Exiting a coffee shop in Carmel, Alex turned and said to me, “Maybe old men just know what’s up!”

Even though we were younger than many of our traveling counterparts in Carmel, we did not mind one bit.  We just decided that older people must have a better sense for what is good in life, (and Carmel is so good that we actually want to move there!).

Here is what won us over:

1.  Carmel is a dog lover’s dream.  Dogs in the hotel room, no problem.  Dogs off least at the beach– great!  Dogs welcomed in restaurants and stores, of course!

2.  Pristine white-sand beach.  Need I say more?

3.  Everything is just so darn cute.  Cute town, cute restaurants, cute houses.  Cute.

If you’re headed that direction anytime soon, here were some things that we loved on our trip, (I’m a big fan of passing along travel ideas because, if you’re anything like me, word-of-mouth suggestions go a long way in curing indecisiveness!).


Monte Verde Inn:  We ended up at the Monte Verde Inn because it had solid reviews and was reasonable at just $99/night during the off-season, (now!).

We were highly satisfied with it at that price– cute decor, private patio (unit 9), breakfast delivered in a basket daily, five blocks to beach, great restaurants around the corner, dog-friendly.  The only downsides were the small size of the room and the comfort of the bed, but at the price the pros far outweighed the cons. We’d happily return:

Small, but cozy, AND dog-friendly! 🙂
Everything is newly updated!
Morning breakfast basket on private patio… Simon wanted in on this!
Shared patio with live music/wine tasting on the weekends


Casanova:  Walking distance from our hotel, delicious Italian fare with beautiful patio.  Atmosphere and food live up to the price.  Great house wine and vegetarian ravioli!

I’m a sucker for twinkly lights, good food, yummy wine, and my husband!

Mon Chay:  I was skeptical about vegetarian Vietnamese food in Carmel, but this was amazing!  Possibly my favorite Vietnamese restaurant of all time!  Located directly off of Highway 1, it is a five minute drive from the village in a cute shopping center full of twinkly lights, (did I mention that I like twinkly lights?!).  The food was fresh, healthy, affordable, and delicious!

Wonton soup!
Vietnamese Chow Fun
Loved the big Buddha statue!
Parker Lusseau Pastries & Cafe:  Located only ten minutes from the aquarium, this bakery was a real find.  Delicious sandwiches and incredible desserts!  Friendly owner and staff to boot.  If I were getting married in the Monterrey area, I’d want my cake from here!
YUM! (I’d tell you what this was, but it was too fancy to remember the details… just yum!)
Does not look like much, but one of the best vegetarian sandwiches of my life.  Perfect bread.
Cute little outside spot to let the dog stretch his legs!


Carmel Beach:  No leashes required, friendly dogs, friendly people, gorgeous water, white sand… Alex and I ran with the dog each morning on the beach, definitely the highlight of our trip!

Carmel Village:  So many cool little details hidden throughout the village.  It is worth spending time just wandering around looking for the public art!
Diggidy Dog:  Clearly, we are fanatical about our dog.  This pet store is one of our all-time favorites, with a huge selection of toys and treats to spoil your mutt!
Simon lucked out with a dog-friendly sausage and donut!

Aspirational House Hunting:  Alex and I spent a couple of hours wandering around the village, looking at the houses for sale.  When an older couple asked if we were house-hunting, we happily replied that we were aspirational house hunting!  So many cool places to daydream about… Now we just need five to ten million dollars to spend…

One of our favorites!

Monterey Bay Aquarium:  Last, but not least, Alex and I hit up the aquarium in Monterrey.  So cool.  My favorite was the gigantic octopus, (I never knew that octopus were so intelligent or affectionate!).  Absolutely worth a visit.

A live feeding of fish and sharks
I love watching the jelly fish!

Next time you visit the area, send your tips my way!  We plan to be back, many, many times.  In fact, you might just have to visit us here someday…  Hopefully it will happen before we get old, but even if we have to wait to live here, it will be worth it.

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7 thoughts on “Carmel-by-the-Sea

  1. Tanya Leigh says:

    I loooooooove Carmel, and if you move there I'm coming with you!!! Old people favorites are always the best. Tiberon is another great one. I also love your travel guide style, really inspires me to go. I'm actually super close.

  2. You should go! Take Preston! Maybe we can have a dog/girls date down there this summer 😀 It's my new fave. I haven't been to Tiburon in forever, I'll put it on the list! 😀

  3. Brandon F. says:

    Went to junior high there when I first moved away from Sac. Did you visit the Carmel Mission?Love the other pics!

  4. Oh yeah, Brandon? I didn't know that you lived down there! Did you like it? Have any hook-ups for teaching jobs down there? 😉 (And, nope, we didn't make it to the mission this time, but next time!)

  5. Nicole says:

    I LOVE Carmel too! Thanks for sharing about your trip, such a delight to read and see the pictures. Last time we were there two years ago, we did a Monterey wine trolley which took us through all of the wineries in Carmel- it was SO much fun! I highly recommend that you guys do it next time 🙂

  6. Thanks for the great tip Nicole, sounds like a blast!

  7. […] year, my spring break was magical. We went to Carmel, ran with the dog on the beach, dined in fancy restaurants, spied on fish at the aquarium, and ate […]

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