Carmel By the Sea, Calif.
TH ERE’S JUST SOMETHING MAGICAL ABOUT Carmel-by-the-Sea (called Carmel for short). Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains, this gem on the Central Coast of California has been a favorite getaway for decades for everyone from honeymooners to hippies. It still lures travelers of all types with its combination of breathtaking natural beauty and quaintyet-sophisticated feel. If you’re seeking a travel destination where you can “unplug,” log some hiking time, bike along the coast, sample delicious healthful offerings including local organic produce and seafood, pamper yourself with a spa treatment, or just unwind, look no further than Carmel. Earthbound Farm ebfarm.com Located in Carmel Valley, Earthbound Farm’s Farm Stand offers fresh organic produce, delicious organic food, gourmet groceries, organic flowers, and unique gifts. Stop by for lunch al fresco with a scenic farmland view. The Cheese Shop thecheeseshopinc.com If wine tasting isn’t your thing, try cheese tasting! The Cheese Shop has an incredible selection of gourmet cheeses, plus wines, aged meats, crackers, jams, and honey. offers a stay that’s a far cry from the cookiecutter experience of large chains. Several rooms feature fireplaces, kitchens, balconies, and ocean views. Step outside, and you’re in the heart of Carmel, within walking distance to shops and restaurants. A complimentary continental breakfast is served each morning including fresh pastries from a local bakery. And pets are welcome! Beaches— Take a stroll in the sand, jog along Scenic Road, surf, or watch the sunset. Bike— There are more than 45 bike trails in Carmel. Find out where at mapmyride.com.
Hofsas House Hike— Nearby is Point Lobos State Reserve’s Cypress Grove Trail, a 1-mile loop among Cypress trees. For more experienced hikers, Garland Ranch to Sniveley’s Ridge is a popular choice. Visit everytrail.com for more. Historic Walk— Grab a map and take a tour of historic buildings, art galleries, and more. Spas— Visit top-rated Refuge (refuge.com) or Kush Day Spa (kushincarmel.com). Go to Carmelcalifornia.com for a full list of local spas. Wine Tasting— The Carmel Wine Walk By-the-Sea ($65) is a self-guided tour of 12 tasting rooms from regional wineries. Don’t miss: Wrath and Scheid tasting rooms, which feature wines from sustainable vineyards.