Carmel is the perfect “home base” for many sightseeing day trip explorations. Whether it be discovering all the specialty shops, galleries, and hidden courtyards of Carmel Village, or the vast open country in Carmel Valley there is something for everyone to enjoy on the ultimate Carmel getaway. Explore Big Sur, take a breathtaking 17-mile driving tour through famed Pebble Beach, or watch the sea otters frolic along the rocky coastline of John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, or Pacific Grove. Whatever you are going to do grab a map and your camera and be prepared to be in awe.
Sun splashed with colorful wildflowers among the majestic oaks, Carmel Valley’s verdant hills and pastures are populated with horses, grape vines and hawks circling high in cobalt skies. Relatively untouched since the days of Spanish land grants, the area is graced with secluded redwood canyons, chaparral laden slopes and ancient stands of pine. Twelve miles up Carmel Valley from Highway 1 is the quiet country Carmel Valley Village with its fine dining, wine tasting, antique shops and art galleries, most open daily from 10:00 a.m.
- Eat breakfast before you wine taste
- Dress in layers, as it’s much warmer inland than on the coast
- Wineries will ship to most states
- Stop for Quail, Turkeys, Geese and Horses crossing the road
- Lunch Stops: Corkscrew Cafe, Cafe Rustica, The Running Iron, The Oak Deli, Wickets at Bernardus Lodge
Pick up “Guide to Carmel” from Guest Services and explore hundreds of unique one of a kind shops which include: Antiques, Apparel, Aviation, Arts & Crafts, Collectibles, Cutlery, Fabrics, Games & Toys, Garden Shops, Gifts, Home Furnishings, Jewelry, Nautical, Pet Apparel, Pipes, Quilts, Sporting Goods, Stationery and just as many restaurants! – Guided Tours Available.
Take an early morning stroll or watch the sunset at Carmel Beach, at the end of Ocean Avenue. This beach is a white sand slice of heaven, an artistic inspiration, and a meditative space.
Tor House & Hawk Tower Tour
Tor House is one of the original Carmel Cottages. Built in 1918 by Robinson Jeffers out of granite boulders from the shore, this cottage and tower provided a setting for a life of simplicity, harmony and artistic creativity for Jeffers, his wife Una and their twin sons Garth and Donnan. Tour the house, climb the tower, stroll the English-style gardens and experience the atmosphere that inspired some of America’s finest poetry.
Tours are offered Fridays and Saturdays only. Reservations: 831-624-1813 or 831-624-1840.
Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, Pacific Grove
Monterey’s Fisherman’s Wharf is directly downtown Monterey with many tourist shops and seafood restaurants. Even enjoy a cup of clam chowder or seafood cocktail while strolling down the wharf. You will find not only the Sea Lions, Otters and Pelicans here, but also the charter fishing and whale watching boats.
Historic Cannery Row
Visit the subject of John Steinbeck’s famous novel, just around the corner from Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you will see the actual places Steinbeck wrote about: the sardine factories, Doc Rickett’s Lab and Wing Chong’s General Store.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
At the edge of Cannery Row you will find this world-famous aquarium. Visit over 200 exhibits, with over 550 species including penguins, jellyfish, sharks, sea otters, and so much more.
Nature at its Best
Wondrous mix of rocky cliffs, sweeping vistas, windswept trees and encircling blue-green sea is just a bit of what you can expect when you take in this State Reserve, minutes south of Carmel. Inhabited by more than 240 animal and bird species and more than 300 plant species, the reserve spreads over almost 550 acres on land and 750 acres under water, designated the first marine reserve in the United States in 1960. Visitors to this jewel hike, picnic, dive and tour the Whalers Cabin Museum, walk gently, breathe deeply, reflect, discover its spirit for yourself. The Reserve opens daily at 9 a.m. 831-624-4909.
- Park on the highway and walk in for free
- Pack a Picnic Lunch & Sunscreen
Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive
The 17 Mile Drive (Pebble Beach), with it’s famous coastal scenery, runs through the Del Monte Forest, comprising roughly of 5,200 acres of land. You’ll see a stunning collection of natural beauty, plus some amazing man-made mansions and golf courses. Stop along the way at Point Joe with its colliding currents, Bird Rock and its countless winged inhabitants, the dramatic views from Cypress Point, the stately Lone Cypress and more.
- Entrance fee per vehicle, unless you have a tee time or restaurant reservation
- No entry for tours 30 minutes prior to sunset
- Ask for a detailed map of the vista points upon entry at the gate
- Don’t forget your camera
- Exit the Spanish Bay/Pacific Grove gate exit and turn left on to Sunset Boulevard. Follow Sunset Boulevard around to Ocean View Boulevard and watch the waves crashing on the rocks to Pacific Grove. (This road ends at the Aquarium.)