Photo of Carmel

About Carmel

Carmel-by-the-Sea, or more often simply Carmel, is an especially beautiful seaside town just five miles south down Highway 1 from Monterey City. Small but beautifully formed, this trendy town is brilliant for seaside strolls and laid-back beach days, as well as top-notch food and boutique shopping. It is also a pet-friendly haven for dog-lovers, with many properties inviting four-legged guests to stay, too. The vast array of accommodation available includes everything from simple B&Bs to sumptuous luxury hotels. Many of the best places to stay in Carmel boast dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean, but some of our favourite hideaways are tucked in the centre of town, perfect for exploring.

Once the preserve of artists and writers, inspired by the famous fog which rolls across the beach during the summer months, Carmel's origins lie in the 1880s, when it was a popular seaside resort. Experience Old Carmel through a visit to Tor House, the quirky stone cottage of 20th-century poet Robinson Jeffers. Now, well-manicured Carmel has an upmarket, grown-up feel. Expect to spot well-heeled patrons popping into elegant eateries and to spy cool convertibles cruising along Ocean Ave, the town's main street. Its pretty, compact centre is home to almost 100 galleries, as well as chic cafés, designer boutiques and smart restaurants. Choose an outdoor table for the best chance of catching a glorious Pacific sunset!

The Carmel Mission, founded in 1771 is a striking building -- reputedly the most beautiful Spanish Mission in California -- and well worth visiting. Don't miss exploring gorgeous Carmel City Beach Park, where dogs race delightedly across the dazzling white sand, or heading to Carmel River State Beach, where there are migratory birds to admire. For hiking and dramatic views, visit Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Marvel at sea lions basking in the sunshine and try snorkelling or diving in the impressive kelp forest. There are some superb wineries dotted around town, too, great for tours and tastings. Beyond Carmel lie the Carmel River and the lush Carmel Valley, both of which can be glimpsed from some of the town's lovely inns and hotels. The intriguing nearby city of Monterey is easily accessible for lively bars, funky shops and the informative Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Ideal for a seaside weekend or a stop on a dreamy Californian road trip, coastal Carmel is an attractive little town with plenty of cultural and foodie delights to discover. Most of the best places to stay in Carmel are small, intimate properties -- and they fill up fast! Do book your stay well in advance to avoid missing out.

For Boutique Chic

  • Cypress Inn has been a Carmel landmark since 1929. Once owned by Doris Day and frequented by Hollywood greats, this is a top choice for anyone in search of old-world charm. Expect graceful interiors with Mediterranean tiled accents, marble bathrooms and antique features. Enjoy live music, cocktails and fantastic fare at pet-friendly Terry's Lounge, too. Very glamorous.
  • Tradewinds Carmel is an elegant, award-winning Carmel classic, with big beds and glorious sea views. Hide away as a couple, or bring the whole family and base yourself in spacious bedrooms with crackling fires. Antiques from Bali and China, as well as Balinese kimono robes make this hotel stand out. The quiet residential location is ideal for relaxing. Pet-friendly, great for families or as a wonderful boutique escape for couples.
  • Vagabond's House Inn is a wonderfully romantic choice for a Carmel stay. The property's thirteen bedrooms use natural materials -- leather, wood and glittering metals -- to create a chic, minimalist vibe. Unwind in huge free-standing bathtubs or gather under the fairy lights in the courtyard to exchange tales with fellow guests. Cosy, creative and indulgent.

For Families

  • Mission Ranch boasts 22 acres of verdant grounds, offering views over the Pacific, as well as Point Lobos and Carmel River Beach. A historic property once saved by Carmel's famous mayor, Clint Eastwood, the picturesque farmhouse features classic bedrooms with fireplaces and private balconies. Kids will love exploring the grounds on two-wheels, playing tennis, meeting the resident sheep, and wandering to the nearby beach. The Piano Bar is a popular spot! A relaxed family pick.
  • The Hideaway is a brilliant family-friendly inn with smart, contemporary interiors. The 24 rooms include large family suites, there are breakfast baskets for cosy mornings in bed, and the dog-friendly ethos means four-legged friends can expect plenty of pampering! The big terrace is a great place to kick back, and the complimentary bikes will prove a hit with the whole family. Laid-back.
  • Carmel Country Inn prides itself on being the town's most pet-friendly B&B. Charming and owner-run, the inn features slick, modern design in 12 rooms and suites -- including 2-bedroom options for families. Pick this place for the pretty, flower-filled balconies, the friendly feel and the central location.
  • Monte Verde Inn is a comfortable base with 17 attractive rooms just a few streets from Carmel Beach. Expect bright green touches enhancing the otherwise white-and-cream decor, and spacious family options with extra queen beds. Also dog-friendly, this is a fun inn for a family beach holiday.
  • Forest Lodge, sister property to Lamp Lighter Inn, offers lots of privacy in six suites and cottages, some of which sleep up to six people. Great for families who want their own space, the Lodge is also just moments from lively Carmel Plaza, where there are bakeries and cafés to sample. Ideal for little-legged travellers who won't want to walk too far for pastries!

