15 Best Things To Do in Carmel Valley, California

by Ketki Hanamshet Updated on 15 Oct 2018

If someone is searching for a romantic seaside destination, probably to spend some unforgettable moments with their partner, the Carmel Valley is the place to head to. Renowned for its charming coastal beaches and a village ambiance, which is enchanting, this place can be recommended as the perfect honeymoon destination.

The Carmel Valley encourages wandering with its hidden passageways. This further would lead you to the magical world of ‘old school’ ambiance. It is a destination where the people can expect to be pampered in every way, be it by their partner or by the scenic beauty.So here are the best places to visit in Carmel and some must-see tourist attractions in Carmel Valley. Be it retail therapy or little adventure trails or just sun-basking by the sea, this place offers everything.

Let's explore these 15 best things to do in Carmel Valley:

1. One can see Carmel by the Sea at the Carmel Beach

Carmel Beach - ImageImage Source: wikipedia.org

Being one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Carmel beach is a line of soft white sand that has a secluded feel. One can just enjoy a romantic or alone walk along the Scenic Bluff path and witness the horizon or just decide to take a sunbath. Bathing can also be a good option but one should remember that sudden rogue currents are natural here and the beach is devoid of lifeguards. The beach is pet-friendly as well and the cypress trees would definitely give a photogenic background. So being here is a must.

2. Carmel Mission: a place with authenticity

The San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission is very famous in the region. It is one of the most beautiful missions which is Spanish. The history of the place says that it was founded in the year by Father Junipero Serra and then the centrepiece of the mission which is the Basilica was then constructed. The place has a remarkable historic and architectural significance. The 30-foot tall gilded reredos and the cemetery arch is very impressive. The mission has museums in it as well but what attract the visitors are the Moorish-style Star Window and Bell Tower and the garden. So, one should definitely be here.

3. Point Lobos would just be a soother

This is the place where one can easily see the Pacific Ocean gushing and striking against the rocky bluffs and outcrops. The place has a lot of hiking trails to offer as well which leads through the forests of cypress and pines, marine terraces, tide pools and stretches of wildflowers. One should actually be here in the springtime because that is when the blooms of lilacs and California poppies forms floral beds to soothe your eyes one can even opt for the Cypress Train and they would meet the natives like playful sea otters or munch on mussels. One can also opt to swim around the kelp in the Headland Cove or dive in the deep waters of the Granite point trail. These would be a once in a lifetime experience and thus, this is a must-do.

4. Courtyards and Hidden Passageways; a combination of mystery and modernity

Almost everyone likes mystery and the romantic mysteries are of the best kind that one can get easily at Carmel. There are a lot of atmospheric hidden passageways and even tranquil garden courtyards that are worth exploring. Further, these crannies and nooks are studded with little boutiques, cafes and art galleries. To recommend, there is Carmel coffee House which has an outdoor seating arrangement which is very impressive. This can be found in the Las Tiendas passageway. Thus, in any case, this fruitful expedition is worth trying out.

5. Garland Ranch Regional Park; a diversity unified

Garland Ranch Regional park - ImageImage Source:wikimedia.org

This is the womb of all the hiking trails. The diversity of the landscape of Carmel can be felt instantly when one reaches here. The place is filled with sycamores and cottonwood trees from the floodplain to the peaks of the Mountains (Santa Lucia). The different trails offer different passages; some of them are even through canyons filled with redwood forests, maple trees, oak woodlands which offers cool shade. Garzas Creek traverses the park, providing a sense of serenity. This park can also recommend as an awesome place for horseback riding and jogging.

6. Big Sur is the perfect place for rejuvenation

Located just a few miles away from Carmel, this place is definitely worth a visit. The winding scenic route to this point is a treat to the eyes. Along the Santa Lucia mountains, Big Sur extends for around 85 miles. This place has an unspoiled wilderness and one can just be awed by the way the mountain drops down to the sea. This place has a whole package to offer which not only includes sandy beaches but also steep cliffs, forests, waterfall and rugged ocean-buffs.

