Dog friendly spaces, scenic beauty and more than a dozen wine tasting rooms steps apart in the middle of the city center commercial blocks are attractions for this small community of 5,000 residents on California’s Central Coast in Monterey County. Carmel-by-the-sea or simply Carmel, the name generally used by locals, is the upmarket residential community of the area, a densely populated small town where the median home price is $1.5 million. Carmel is quirky. There are few streetlights and sidewalks in residential areas surrounding the tourist packed Carmel commercial district featuring dozens of hotels, restaurants and boutique shops. Keep a flashlight handy when wandering around at night.
Carmel Beach is a big draw for locals and tourists. Carmel Beach has been ranked in many articles as the prettiest beach in California and generally makes most ‘Best Beaches in California‘ lists.
The mission shown in the Carmel sign is Carmel Mission located one mile south of the central commercial area of Carmel. Father Junipero Serra originally established the mission at Monterey in 1770 with the Royal Presidio Chapel, then following an official request, moved the mission to Carmel for better agricultural land with several miles separation from Presidio of Monterey soldiers who sought the attention and abused local Native American women the mission sought to attract to Christianity.
Hotel rates are high-priced in Carmel and the motel-like hotel design of most properties relative to the high average room rates can be a shock to tourists. One of the deals I took advantage of in the past two months were room nights at Comfort Inn Carmel-by-the-Sea for 12,000 points per night for weekend stays. I wrote a review of this hotel last month. The reward rate increased to 25,000 points per night soon after my Carmel hotel review article posted. But not before I had booked another four room nights at 12,000 points per night for a wine tasting staycation with friends last weekend.
12,000 points for a weekend room night at Comfort Inn Carmel-by-the-Sea purchased a $323 after tax room night. The hotel is right on the edge of the commercial district and only a few minutes walk from the wine tasting rooms of downtown Carmel.
Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea
Monterey County has more than 46,000 acres of vineyards across 9 AVAs. Carmel Valley is one of those AVAs. While there are 53 different wine grape varietals grown in Monterey County, the largest varietal in acreage is Pinot Noir grapes. Monterey County is the largest producer of Poinot Noir grapes in California.
For tourists visiting Carmel, there are 17 wine tasting rooms within the 16 small blocks forming the core of commercial downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea. Eleven of these wine tasting rooms can be visited with a stroll around one single square block bounded by Ocean Avenue, Dolores Street, 7th Avenue and San Carlos Street.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a Dog-Friendly Town and Beach
Carmel is known for being a dog-friendly town. Carmel Beach is not a state beach, therefore, local beach rules allow dogs to be off-leash as long as they are voice-controlled. Dogs are welcome in most stores and chances are you will encounter a dog or more when you visit wine tasting rooms in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
After spoiling yourself in Carmel at a few wine tasting rooms, you can also spoil your dog with a short walk and stop by Diggidy Dog, a Dog & Cat Boutique.
Then finish your day with a stroll on the beach.