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Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA

There are few places on earth as incredibly dynamic, yet so quaint and picturesque as Carmel-by-the-Sea...

Situated on the Bay of Carmel, nestled in a pine forest above the spectacular white-sand beach, the one-square mile village of Carmel offers endless vacation and cultural opportunities. Stroll the quaint streets and explore the village's numerous unique shops, fine restaurants and relax in one of our outstanding B & B's, Inn's or Historic Hotels. You'll have a wonderful time no matter what you choose to do in Carmel-By-The-Sea California.

A diversity of sights and activities awaits visitors to Carmel who can easily set their own pace and take life as energetically or as leisurely as they desire.

Within the village visitors can relax, unwind and enjoy the peaceful, European ambience where they are free to stroll through meandering streets and explore secluded alleyways, courtyards and arcades highlighted by over 100 art studios and galleries, numerous antique shops, hundreds of boutiques and small cafes and restaurants promising hours of discovery.

The best way to see Carmel is on foot. Be sure to check out the over 60 hidden courtyards where many treasures are found. A short walking tour of Carmel courtyards is available at the Carmel Visitor Center office on San Carlos between 5th & 6th.

Bring sweaters and jackets to protect against the cool mornings and evenings. (Locals dress in layers).

There are no street addresses. Locations are described as north or south of Ocean Avenue and on the east or west side of the street. West is always toward the beach.

Comfortable walking shoes are a must. (A city ordinance outlaws high heels!!!)

Dress is usually casual and ties are seldom required.

Eating on the street is strongly discouraged.

Looking for sea otters, tide pools and great hiking? Visit Point Lobos, 3 miles south of Carmel on Highway One. Carmel has something for everyone...

Accommodations in Carmel range from casual and comfortable to elegant and extravagant. The inns are quaint, the bed and breakfasts inviting, the hotels and resorts accommodate individual travel and meeting or convention needs. Many of our accommodations offer ocean views, cozy fireplaces and family units. The inns and resorts offer the characteristic warmth and charm which have become the trademark of Carmel.

Advance reservations are always suggested, however should you find yourself in Carmel without a reservation, the Carmel Innkeepers Association has a unique "Host of the Day" program which has up to the moment availability for Carmel inns. Carmel inns leave their vacancy signs out until every room in Carmel-by-the-Sea is occupied. A different inn acts as the host of the day and keeps track of availability for that specific day only. This service is offered every Friday & Saturday, holidays and daily during the high season. Stop by any inn and get the information you need. Stop early though, as rooms get booked up quickly.

Antiquing in Carmel is truly a delightful experience, both for the novice and the seasoned collector. There are many antique shops where you will find a world of diverse items creatively displayed. You will be cordially greeted and invited to enjoy the vast range of carefully chosen objects by knowledgeable shopkeepers. Look to your heart's content... perhaps you will find that special something you have been dreaming of!

Exploring Carmel is discovering the world! Carmel has been the gathering spot for artists of all types for decades, particularly since the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906. Today you will find over 90 individual art studios and galleries on the tree lined streets and cozy courtyards of the village alone. The Barnyard, the Crossroads Shopping Village and Carmel Valley Village are also home to several unique and creative galleries. Discover the relaxed friendly atmosphere found in our galleries, and experience eclectic demonstrations by Carmel artists. All galleries invite and encourage browsing at any time and many feature local artists who can be seen creating works on the premises, while others present the works of master artists from all over the world.

Discover culinary artists at more than 60 exceptional restaurants in Carmel serving a bounty of international and regional cuisines designed to satisfy the most discriminating palates. Carmel's master chefs create a memorable dining experience, utilizing fresh produce grown in the fertile Salinas Valley and fresh seafood from the azure waters of the Monterey Bay. The dining section is categorized by style of cuisine. If you are looking for a specific restaurant by name, check the index at the back of the Guide. A map highlighting the location of our restaurants can be found at the Carmel Visitors Information Center, San Carlos between 5th and 6th and at many of Carmel's inns.


Situated on the Bay of Carmel in Central California on the southern bend of the Monterey Peninsula. Carmel-by-the-Sea is 120 miles south of San Francisco, 350 miles north of Los Angeles and 26 miles north of Big Sur.


Carmel-by-the-Sea is one square mile of incorporated city.


4,081 according to the 2000 census.


Fifty years after Columbus discovered America, Spanish explorer Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo sighted the white sands and green pines of Carmel. Two centuries later, in 1771, Father Junipero Serra established Carmel Mission. In the early 1900s the village of Carmel began its growth around an eclectic group of young artists and writers.


Carmel enjoys moderately warm temperatures year round, with an average high of 68° F in summer and an average winter high of 61° F. September and October (Indian Summer) offer the best weather of the year, with an average high of 78° F. Average rainfall, primarily between November and April, is 19.68 inches. Coastal fog is prevalent during the summer.