For a Cosy Inn

  • Sea View Inn is an appealingly intimate 8-bedroom B&B with sea views from lovely bay windows. A charming choice with canopied beds, a tranquil no-TV policy and heaps of cosy, quirky decor -- perfect for quiet couples. A real home-away-from-home.
  • The Coachman's Inn embraces the town's long history as a stopping point on the Californian coastal route. This characterful B&B boasts 30 rooms with blue-patterned quilts, classic wooden-beamed terraces, and generous buffet breakfasts. The central location is great for strolling around town, and spacious rooms with extra beds will suit families or groups. A traditional choice.
  • Lamp Lighter Inn is a pint-sized inn with a vibrant nautical theme. Think blue-and-white decor in five bedrooms, four suites and two cottages, each of which has been uniquely designed. Children and pets are welcome, and Carmel Beach is just 3 minutes away. Admire birds flitting around the home-made birdboxes, and gather around the firepit for cosy evening chats.
  • Lincoln Green Inn features four gorgeous cottages nestled amidst English gardens. Pick this place for a romantic, Cotswolds-style retreat complete with roaring fires, floral patterned bedding and fully-equipped kitchens. Pretty and private.

For Luxury

  • La Playa Hotel is the grand dame of Carmel's hotel scene. Think sophisticated cream-and-white bedrooms with dazzling sea views. Set in carefully manicured gardens, this classic beach hotel features Mediterranean architecture, delicious food and an air of elegant opulence. The champagne breakfasts are a real treat! Beachfront bliss.
  • L'Auberge is a charming, European-style property with 20 bedrooms. Complete with four-poster beds and antique furnishings, rooms are characterful, tranquil and romantic. The show-stopper is the award-winning restaurant, The Aubergine, which serves delectable dishes -- and can put together a superb beach picnic. A foodie favourite!
  • Carmel Valley Ranch enjoys a secluded setting amidst 500 acres, beyond the town of Carmel. Expect chic, contemporary rooms with lovely private balconies and sumptuous marble bathrooms. There are stacks of family-friendly activities, too, including tennis, riding, fishing, cycling and a soothing spa. A luxurious escape for travellers of all ages.

For An Apartment Or Villa

  • If you'd prefer a self-catering option, we suggest that you visit our online partner Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • There are regular international and domestic flights to Monterey Regional Airport (MRY). Most hotels will be happy to arrange an airport pickup, or you can hop into a bus or taxi for the 30-minute ride to Carmel.
  • Visitors can also fly into San Jose International Airport and catch the regular shuttle service to Monterey (1.5 hours) and the bus to Carmel from there.
  • Alternatively, contact our online partner Rentalcars if you would like to hire a car. California is brilliant for a road trip!
  • Carmel is at its busiest during the summer months, although the beach can be foggy in the heat of July and August. Time your trip for the spring (March to May) for fewer crowds and beautiful weather!

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in Carmel

Best Hotels in Carmel

  • Mission Ranch Carmel (California) 31 rooms from £98

    Birdwatching  -  Carmel River State Beach is home to scuba diving but more famous for the scenic bird sancutury.
    Sights nearby  -  18th Century Mission San Carlos Borroméo del río Carmelo.
    Whirlpool Bathtub  -  Many of the rooms come with whirlpool tubs
    Tennis  -  Tennis courts avaliable for all guests.

