I participated in a travel California familiarization trip.  All opinions are my own.   Read more about our time in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA here.

Travel California Carmel-by-the-Sea

Travel California: Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small, fun, and quirky town with lots of great activities for people of all interests. With a population of just around 4,000 people, it was originally established as a Spanish mission in the late 18th century, and more recently bolstered by artists fleeing San Francisco after the great earthquake of 1906. It has been home to many artists and art galleries ever since.

Originally the town was planned with no street numbers or regular addresses, instead relying on a central P.O. Box system where everyone goes to town to pick up their mail. It’s a tradition they still maintain today, to preserve their sense of community.

Recently many wine tasting rooms have popped up in Carmel, essentially consolidating many of the Monterey peninsula’s best wineries into one location, making wine tasting easy and fun (check out our experience with the Carmel Wine Walk By The Sea). To go with all the great wine, Carmel also boasts over 50 high quality restaurants, many of which are dog friendly on their outdoor dining patios. In fact, Carmel is considered one of the most dog friendly cities in the country and it’s not hard to see why, dogs are allowed in most stores, hotels and inns, and even on Carmel’s sandy beach, where they are allowed off leash!

Travel California: Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

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It also boast some amazing natural beauty. During our trip ventured out  to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve (this is one place dogs are not allowed – not even in your car) on the recommendation of Carrie Theis, the proprietor of the Hofsas House Hotel. It’s just 3 miles from Carmel and boast some stunning scenery. We were thrilled to find plenty of hiking trails to explore so we set off to enjoy the sights and sounds of the area and along the way we encountered quite a few seals basking on rocks and playing in the water. It was an unexpected and delightful surprise to see them and watch their antics.

We went travelled along the Carmelo Meadow Trail, which was a nice easy meadow and forest walk, and then connected to the Granite Point Trail, which was also a fairly easy hike. There are far more trails than we were able to experience in such a short visit (find complete trail information at the Point Lobos Foundation website). We were pressed for time so we unfortunately couldn’t hike anymore. That’s because there were so many other adventures to partake in and enjoy before we had to head home.

Travel California: Monterey

We left the Point Lobos SNR and made the short trip to Monterey where we visited the world renowned Monterey Bay Aquarium.  The aquarium was spectacular, though a little pricey ($21-$34), but you’ll definitely want to budget for it (Montery Bay Aquarium Ticket Information).

Monterey also has their own touristy Fisherman’s Warf which lends itself to some stunning views of the ocean. Many of  the restaurants offer chowder samples available as you stroll by and it’s entirely possible to accidentally fill up on the tasty chowders. Thankfully we were able to keep our appetites in check because we had dinner planned at the Fandango Restaurant in nearby Pacific Grove, another small town on the Monterey Peninsula, just north of the town of Monterey.

We headed back to our hotel and settled in for our last night. We both agreed that Carmel-by-the-Sea is an excellent location for experiencing the surrounding areas. It’s an easy drive to many different activities and plenty of fine wine and fabulous dining options.

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