United/United Express, American Airlines, American Eagle, and America West have daily flights in and out of the Monterey Airport which is ten minutes from downtown Carmel. Rental cars available. Amtrak and Greyhound bus stations are also nearby.


There are approximately 50 hostelries -- ranging from casual and comfortable to elegant and refined -- and a total of 997 rooms in Carmel. The majority of these accommodations are located in quaint and inviting inns and bed and breakfast establishments. Many offer special amenities such as ocean views, secluded courtyards and fireplaces, but all feature the characteristic warmth and charm that has become the trademark of Carmel. There are also two full-service hotels in the village itself, and several larger hotels and resorts throughout the Carmel area.


More than 60 coffee houses, bakeries, pubs, bistros and exceptional restaurants, highlight dining in Carmel. These fine establishments serve a bounty of international and regional cuisines -- utilizing fresh produce grown locally in the fertile Salinas Valley and fresh seafood from the azure waters of Monterey Bay. Monterey County is also home to 17 wineries many of which offer daily tastings of wines produced with varietal grapes grown on more than 20,000 acres of vineyards.


Carmel has been a mecca for artists, writers and musicians since the turn of the century. Today, nearly 100 art studios, galleries and antique stores representing the works of master artists from around the world as well as the creations of local artists.


Carmel boasts four exceptional shopping venues: the multitude of quaint shops, antique stores, boutiques and galleries in the village, The Barnyard, The Crossroads and The Carmel Plaza (in the center of Carmel).


Each year, thousands of visitors are drawn to the diversity of art, drama, music and literary festivals and events designed to promote Carmel's celebrated cultural contributions and traditions. Some of the most popular events include: the annual Carmel Art Festival, Carmel Art Walk, the annual Carmel Bach Festival, and the Carmel Shakespeare Festival featuring performances at the Outdoor Forest Theater and the Golden Bough Theater.


Visitors can immerse themselves in Carmel's mesmerizing charm the incredible natural beauty of California's central coast while engaging in a variety of outdoor activities, including horseback riding; jogging, walking and bicycling trails along coastal bluffs; and fishing, kayaking, surfing or scuba diving in the beautiful Monterey Bay. Several renowned golf courses and tennis clubs are also located nearby.

Spanish explorer, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo, first sighted the white-sand beach and pine forest of Carmel 50 years after Columbus discovered America. In 1602, another venturesome Spaniard, Sebastian Vizcaino, and three Carmelite friars found a river valley that they named "El Rio Carmelo." On June 3, 1771, Father Junipero Serra founded the second California mission, which still stands on the edge of present day Carmel-by-the-Sea. The mission was secularized in 1833 and the City of Carmel incorporated on October 31, 1916.

The small village of Carmel-by-the-Sea represents a microcosm of everything that has contributed to the California dream -- independence, creativity and tireless spirit. Carmel's early residents, which included authors George Sterling and Jack London and poet Robinson Jeffers, settled in Carmel in tents, built smoky fires in the woods, picnicked on the beach and cooked abalone stew in the fireplace.

These early inhabitants were determined to create an intellectual oasis on the inspiring, sparsely populated Central Coast of California. Further prompted by the San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906, members of the city's cultural community decided to make Carmel their permanent home. Their migration firmly established Carmel as the progressive artistic and cultural hub in Northern California.

Intent on promoting an environment conducive to creativity, Carmel's founders fought to ensure the proliferation and appreciation of art, drama and literature. By 1915, the Outdoor Forest Theater was presenting celebrated performances and the theater became a central part of Carmel life.

The Carmel library boasted almost 3,000 volumes -- proof that the village maintained a special appreciation for history and the arts. Additionally, every issue of the local paper, the Carmel Pine Cone, featured original poetry, and local theater productions often commanded the lead story on page one.

By the time Carmel-by-the-Sea became a city in 1916, the population had grown to almost 450. The village was composed of luminaries such as authors Sinclair Lewis, Mary Austin and Lincoln Steffens. At one point, local writers Grace Sartwell Mason, Frederick Becholdt and Harry Leon Wilson all appeared in the same week's edition of the Saturday Evening Post. And, legend has it that Robert Louis Stevenson received his inspiration for Treasure Island while walking on the beach near Point Lobos.

The natural environment was also of primary concern to the residents of Carmel, who were dedicated to the preservation of the sparkling blue seas and majestic Monterey pine trees. To that end, in 1917 Ordinance No. 7 was adopted, which made it a misdemeanor to "cut down, remove, injure or mutilate any tree, shrub or bush growing or standing on any of the streets, squares, parks or public places." The law is still on the books and is strictly enforced. Their efforts have resulted in a legacy of external harmony where the ocean, land and native creatures have remained relatively untouched.

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