7. Aquarium and Cannery Row in Monterey- all of aquatic life

One can watch a plethora of water species is the Monterey bay aquarium. Located just four miles away from Carmel, this picturesque drive along this coastal route also goes past the Pebble Golf course to the Pebble Beach. The Cannery row at the waterfront and its view can be recalled easily if one has read John Steinbeck's novel. Further, the aquarium has a collection of a number of aquatic species which even includes sharks. Thus one must search for a chance to pose a selfie with the beast.

8. Pacific Grove- a place to gulp

Monterey bay calls for a stay. And Pacific Grove would just be the right place. It is basically a Victorian-era town at the edge that has a lot of homes that has been converted into inns serving bed and breakfast. This can be recommended as the ideal shopping destination as well because there are a lot of bakeries, shops and also award-winning restaurants. A nature wall that leads to the Pacific Grove Museum would be the ideal recreation here apart from being in the water with some drinks.

9. Point Lobos State Reserve- only the lucky ones get a chance

Tourist attractions in Carmel Valley - ImageImage Source: wikimedia.org

One of the best spots at Carmel, this is a two miles sea coast with a lot of scenic beauty to offer. The park is a treasure for those who want to paint, do bird watching or click pictures. The endless ocean on one side and the narrow meanders and trails are something to be mesmerized about. Also if people are lucky they would see grey whales or orcas occasionally passing slowly on the horizon. This place is also ideal to meet the wild dwellers so be here is experience the wilderness.

10. Palo Corona Regional Park- see the rarest

The regional park has a diverse and unique ecosystem and over 500 species of different plants and animals. This regional park is located in about 3400 feet height above the sea level and offers the ecosystem that ranges from the hardwood forests to the Carmel River. Species like a red-legged frog, Smith’s blue butterfly, tiger salamander and many others. So being here is a must.

11. Carmel River State Beach is the perfect swimmer’s destination

With rough waves and sudden tides, Carmel beach is never fit for the swimmers. But Carmel River State Beach is a beautiful lagoon that splits the ocean and is protected Wetlands Natural Reserve. This is a fantastic location is perfect for the bird watchers swimmers and even bird watchers because it is also the congregation of a lot of birds. This site can also be recommended as a historic site as well and has the significance of the same that can be related to the RumsienNative American tribe.

12. Caraccioli Cellars in Carmel with a tasting room in Carmel Valley downtown

Wineries are pretty famous in the USA and taking pride in that, this winery was founded in the year 2006. This is a 124 acres vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highland is known for producing “Old World” wines which are known for the deep routes that it have. The best part of their winemaking process is the way they control their winemaking process. One can taste their premium wines from their elegant tasting room which is located in Carmel’s downtown. So being here is the best option.

13. Carl Cherry centre for the Arts gives one an artistic feel

This was formed by the famous artist Jeanne D’Orge. It is she who made it clear that though this centre, she wants the artists to be true to themselves. Further, this centre also supported different science experiments and other experimental art as well. The contents of the centre are an art gallery, the Geraldine M. and Tom R. Houston Sculpture Garden located within the centre’s grounds, and a 50-seat Cherry Hall theatre. The aesthetic value of this place is very high.

14. Mission Ranch Restaurant- perfect for date and relaxation

Being here would be quite a different experience altogether. The view that it offers is of the Santa Lucia Mountains and the Pacific Ocean at the front. One can just sit and relax while dining other than which, this is a very good option for romantic dates. The food served is Classic American and other American comfort foods.

15. Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company with accompaniments

There is nothing better than some greatly roasted coffee to start ones day with. Carmel Roasting Company started roasting their coffee slowly and the results were marvelous/ the freshly roasted and brewed coffee tasting which would make one’s day even in a better way. Some fancy sandwiches or some pastries can be really good accompaniments that one can enjoy on the beach.

Thus, being here would definitely be a one’s best experience and thus the travelers should pack their bags and just set out to experience the magic.

Author: Ketki Hanamshet
Usually lost in a reverie, Ketki is someone who absolutely refuses to live in the practical world. While she has a bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, she should be honored mastery in procrastination. If you see her slouching on a couch, ask...

Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Carmel Valley

Check out the list of top tourist attractions in Carmel Valley! These are some inspiring things to do in Carmel Valley to create a wish list of your dream destinations.

