A quaint bungalow-like restaurant in the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea, surrounded by multiple plants.
A quaint restaurant in the city of Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Carmel-by-the-Sea, or more commonly simply Carmel, is located on the Pacific coast of California within Monterey County. The town is known for its scenic beauty and rich artistic history. Carmel lies to the south of the city of Monterey and the most commonly traveled route between the two cities is 17-mile drive a scenic coastal drive which passes by Pebble Beach Golf Course and the famous Lone Cypress Tree.

a couple taking selfie at the golden gate bridge overlook

Morning Guided City Tour of San Francisco

  • 4 Hours
  • 65+

Most complete and entertaining San Francisco city tour available. Stops to explore Golden Gate Bridge, Palace of Fine Arts, Land’s End, and Twin Peaks.

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Most Comprehensive
couple looking at the lone cypress tree

Monterey and Carmel One Day Tour from San Francisco

  • 11 Hours
  • 119+

This day tour hugs the scenic Pacific Coast, then offers free time to explore the Monterey’s Cannery Row and Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Relax along the 17-mile Drive to Pebble Beach and charming Carmel.

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The first explorer to discover Carmel was Rodriguez Cabillo is 1542 who sailed up the coast but did not actually set foot on the Monterey Peninsula. Sixty years later the Spanish Carmelite Friar Sebastian Vizcaino named the Carmel Valley after his patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The Spanish did not colonize the area until 1770 when Gaspar de Portola and Franciscan Fathers Junipero Serra and Juan Crespi explored the area for a suitable mission site. Soon after the exploration of Gaspar de Portola and his companions the colony of Monterey was established and included most of the land that is known today as Monterey County. In 1821 Mexico gained independence from Spain and Carmel was claimed as a Mexican territory making Carmel an independent town from Monterey.

The Mission Carmel was originally built in what is today the city of Monterey although soon after the construction was completed Father Junipero Serra had the mission disassembled and relocated to what is now Carmel-by-the-Sea. The mission’s relocation and reconstruction was completed in 1771 and the first plaster and mud dwellings were crudely constructed until a more permanent settlement could be built. The town of Carmel was seceded as part of the Mexican American War in 1833 and became part of the United States in 1848.

In 1905 the Carmel Arts and Crafts Colony was founded and after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake the city was inundated with artists, writers and musicians looking for a stable environment created by the already-established Carmel Arts and Crafts Colony. The city offered these new residents home lots for ten dollars down, little or no interest and whatever payment could be afforded on a monthly basis. In 1911 the city’s Shakespearean tradition began with the theatre production of Twelfth Night featuring Perry Newberry and Herbert Heron. The Arts and Crafts Colony was instrumental in organizing many public art shows such as exhibitions, lectures, dances, plays and recitals. Carmel’s early city councils were dominated by artists and the town has had several mayors that were poets or actors including Herbert Heron, Perry Newberry and Clint Eastwood.