Romantic Carmel California

Carmel-by-the-Sea is hands down the most romantic spot along the Carmel California coast. With its white sand beaches, drop dead gorgeous scenery, charming village, and cozy bed & breakfast inns, Carmel is the perfect romantic getaway.

Natural Wonders
The village is nestled in a pine forest on a hill overlooking the sparkling waters of Carmel Bay. The place was made for walking, and you'll find it a pleasant amble to the beach from the village. Or take a stroll along the Scenic Road Walkway, located on the bluffs overlooking the beach. It's a great spot for enjoying the sunsets, which are, quite literally, traffic stoppers.

Carmel California Beach has the whitest, fluffiest sand you're likely to find on the California coast, and the most spectacular views. As you stand looking out to sea, to your right you'll see Pebble Beach, and to your left, the rugged coastline of Point Lobos Nature Reserve. The beach is backed by picturesque Monterey Cypress trees, twisted and hammered by the winds.

You can enjoy a romantic beach fire in the area south of 10th Street. Good thing, too, as the evenings can get a bit chilly. You'll also find tide pools to explore, and beach volleyball courts. Bring your dog, if you like. Dogs are allowed off-leash on the beach, and you'll find plenty of lodging and restaurants that welcome pets.

The one thing you won't find at Carmel Beach is a place to go swimming. The surf here is cold and treacherous. But at Carmel River State Beach to the south, there's a lagoon you can safely splash around in. Scuba diving is also popular here, and at Point Lobos State Reserve, just 2 miles south of Carmel.

A Fairy Tale Village
The one square mile village of Carmel-by-the-Sea is a European style retreat, but not in the self-conscious, planned manner you'll find at amusement parks and themed shopping centers. Carmel began its life as a haven for artists, writers, and bohemians of all sorts, and their influence is still felt in the village ambience.

Residents are serious about maintaining Carmel's small town feel. There are no sidewalks and streetlights in the residential district; homes are known by name, not street number; and there's no mail delivery. You'll find quite a few fairy tale cottages, many built by Hugh Comstock, whose creations in the '20s and 30's set the tone for future construction.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a walkers paradise. You can stroll through the winding streets, explore the secluded courtyards and arcades, and just wander aimlessly. It's like going on a treasure hunt where you don't need a map. You'll find over 90 art studios and galleries, many charming cafes and restaurants, and numerous antique shops and boutiques.

Scenic Drives
If you're in the mood for a drive, head south on Highway 1 into Big Sur, just 26 miles away. The coastline here is justifiably famous for its beauty, and there are many turnouts on the road where you can take in the spectacular views from Big Sur's rugged cliffs.

You won't want to miss the famous 17 Mile Drive, which winds through the gated community of Pebble Beach and the Del Monte Forest. You'll find many places to stop along the way, enjoy a picnic lunch, walk on the beach, or go hiking. You can even go horseback riding or sea kayaking. And, of course, there's golf. There's an entry fee for motorists, but not for pedestrians or cyclists.

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