Carmel is just a hop, skip and a jump away from the San Francisco Bay Area. It’s actually one of the first places that comes to mind when thinking of a weekend getaway and one of my favorite Northern California locales. So it was only natural that I come up with one of my 36 hours travel guides for my this chic little beach town.
Carmel-by-Sea is filled with art, antiques and….dogs?! Yes, that’s right, the city is super dog-friendly. In fact some of the restaurants even have a dog-menu. AND another fact? It’s against the law to wear high heels downtown. Yasss, my kind of place 😉 Coupled with the fact that there’s great food and it’s right on the beach, I really can’t imagine anything better, can you?
|CARMEL BAY COMPANY | DAMETRA CAFE|
|CARMEL BELLE | COAST CARMEL|
|THE GRILL | THE CHEESE SHOP|
|HEAVEN | EXPOSED|
|HOLMAN RANCH TASTING ROOM | CARMEL VALLEY ROASTING CO|
CARMEL VALLEY ROASTING CO
This great coffee house serves tasty locally-roasted coffee. It’s housed in an amazing space right on Ocean Ave and has this great minimalist-vintage vibe that I totally dig. $4
I’ve talked about this amazing place before, and I’ll say it again: This is my favorite food in Carmel, with its organic and local fare. Everything is super fresh and so tasty. The prices are a little hmmm, but SO worth it. I’m going to recommend the crazy-good open-faced avocado toast. This isn’t your average avo-toast you guys, it’s off-the-charts. The coffee here is scrumptious as well! $8
CARMEL BAY COMPANY
Oh Carmel Bay, what can I say? This is my favorite place to stop when I’m shopping in Carmel. It’s kind of like a hipster slash tourist store. Great locally-made products combined with tastefully curated items. It’s a fun place to browse around and spend awhile. And don’t forget to check out the 2nd floor!
SHOP | KIDS
STAR CHILD + heaven
This children’s clothing boutique has some of best selection of unique and chic options. The owner actually has two children’s clothing boutiques, Star Child and Heaven. You can’t go wrong with either. I found that Heaven is a little bit more on the formal side and Star Child has more daily-wear. Super adorable finds. I bought Arden a cute Chanel-style purse and bracelet when I was there, I just couldn’t resist.
5TH AVE DELI
A great traditional style deli with all the fixings you can imagine. There’s a variety of specialty sandwiches to choose from or you can make your own. Great place to stop and pick up a picnic lunch for the beach 🙂 Sandwiches are decently priced here, starting at $5!
Northern California beaches are gorgeous. I mean, all beaches are beautiful, but Carmel beach is just rugged and gorgeous in this perfectly raw way. It’s such a treat. If you’re in Carmel-by-the-Sea, the beach is just a quick jaunt away. Do it!
I stayed at an adorable Danish-themed inn called the Hofsas House in the perfect location, just a couple of blocks away from Ocean Ave. It reminded me of Solvang, CA with it’s quaint, homey and Dutch-influenced decor. It’s family AND dog-friendly with different sized rooms to suit every need. The owner is so warm and welcoming and it carries over to the hotel itself. It was such a great place to stay because it’s within walking distance of everything! I highly recommend it as a budget-friendly option in Carmel. $170/nt for a king with a view.
I had a blast at the Caraccioli tasting room. Good wine, great people and fun conversation. $10/flight
After sipping some wine, it’s an easy walk over to the Grill on Ocean Ave. The atmosphere here is friendly and boisterous. The service is impeccable and the restaurant itself has some great windows for people watching on Ocean Ave. I had the Halibut with avocado salsa with roasted vegetables and I about licked my plate clean 😉 As a starter I had their wild mushroom ravioli – omg so good. I didn’t even have room for dessert which was kind of a tragedy. $70
the cheese shop
I thought it would be fun to do dessert Euro-style with a tasty cheese plate. So you’re going to want to hit up the Cheese Shop. It’s synonymous with Carmel; a must-visit. Seriously. You walk in and immediately cheese samples of all sorts appear like magic 😉 My favorite last time was Koko’s Coconut Gouda – coconut cheese! Fun right? $10
|CARMEL BELLE | CARACCIOLI CELLARS|
This is a great little hidden gem. I love sampling local coffee houses and this one didn’t disappoint. Strong coffee and a good selection of veggie food items. $4
I’m just going to say Carmel Belle again here folks. It’s my absolute fave and I crave it all the time. You can’t go wrong. I’d recommend the stone-cute oatmeal, super tasty! $6
This fun store is right in the center of town. It has a great selection of clothing from Ella Moss to Patagonia. They even have some great home goods!
