Carmel, just two hours south of San Francisco, is an other-worldly mix of a long-standing bohemian art tradition, charming off-the-beaten path restaurants that would make even a San Franciscan jealous, and the great outdoors. With the mountains, beaches and coves, and the sea all within easy reach, there is no better place to recharge for a weekend.
Carmel is a haven for fresh and authentic seafood and charming European cuisines, not to mention intimate family-run vineyards. Grab brunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur and enjoy the beautiful view. For more local favorites, enjoy fresh seafood at Favaloro's Big Night Bistro in Pacific Grove or French bistro fare at La Bicyclette. Taste some of the region's premiere wines at Boekenoogen's and Parsonnage's (located in a quilting gallery!) tasting rooms, open all weekend between 11am-5pm. Finally, if you're looking for a nightcap, take a stroll to Constance Wine Room in downtown Carmel, which locals call Carmel's living room. Live piano music is an added bonus!
Carmel's got a lot of history! To start off, check out the famous Carmel Mission, where Father Junipero Serra's book collection is known to be the first library in California. For more recent history, head to the restaurant in Mission Ranch for a glass of wine in a laid-back environment. You may even spot Clint Eastwood there, the former mayor of Carmel from 1986-1988 and the restaurant's owner. For a timeless adventure, bike a part of the scenic 17 mile drive. We'll recommend local bicycle vendors, you do the pedaling!
Start off with a stroll through Carmel's quaint downtown. Give yourself plenty of time to wander through unique art galleries and antique shops. Consider heading to one of the area's top day spas, such as Refuge or Kush for afternoon-long massages and facials. Finally, release any lingering tension at local natural hot springs, which the Carmel region is renowned for. Try Esalen, where public night hot springs access runs from 1am - 3pm (reserve in advance!) or Sykes or Tassajara.
Enjoy the last days of summer and hit the beach! Carmel City Beach is right in the middle of town. Bring a black and sweater along with a picnic to enjoy the vast blue Pacific Ocean. Carmel River State Beach is just another mile south. If you’re up for driving another 30-45 minutes south, check out the amazing Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. If you want a little workout there are beautiful trails through the redwoods along the waterfalls; I love and recommend the Ewoldsen Trail, which is a 4-mile loop (partially closed, but ignore that). Or if you prefer a stunning view of the beautiful McWay Falls, walk through the pedestrian tunnel to one of the world's top outlook spots. This used to be a private residence, and now is a place for French tourists and local hikers to gather in awe of the surrounding scenery.
I'm a native New Yorker who now calls San Francisco home and am crazy about building the right travel experiences for the best people. I am also a sci-fi fanatic, and one of my heroes Joss Whedon has said, "Identity is something you are constantly earning." I've ridden on the back of strangers' motorbikes in Fujian, chased down a gang of gypsy thieves in Moscow, conducted archaeological excavations at the site of a former Japanese internment camp in the United States. For me, travel is how I earn my identity. Whether you are building a solo adventure, a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a group bonding trip, I'd love to help you on your way. Full profile ⋅ Leave a Review
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