If you’ve been following along on society media, you’ll have actually noticed that i made the pilgrimage from mountain Francisco to Carmel quite generally last year. Jessica the Bon Traveler and I introduced our very first Gather + Getaway retreat over there a few weeks ago (thank you so lot for all her support!)

Both of us write around travel for a living, so together we to plan our an initial retreat we considered spots about the world for that is location. We’re additionally two north California ladies living in mountain Francisco, despite — and we realized that the beauty in ~ a few hours drive from SF warranted remaining closer come home.

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

Dark green cypress trees frame deep blues and also turquoises that the clear sea. Tide crash powerfully follow me the rough California coastline. Colorful tiles line stairwells finish at arts galleries, garden passageways, and wine tasting rooms. Homes and also shops feel a bit like they’ve been plucked out of a europe fairytale.

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

I flourished up visiting the shore from Monterey come Carmel frequently as a child. Still us would have to thoroughly research the area and intimately gain to know Carmel to be able 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 — simple day or (ideally) weekend expedition from mountain Francisco. It’s among my height picks because that a getaway indigenous the city.

Weekend Getaway: mountain Francisco come Carmel

Getting native SF to Monterey/Carmel

Without traffic, the takes simply over two hours to journey from mountain Francisco to Monterey and Carmel. Because that every current trip, however, us left san Francisco just prior to 6 to be to beat all the traffic. Due to the fact that you drive with the city and down previous San Jose, there deserve to be numerous slowdowns. I’d introduce driving in off-peak hours if you can — also if you’re just driving indigenous the SFO airport.

If you have the time, Santa Cruz and also Pacific Grove or Pebble coast (near Monterey) room a couple of other stop to consider. Going from san Francisco come Carmel via Highway 1 is an additional slightly slower, but an ext scenic option that winds approximately the coastline.

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

Things to execute in Carmel

Stroll the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea

Walking along s Avenue will certainly take girlfriend past most of the town’s highlights. Be sure to duck right into alleyways and also passages that often lead to patios and gardens. (The thomas Kinkade Gallery side door leads to among the best!) inspect out the Tuck Box and also Cottage the Sweets come see some of the most fairytale-esque spots.

Spend a leisurely morning or an afternoon at Carmel Beach

Carmel coast at the edge of city (and no much more than a few blocks from everything) is one of the many beautiful beaches in California to me. The soft, white sands and also deep blue waters, often accompanied by exceptional waves, make this a favourite spot for many. To walk or bicycle on the bluffs above, checking out the oceanfront cottages together you go, and be sure to sit and relax ~ above the sand if weather allows.

Visit the Carmel Mission

The California objectives are some of the many beautiful and important parts of ours state’s history. (Ask anyone who flourished up here which one they walk a report on in class school!) Mission Carmel is one of the most beautiful, and most traditionally restored, the the 21 missions across the state.

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

As adorable together the town of Carmel is, over there is nothing better to me than a relaxed drive down the coast just outside of it. Journey for just thirty minutes south and also you deserve to see few of the remarkable scenery of California’s central coast. The 17 Mile Drive, when stunning, needs you to salary to enter ($9.50.) It’s worth doing at the very least once, however to me there’s nothing more freeing or appealing than simply taking off under the winding coastline.

Carmel Food

Where come Eat in Carmel

These space my favorite places to grab a bite in Carmel-by-the-Sea (after several visits.)

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

Read more about the finest 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 also highlight several of the great (and low key!) wine they’re making in Carmel Valley.

As soon as us stepped right into the magical location that is Folktale Winery, we stopped the search. Their building is truly stunning, particularly if girlfriend love contemporary design meets French chateau meets greenhouse space!

To us, the setting is so special (and shows Carmel for this reason much,) and the food and wine was great (try your sparkling rosé!) that brief of safety the totality weekend in Carmel Valley, this one winery will more than suit your needs. There are loads of tasting rooms in town, however Folktale Winery is a quick 10-15 minutes far by car and really precious visiting.

Bernadus and also Georgis Winery to be the various other two that came extremely recommended, if you desire to include to your wine tour of Carmel Valley during your stay.

Best locations to stay in Carmel

Hotel Carmel

What ns love most about Hotel Carmel isn’t simply its size (a handful of rooms,) its location (right whereby you can walk to whatever without gift in a busy section of town,) or that is beautiful design, however just just how much remaining there feeling like residence to me. Everything from a lobby that feels choose a living room to a self-serve breakfast the bagels with fresh homemade strawberry cream cheese come the local wines offered fireside renders me feeling both comfortable and like I’m offering myself a small splurge. It stays my top hotel choice for Carmel.

La Playa Carmel

La Playa is the largest, much more beachfront sister residential property of Hotel Carmel. It’s gained a little bit much more of a classic Carmel will (rather than fresh and also trendy) vibe, however it’s likewise comfortable with large fireplaces, a trusted staff, and also a good patio. Check out La Playa to check out if it’s more your style…also highly recommended!

Hofsas House

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

The family-owned property has actually a historical past yet retains that hospitality and also warmth today. Actual warmth — via the dried sauna and also heated swimming pool on website or the in-room fireplace if you’re happy — is a huge bonus ~ above a chilly seaside day. You’ll it is in welcomed v friendly service, complimentary breakfast (with fresh local pastries!), cost-free parking, large room size, and also 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 so much approximately Carmel-by-the-Sea that’s precious seeing. Below are a few spots friend can include on to her Carmel vacation if you’re proceeding on down the coast.


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

It takes around two hours driving from mountain Francisco to Monterey, whereas Monterey to Carmel takes just 10-12 minutes. Also if my visit is just to Carmel, i make a allude to avoid at Captain + Stoker, a wonderful coffee shop in Monterey. I also love Alvarado Street Brewery. And, if you’re searching for a place to stay that’s inexpensive and also right in the center of the action, i recommend hi USA i m sorry has fantastic hostel a couple of blocks native Cannery Row.

Big Sur

The 2 stars the the huge Sur coastline (which honestly, is a star in chin the whole method down) room 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 come Bixby leg for sunset in ~ the an extremely least, and love stopping to take it in the coast in Garrapata State Park‘s beaches and also rocky, seascape nooks.

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If you have actually the time, a camping expedition in large Sur amongst the trees and fresh coastal air is also very worth it!

Other great Things to Note!You deserve to fly directly into Monterey regional Airport (MRY) from plenty of West coastline airports. It’s precious connecting there fairly than driving from SFO if girlfriend can regulate it. It’s about ten minute in one Uber to Carmel native there.Carmel is one of the most dog-friendly urban I’ve been to! If you’re lucky enough to have actually a four-legged friend in tow, you’ll be surprised to find out that the majority of Carmel hotels and restaurant patios room welcoming to dogs.There’s a beautiful, beautiful beach just past Carmel coast (if you continue on down the road, past where the parking ends.) It’s shaped prefer a crescent, is hardly ever before crowded, and on a sunny day rivals any other coast I’ve seen in this human being for herbal beauty.

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