Marvel at the Whimsical Fairytale Cottages
I would like to toast all the old school hearts who are reading this article – ‘may you take a wonderful trip to Carmel and enjoy all it has to offer, fill your heart to brim with its old school vibes and may you keep coming back!’
Go back in time at the iconic Carmel Mission
Founded in 1770 by Father Junipero Serra of Spain, this is the second of California’s famous missions. Also known as the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Río Carmelo, this beautiful Spanish mission was built in 1797 and is now a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The mission overlooks the sea. One of the top listed places to see in Carmel. Inside this active church you can find intricate Spanish decorations and Spanish Colonial liturgical art. In the grounds you will see four museum galleries, a chapel, gardens, and a beautiful fountain.
The best Carmel-by-the-Sea activity is to take a self-guided tour of the city’s famous fairytale cottages. In 1924, Carmel resident Hugh Comstock had a fantastic idea of building a fairytale cottage to house his wife’s successful (Otsy-Totsy) doll-making business. But his obsession didn’t stop there. Comstock went on to build 30 fairytale homes during his life which has influenced the charming architecture of Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Today, you can still see 21 of Comstock’s signature “storybook” creations, all inspired by British children’s book illustrator Arthur Rackham. Start your sightseeing tour at the Carmel Visitor Center on Ocean Avenue. The original 1924 Hansel cottage and the famous 1925 Gretel cottage is a good start. Most of these cottages are private residences but some have been repurposed as businesses such as- The Tuck Box and The Forge in the Forest Restaurant. If you are looking for some unique things to do in Carmel, have a meal at one of these cottage places!
Spend a day in Monterey
Located just 10 minutes away from Carmel-by-the-sea, Monterey offers something for everyone. Here you can see a dynamic coastal American city with a terrific nightlife. Explore all the shops, restaurants, and galleries in the historic Cannery Row area.
The place also has some major tourist attractions like Monterey Bay Aquarium and Old Fisherman’s Wharf. If you have time, you can easily take out a day in Monterey. Watch the ocean view at Point Park, have a beach day at Del Monte Beach, or hike along the Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail. A must visit place in Carmel.
Have beach day at Pebble Beach
Located 7-minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach has been a playground for the rich and famous since the 19000s. This glorifying beach is so breathtaking. No wonder famous artists and tourists have fallen in love. Pebble Beach Golf Links is one of the best public courses in the US and is very famous for its dramatic seaside setting. The 18-hole golf course has been the site of six US Open Championships, the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and many awards.
Spot Orcas & Humpback Whales at Carmel Sea
The waters off of Carmel are teeming with whales and other incredible sea creatures during a certain period of the year. That is January to March. Visit from April through December, and you’ll have a better chance of seeing humpback whales, blue whales, and orcas. The best place to catch Orcas and hump back whales.
To watch marine life at Carmel it is better to book a tour at the many organizations working around the area. Monterey Bay Whale Watch offers a 3- to 4-hour tour where you will spot blue, gray, humpback, fin, mink, orca whales, multiple species of dolphins, porpoises, and birds.
Wander in the downtown Carmel and Ocean Avenue
If you want to shop, then ocean avenue is the best place at Carmel. Ocean Avenue is Carmel’s highlight. You will find endless places to shop on and around this bustling street.