    This working 22-acre ranch overlooks Point Lobos and the Pacific Ocean. The large, classic rooms have fireplaces, private balconies and bathrooms. American cuisine is on the menu and the Piano Bar is popular with guests and locals alike. Tennis courts and sheep on site. Beaches a stone's throw away See More

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  • Monte Verde Inn Carmel 17 rooms from £116

    Fishing  -  An ideal deep-sea fishing spot- there are several fishing tours in the Monterey area that provide charters.
    Sailing  -  Sailing excursions leave daily for many points along the central coast.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Air conditioningGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking

    A warm inviting hotel just minutes from Carmel Beach. Rooms are colourful and stylish with a French twist. Some rooms feature large windows commanding fabulous views of the ocean. Dog and child friendly it's the perfect family getaway. See More

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  • Sea View Inn Carmel 8 rooms from £152

    Great walks  -  Carmel Beach is perfect for a meditative walk and immersion in the natural beauty of the California coastline.
    Sights nearby  -  Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo and Robinson Jeffers’ Tor House.
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    GardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A charming B&B just outside Carmel town. The quaint rooms feature a pick and mix of large bay windows commanding ocean views, cosy canopied beds, antique furnishings and wooden floors. The perfect spot for exploring this unspoiled corner of California. See More

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  • The Hideaway Carmel (California) 24 rooms from £184

    Local exploring  -  A wonderful area with so much to do, including wine tasting, excellent restaurants, kayaking, golf, local galleries and museums
    Sights nearby  -  Venture out to Monterey with its aquarium, whale-watching, Del Monte beach and golf club
    Great walks  -  Walk along the coast's sandy trails with amazing sea views
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    GardenPet friendlyDisabled access

    Contemporary, stylish and cosy inn located on the coast in Carmel. 24 rooms have a tasteful monochrome colour scheme, with blonde wood touches. Enjoy shared indoor and outdoor living areas with roaring fireplaces. There is no restaurant but plenty of options nearby and the beach is walking distance. See More

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  • Coachman's Inn Carmel 30 rooms from £191

    Great walks  -  To get the real Carmel-on-th-Sea experience explore the town on foot.
    Spa  -  On site spa and sauna facilities.
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    Outstanding location
    SpaGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    A historic Coach-house located in Carmel-on-the-Sea. The town is charming and characterful and well worth exploring. The rooms are recently redecorated with new carpets, linens and simple brass beds. Spoil yourself with on-site sauna and spa facilities. See More

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  • Carmel Country Inn Carmel (California) 12 rooms from £191

    Local exploring  -  A well-located base to explore Carmel and its beach on foot or drive out to nearby vineyards and world-famous coastal roads
    Sights nearby  -  Take a day trip to Monterey to experience its famous whale-watching cruises, coastal drives, aquarium and excellent restaurants
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    Local markets  -  Good for local colour.
    GardenPet friendlyParking

    Charming owner-run B&B located in the heart of Carmel. One of the only properties in the area to offer 2-bedroom suites, all 12 have cosy fireplaces and a unique design. Enjoy a gourmet breakfast on your balcony bursting with blooming flowers, explore the area or book a spoiling massage. See More

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  • Lamp Lighter Inn Carmel 4 rooms from £191

    Local exploring  -  With Monterey and Big Sur nearby, the inn provides the perfect base for discovering the sights and wonders of the area
    No restaurant  -  Breakfast is provided
    Surfing  -  Catch a wave on a surfboard at Carmel Beach, just a 5 minute walk with lessons avaliable
    Sights nearby  -  Spend a day driving the iconic route 1 and exploring Big Sur
    Air conditioningPet friendlyParking

    A charming coastal inn, set in the heart of downtown Carmel just minutes from the beach. Rooms are cosy and nautical with blue hues, wood-burning fireplaces and spacious marble bathrooms with spa tubs. Relax by the firepit or in a secluded gazebo. Perfect spot for exploring Monterey and Big Sur. See More

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  • Cypress Inn Carmel 44 rooms from £194

    Pet friendly  -  Very pet friendly, in fact, guests are almost actively encouraged to bring theirs along!
    Restaurant  -  Terry's lounge serves Monterey inspired dishes with a Mediterranean twist
    Full of character
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
    RestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking

    A charming boutique hotel, once owned by Doris Day, offering some old-school glamour in pretty Carmel-by-the-Sea. Bright rooms have a Mediterranean feel with cast iron beds and terracotta tiled floors. The restaurant has a real soul (expect live music) and the beach is just a few blocks away. See More

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  • Vagabond's House Inn Carmel (California) 13 rooms from £197

    Great walks  -  Watch whales in January from spectacular vistas while the sea crashes against the cliffs below.
    Local markets  -  Friday Farmers Market at the Monterey Peninsula College parking lot.
    Spa  -  Offers a variety of massages & facials.
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
    SpaGardenPet friendlyParking

    Boutique B&B welcomes guests with a stone courtyard, spa and fireplaces. Modern, unique rooms with luxury bathrooms and breakfast in-room. Walking distance from the Carmel restaurants and bars. Relax at the spa, take a leisurely stroll along the coast or go out sailing and look out for whales. See More

