Brides looking for a California honeymoon destination, look no further. Carmel-by-the-Sea, often just called Carmel, has long been a haven for artists, poets, and actors (in fact, Clint Eastwood is a former mayor). Its artistic soul is apparent not only in the dozens of art galleries that line its streets but in its bohemian vibe, as well. There are no chain restaurants and no addresses, and almost every business is dog-friendly. It's also one of the most romantic places you should definitely consider for a honeymoon. Here, 4 reasons why Carmel makes the perfect mini-honeymoon location.
A Rich History
Carmel was founded way back in 1902 and, like much of this stretch of California coastline, has a history woven in American and Spanish settlements. To learn more about the area's history, visit the Tor House, built by Robinson Jeffers in 1920 or check out the Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, also known as the Carmel Mission. There are four museum galleries that describe the mission's restoration efforts and the history of the mission and the local area.
Carmel is located on one of the most beautiful sections of the Californian coast, and there are plenty of ways to take in the beauty. 17-Mile Drive is a scenic road through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove. The drive is actually the main road through the gated community of Pebble Beach and there is a small fee to enter.
Nearby, Point Lobos State Natural Reserve contains a number of hiking trails, many next to the ocean, and a smaller number of beaches.
Wine and Dine
The Carmel Valley and Santa Lucia Highlands are home to dozens of award-winning wineries, many of which have tasting rooms in Carmel. There are 14 tasting rooms in total; pick up a Wine Tasting Passport for $65 and enjoy a Wine Walk flight at 9 of the 14 tasting rooms. The Wine Walk by-the-Sea(TM) is a self-paced, self-guided stroll to the tasting rooms which are all within a few blocks of each other on both sides of Ocean Avenue.
While Carmel has no chain restaurants, it has no shortage of fine dining. There's romantic Casanova, located in an old house, and serving French and Italian cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. The same owners run La Bicyclette, a Parisian-inspired cafe with delectable thin-crust pizza made in a wood-fired oven. For something quick, stop by Salumeria Luca Italian Deli and Bakery for a sandwich or salumi plates and pick up a sweet treat at Lula's Chocolates, which offers caramels dipped in chocolate topped with your choice of nine different sea salts from around the world.
In Carmel, there's no more romantic spot than the elegant La Playa Carmel, built around a 1905 mansion owned by a member of the famed Ghirardelli family. Known as the "Grande Dame of Carmel," the historic hotel has been fully renovated and offers 75 rooms with spectacular ocean garden or estate views, beautifully landscaped groups with gardens, patios, and a terrace swimming pool, and a historic bar and adjacent patio with views of the sea.
Just outside of town, the Hyatt Carmel Highlands is a bit removed from the action, but the trade-off for proximity to town is spectacular ocean views from rooms perched high above the hillside.
On a smaller budget, the cozy Hotel Carmel is located in the heart of town and offers beachy-chic rooms with gas fireplaces, a courtyard with fire pit and Jacuzzi, morning bagel breakfast and evening wine hour.