SHOP | KIDS
The quintessential toy shop full of every kind of toy you can imagine. It’s amazing how many toys they fit into this space! And you have to see the huge K’nex Ferris Wheel up close, it’s like whoa!
shop | art
Carmel is known for having some amazing art galleries, over 100+, actually. I really loved this teeny, tiny space. It’s small and straight to the point. The artwork is edgy and modern from a younger point-of-view than you’re average art show in Carmel. Super fun and worth a look-see!
This Mediterranean restaurant is the talk-of-the-town here in Carmel. It’s arguably the tastiest restaurant in town. Try the Greek combination platter for a taste of everything. Oh and the best part? Complimentary baklava! My favorite! $25
After a fun morning of shopping in Carmel-by-the-Sea I thought it would be nice to venture out to Carmel Valley. First stop is this seriously-inspired spa, Refuge. And what a refuge it is. There are 10 different pools set on this 2-acre retreat, along with relaxation rooms, hot saunas and steam rooms. It’s boggles the mind. They recommend what is called their “Refuge Thermal Cycle” which consists of relaxing in either a sauna, steam room or hot pool for 6-10 mins. After that you plunge your self into one of their ice cold pools for about a minute – talk about refreshing!!! Then settle yourself into one of the relaxation rooms or warm pools for a nice long relax sesh. And then repeat! While I was there I think I took advantage of every pool, sauna, room, lounge chair and hammock they had to offer. It was an amazing treat you guys. I’m adding this to my must-do list every single time I’m in the area. I’m serious. It’s so worth it – complete luxury relaxation at a great price! Next time I’m there, I’m booking a massage as well! I can’t wait! $44
After a nice, long, relaxing visit at Refuge, what could be better than filling your tummy with organic fruits and veggies? Earthbound farms is a huge purveyor of organic produce here in California. You’ll see them in every grocery store. So it’s definitely a fun time when you get to stop by their farmstand. Not only can you get super fresh and organic produce…BUT there are a ton of fun activities for kids. While you’re here don’t forget to tour their gardens!
HOLMAN RANCH TASTING ROOM
Time to stop into Carmel Valley and do some wine tasting! I love a good Pinot so I’d highly recommend the Holman Ranch tasting room. Holman Ranch wines are herbicide and pesticide-free and are also certified organic and sustainable. So very cool. I was in town for an event at Holman Ranch and got to see their extensive vineyards as well as their wine caves. I even got to taste some wine straight out of the barrel. I visited during crush and it was entertaining to see the winery workers crushing grapes the old-fashioned way…with their feet 🙂 Such a fun place! Unfortunately Holman Ranch isn’t open to the public usually, but it’s a drop-dead gorgeous event venue. Highly recommend it. Some friends of mine got married there a couple of years ago and it’s was just so beautiful. $10/flight
This restaurant is a Carmel Valley staple, it’s been around since the late 50’s and is known for its rustic decor and huge steaks. It’s a classic. Even though its rep is for huge servings of meat, I had a great vegetarian meal. It started off with the vegetable broth based french onion soup! First time I’ve ever had that, usually french onion soup is beef based. Next I had the goat cheese ravioli, which were SO good. I was tempted to order another helping instead of eating dessert 😉 $65
You can view my google planning map here! This post is brought to you in partnership with Hofsas House, Holman Ranch, The Grill and Refuge. Thanks for supporting Copy Cat Chic and our generous sponsors.
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