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  • Tradewinds Carmel Carmel (California) 28 rooms from £199

    Local exploring  -  There are endless things to do in the area; visit Big Sur, go winetasting, hike, golf or spend a day at the beach
    Great walks  -  There are endless themed self-guided tours in the area; try the Monterey Movie tour or Carmel Food Tour
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Seaside  -  Ideal for a seaside holiday.
    GardenPet friendlyDisabled accessViewsParking
    Recommended by  -  Fodors

    Charming inn located in the heart of Carmel, yet walking distance to the beach. Fireplaces make the 28 rooms feel cosy, many have balconies and sea views. Asian-inspired decor, zen garden, firepit and in-room massages give an exotic feel. For lunch and dinner explore Carmel's many dining options. See More

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  • Forest Lodge Carmel 6 rooms from £199

    Active Holiday  -  With options of surfing, hiking, kayaking and spotting wildlife, there is something for everyone
    Local exploring  -  The boutiques, bakeries and cafes on Carmel Plaza are a minute's walk away from the inn
    Sights nearby  -  A must is the 17 Mile Drive, a dramatic cliff drive with incredible viewing spots, just a 12 minute drive away
    Local markets  -  Visit the Local Farmer’s Market at the Monterey Peninsula College
    Air conditioningGardenPet friendlyParking

    A charming inn set in the heart of Carmel right next to the Plaza. The cottages are spacious and stylish with ivory hues and splashes of yellow, cosy fireplaces, large tiled bathrooms and stunning views of the garden. Relax on the sit-out terrace. The perfect location for exploring further afield. See More

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  • Hotel Carmel Carmel 30 rooms from £233

    Local exploring  -  Delight in everything the area has to offer; wine-tasting, whale-watching, shopping, great restaurants and scenic drives
    Great walks  -  Carmel beach is a short walk away, through the charming village and its many shops, restaurants and galleries
    Sights nearby  -  Drive the famous 17 Mile Drive or head down to Big Sur to experience the Pacific coast in all its glory
    Lively  -  Hip and happening.
    RestaurantGardenPet friendlyDisabled accessParking

    Channel old-school 'California living' at this lively boutique hotel in the heart of Carmel. A large cottage houses 30 snug and cosy rooms and suites, many with views, fireplaces and balconies. With a games rooms, courtyard fire-pit, fun retro bar and restaurant, this will suit sociable travellers. See More

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  • La Playa Hotel Carmel (CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA) 75 rooms from £311

    Luxury  -  Known as the "Grand Dame of Carmel" - this beautiful mansion set in perfectly manicured gardens is the height of luxury
    Beach Life  -  Boasting the position of the closest hotel to the beach in town
    Restaurant  -  Bud's offers contemporary comfort food classics
    Swimming Pool  -  Heated outdoor pool
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenPet friendlyParking

    A grand mansion with ocean views set in perfectly manicured gardens. Elegant rooms boast luxury bathrooms and private terraces to enjoy a glass of local wine on. The grounds hold a lovely outdoor pool and a lifesize chess board. Champagne breakfasts are included - a luxury beach escape. See More

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  • Lincoln Green Inn Carmel (Carmel-By-The-Sea) 4 rooms from £332

    Great walks  -  Walk on the sidewalk or beach itself. Pets are welcome on the main beach without leads, but must be under command.
    Sights nearby  -  Within 15 minutes, visit Monterey with the famed Monterey Bay Aquarium, Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row.
    Hideaway  -  Each cottage has its own private entrance and garden- total seclusion!!
    Barefoot Luxury  -  For total relaxation.
    GardenPet friendlyViewsParking

    Four Cotswolds-style Robin Hood themed private cottages, in the scenic town of Carmel-on-the-Sea. The cottages feature floral prints, exposed beams, cosy beds, fireplaces and private gardens and patios. Homely, quaint and undeniably elegant. See More

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  • L'Auberge, Carmel Carmel (California) 20 rooms from £379

    Fishing  -  Take a Gourmet Picnic Basket with you from the kitchen.
    Great walks  -  Get walking to Point Lobos for spectacular views.
    Cooking classes  -  Prepare your lunch with the executive chef.
    Sights nearby  -  Variety of art galleries and museums.

    L'Auberge is a charming luxury hotel in close proximity to Carmel Beach, multiple dining options and walking opportunities. Rooms are luxurious with all mod-cons. The Aubergine restaurant is award-winning and the in-room spa treatments are a must-try. Great spot to relax, or see the local area. See More

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