  1. # 1 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 1218 times in trip plans
    Garland Ranch Regional Park

    Tags: Park, Hiking Trail

    Address: 700 W Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 06:00 am - 06:00 pm Details

    With such an incredible tale of history attached to, the Garland Ranch Regional Park is a must-visit while in Carmel Valley. Whether you love history or not, this park can be visited for myriad purpos...Read more

  2. # 2 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 490 times in trip plans
    Holman Ranch

    Tags: Ranch, Food And Drinks, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 19 E Carmel Valley Rd C, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 11:00 am - 07:00 pm Details

    A celebrated wedding destination in Carmel Valley, the Holman Ranch has so much goodness to offer. As if the landscapes weren’t incredible enough, you have some delicious wine made in the vineya...Read more

  3. # 3 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 547 times in trip plans
    Folktale Winery And Vineyard

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 8940 Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923, USA

    Timings: 11:00 am - 08:00 pm Details

    A quaint vineyard, among the several spanning across the town, The Folktale Winery & Vineyard renders a special, warm vibe like that of a summer home. This is generally the first stop for all thos...Read more

  4. # 4 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 96 times in trip plans
    Joullian Vineyards

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Entertainment, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 2 Village Dr A, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 11:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    Having the very evident surfeit of wineries and vineyards, Carmel Valley leaves you spoilt for choice. But there are places like the Joullian Vineyards that are an absolute no-brainer when it comes to...Read more

  5. # 5 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 71 times in trip plans
    Bernardus Winery

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Entertainment, Vineyard

    Address: 5 W Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 11:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    A perfect environ of wine and cheese tastings the Bernardus Winery and Vineyard is one place certain to be engraved as a cherishing memory. With an understanding that comprehend wine as art, this plac...Read more

  6. # 6 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 117 times in trip plans
    Cowgirl Winery

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 25 Pilot Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 11:30 am - 06:00 pm Details

    Staying true to its name the Cowgirl Vineyard’s structure resembles cowboy architecture in its wooden ranch like place. However, let the name not make you think otherwise of a lovely wine tastin...Read more

  7. # 7 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 46 times in trip plans
    Parsonage Winery Tasting Room

    Tags: Food And Drinks, Winery, Vineyard, Adults

    Address: 19 E Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 11:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    If you are a wine fanatic, you are ought to love this place given a wide variety of wines here. And it gets even better if you are an art admirer, given the number of art and photography displays. Thi...Read more

  8. # 8 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 30 times in trip plans
    Moto Talbott

    Tags: Museum, Exhibition , Specialty Museum

    Address: 4 E Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 11:00 am - 05:00 pm Details

    In a town full of wineries and vineyards, the Moto Talbott is a breath of fresh air. A specialty museum, this place displays exhibits of vintage automobiles. Motorcycles and bicycles belonging to many...Read more

  9. # 9 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley
    Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

    Tags: Monastery

    Address: 39171 Tassajara Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Tassajara Zen Mountain Center located amidst the Southeast of Carmel by Sea in California is one of the oldest Buddhist Monastery in California. This monastery is located in a very isolated area nearl...Read more

  10. # 10 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 31 times in trip plans
    Monterey Marriott Image

    Address: 350 Calle Principal, Monterey, CA 93940, USA

    Timings: 24-hrs Details
    Google Reviews
    Ankush Bhargava

    Room was decent sized. The staff was decent as well. Location is very close to the buddy downtown street, so lots happening. 5m from the aquarium. Understand is good enough. We used the valet for $25 ...

    Read more
  11. # 11 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 3 times in trip plans
    Roux Image

    Address: 6 Pilot Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 10:00 am - 10:00 pm Details
    Google Reviews
    Clare Taylor

    Visited for the second time for a private party. I felt the food had gone downhill, however I've not been in during regular business so I can't comment on the usual menu. Great ambience and a nice int...

    Read more
  12. # 12 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 2 times in trip plans
    Wild Goose Cafe Image

    Address: 18 E Carmel Valley Rd, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

    Timings: 06:30 am - 04:00 pm Details
    Google Reviews
    Roy Mac

    Strange that beef is not served as it is not healthy. Yet other animal flesh is served. Pricey $11.00 for a BLT

    Read more
  13. # 13 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley | Added 6 times in trip plans
    Piedras Blancas Image

    Address: Piedras Blancas, Carmel Valley, CA 93924, USA

  14. # 14 of 14 Things To Do in Carmel Valley