Back in October, we drove from San Francisco to Carmel-by-the-Sea on Highway 1, my favorite drive in California. Everything on this road is wonderful: the views, the slower pace, so many gorgeous landscapes; you have to be ready to stop often to take it all in.
We stayed at the charming La Playa Carmel, conveniently located 5 minutes away from the ocean, where you can hear the sound of the waves at night, one of my favorite things. This historic hotel has a lovely Mediterranean vibe, it is welcoming, charming, and makes you feel like home. I appreciated the design and details throughout the space which made it look so special. The gardens are perfectly tied-up with gorgeous flowers and butterflies flying all over, so dreamy! The Playa Carmel team made the experience even nicer, serving a wonderful breakfast every morning, wine and cheese tasting at 5pm, and freshly baked cookies at 7pm. We didn’t ever want to leave!
Downtown Carmel is about a 10-minute walk from the hotel and it gives you the opportunity to walk around and explore. Throughout my travels in the U.S., I have realized the “centre-ville” is something I miss from Europe. Having cute little shops, cafés, restaurants, and historic buildings is, for me, a way to experience the culture and find hidden gems. Carmel has it all!
Since we were already down there, we decided at the last minute to go check-out Point Lobos, a State Natural Reserve with breathtaking views. The dramatic landscape that surround the ocean was gorgeous. The day was overcast, but the natural color palette and vegetation were very inspirational. We even got to observe some sea lions with the help of the Point Lobos park rangers. If you’re in the area, I definitely recommend spending half-a-day there!
Have you been to Carmel? I would love to hear your recommendations in the area!