two hours to journey from mountain Francisco to Monterey and also Carmel. Because that every current trip, however, we left mountain Francisco just prior to 6 am to beat every the traffic. Because you drive v the city and down past San Jose, there deserve to be several slowdowns. I’d introduce driving in off-peak hrs if you have the right to — also if you’re just driving indigenous the SFO airport.

If you have the time, Santa Cruz and also Pacific Grove or Pebble beach (near Monterey) are a few other stop to consider. Walk from mountain Francisco come Carmel via Highway 1 is another slightly slower, but an ext scenic choice that winds about the coastline.

And then when you arrive? Here’s what you have to know:

Things to do in Carmel

Stroll the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Walking along ocean Avenue will certainly take friend past most of the town’s highlights. Be sure to duck into alleyways and also passages that frequently lead come patios and gardens. (The cutting board Kinkade Gallery side door leads to one of the best!) examine out the Tuck Box and Cottage of Sweets to see few of the many fairytale-esque spots.

Spend a leisurely morning or one afternoon at Carmel Beach

Carmel beach at the leaf of city (and no much more than a couple of blocks native everything) is among the many beautiful beaches in California to me. That soft, white sands and also deep blue waters, regularly accompanied by superior waves, do this a favorite spot for many. To walk or bike on the bluffs above, checking out the oceanfront cottages as you go, and also be sure to sit and relax ~ above the sand if weather allows.

Visit the Carmel Mission

The California missions are few of the most beautiful and important components of ours state’s history. (Ask anyone who prospered up right here which one they walk a report on in great school!) Mission Carmel is among the many beautiful, and also most traditionally restored, of the 21 missions across the state.

Take the scenic drive under Highway 1, or the 17 Mile Drive

As adorable as the town of Carmel is, over there is nothing better to me than a relaxed drive under the shore just outside of it. Drive for just thirty minutes south and also you deserve to see several of the remarkable scenery of California’s main coast. The 17 Mile Drive, if stunning, calls for you to salary to go into ($9.50.) It’s worth doing at the very least once, however to me there’s nothing more freeing or appealing than just taking off under the winding coastline.

Carmel Food

Where to Eat in Carmel

These are my favorite areas to grab a bite in Carmel-by-the-Sea (after number of visits.)

Cultura Carmel: dinner + cocktailsLa Bicyclette: lunch or dinnerBrophy’s Tavern: lunch or dinner + drinksVillage Corner: lunchThe Stationaery: coffee, brunch, or lunch

Read much more about the ideal Restaurants in Carmel


Vineyard Visit

Best Wineries in Carmel Valley

Folktale Winery

When we began scouting spaces in June critical year, us knew we wanted to find and highlight several of the an excellent (and low key!) wine they’re make in Carmel Valley.

As shortly as us stepped into the magical ar that is Folktale Winery, we quit the search. Their residential or commercial property is important stunning, particularly if girlfriend love modern-day design meets French chateau meets greenhouse space!

To us, the setting is so special (and mirrors Carmel so much,) and the food and wine was an excellent (try their sparkling rosé!) that quick of safety the totality weekend in Carmel Valley, this one winery will more than suit your needs. Over there are loads of tasting rooms in town, but Folktale Winery is a short 10-15 minutes away by car and really worth visiting.

Bernadus and Georgis Winery were the various other two the came very recommended, if you want to include to your wine tour of Carmel Valley during your stay.

Best areas to continue to be in Carmel

Hotel Carmel

What i love most about Hotel Carmel isn’t just its size (a handful of rooms,) its location (right whereby you have the right to walk to whatever without being in a busy section of town,) or its beautiful design, however just exactly how much remaining there feel like home to me. Whatever from a lobby that feels favor a living room come a self-serve breakfast that bagels through fresh homemade strawberry cream cheese come the neighborhood wines offered fireside provides me feel both comfortable and also like I’m offering myself a tiny splurge. It continues to be my height hotel an option for Carmel.

La Playa Carmel

La Playa is the largest, more beachfront sister residential or commercial property of Hotel Carmel. It’s obtained a little bit an ext of a standard Carmel will (rather than fresh and also trendy) vibe, however it’s an in similar way comfortable with huge fireplaces, a familiar staff, and a an excellent patio. Check out La Playa to watch if it’s an ext your style…also extremely recommended!

Hofsas House

If you’re trying to find a friendly, and also budget-friendly, place to stay right in the heart of town, you can do no far better than the pink Hofsas House.

The family-owned property has a historic past but retains that is hospitality and warmth today. Actual warmth — via the dried sauna and heated swimming pool on site or the in-room fireplace if you’re lucky — is a vast bonus ~ above a chilly coastal day. You’ll it is in welcomed through friendly service, free breakfast (with fresh neighborhood pastries!), totally free parking, big room size, and many more amenities the make this a personalized and also all-around lovely base in Carmel. Ask around ocean viev room availability.

Neighboring Getaways

There’s for this reason much around Carmel-by-the-Sea that’s precious seeing. Below are a few spots friend can add on to your Carmel vacation if you’re proceeding on down the coast.


Enjoy the Monterey bay Aquarium (my forever favorite,) Cannery Row, scuba diving, whale watching, and also more.

It takes about two hrs driving from san Francisco come Monterey, conversely, Monterey to Carmel takes only 10-12 minutes. Also if mine visit is simply to Carmel, i make a allude to avoid at Captain + Stoker, a exorbitant coffee shop in Monterey. I also love Alvarado Street Brewery. And, if you’re in search of a location to remain that’s inexpensive and right in the center of the action, i recommend hello USA which has wonderful hostel a couple of blocks from Cannery Row.

Big Sur

The 2 stars the the large Sur coast (which honestly, is a star in itself the whole method down) are McWay Falls and also Bixby Bridge — the likes of i m sorry you’ve no doubt seen everywhere Instagram. I’m a fan of driving to Bixby bridge for sunset in ~ the very least, and love stopping to take it in the coastline in Garrapata State Park‘s beaches and also rocky, seascape nooks.

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If you have the time, a camping trip in huge Sur among the trees and fresh seaside air is also really worth it!

Other good Things come Note!You deserve to fly directly into Monterey regional Airport (MRY) from countless West coastline airports. It’s precious connecting there rather than driving indigenous SFO if you can regulate it. It’s around ten minutes in an Uber come Carmel indigenous there.Carmel is one of the many dog-friendly urban I’ve to be to! If you’re lucky sufficient to have actually a four-legged girlfriend in tow, you’ll it is in surprised to learn that the majority of Carmel hotels and restaurant patios room welcoming come dogs.There’s a beautiful, beautiful beach simply past Carmel beach (if you continue on under the road, past where the parking ends.) It’s shaped favor a crescent, is hardly ever before crowded, and also on a clear day rivals any type of other beach I’ve watched in this human being for herbal beauty.

:: conserve for later ::