Since it wasn't founded until 1902 or incorporated until 1916, you might assume Carmel-by-the-Sea has a relatively short history. However, it has a much richer heritage than those dates suggest. Academics believe Esselen-speaking Native Americans were Carmel's first inhabitants. They traveled south when the Ohlone people unseated them around the 6th century.
Spanish explorers passed by without ever setting foot ashore in 1542. Around 60 years later, Spanish explorer Sebastián Vizcaíno and a Carmelite friar arrived in the Carmel Valley. They named it in tribute to the patron saint, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. However, the Spanish didn't colonize the area until 1770, when it became a mission site.
While several small developments were launched throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea's history, the city didn't really grow until James Frank Devendorf and Frank Powers filed a subdivision map in 1902. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many of the city's visual artists and writers relocated to Carmel-by-the-Sea. They were joined by several scientists, who moved to Carmel when the Carnegie Institution established its Coastal Laboratory in 1910.
Today Carmel-by-the-Sea is home to more than 3,700 people. It's especially attractive to dog owners, who can frequent the city's many dog-friendly stores and restaurants. Carmel-by-the-Sea also has many dog-friendly hotels, so it's the perfect place for a getaway with your four-legged friend. If you don't have a pooch, don't worry. There's still plenty to see and do in this vibrant Californian city on the coast.
When to Visit Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Carmel-by-the-Sea's cool Mediterranean clime is best experienced during the Indian Summer, which runs from September to October. Average highs in the low 70s are perfect for swimming and sightseeing.
A summer getaway might sound appealing, but this peak tourist season is in the middle of Carmel-by-the-Sea's wet season. Summer days are often gray and gloomy, with marine-layer clouds blocking the sun. Persistent drizzle can really put a dampener on your vacation plans.
Winter weather is milder than in many parts of the country, with average highs around 60. However, this season is plagued by storms. While the rain isn't as relentless as it is during the wet season, the heavy showers mean the winter months have Carmel-by-the-Sea's greatest rainfall.
Below is a chart of the current pricing seasonality of hotels and motels in Carmel By The Sea, CA:
Carmel By The Sea, CA: Prices by Star Rating Class
Below are 3 charts illustrating avg. nightly cost trends by star rating class in Carmel By The Sea, CA. Browse these charts to calculate the cheapest dates to book a room in Carmel By The Sea during the year.
Best Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
4 Star Average Prices: $310.64
Luxury seekers are spoiled for choice in Carmel-by-the-Sea. For the best of the best though, look to the following upscale hotels.
Tally Ho Inn in Carmel is an elegant boutique hotel modeled after a charming English bed and breakfast. Vintage-style wooden furniture and soft drapes and quilted coverlets make the rooms inviting. Modern touches like free Wi-Fi, pillow-top mattresses, and Jacuzzi tubs enhance their appeal. Private deck areas take advantage of the stunning ocean views. Tally Ho's sister hotel, the Pine Inn, serves a full American breakfast buffet on weekdays and continental breakfast on weekends. Both are included in your room rate. Electric car drivers will appreciate the free car charging stations on-site. Parking is also free for all guests.
Built in 1929, L'Auberge Carmel enjoyed recent restorations but maintains its historic charm. It only features 20 rooms, so you'll always receive personalized service. They include a comfortable mix of old and new, from four-poster beds and French windows to radiant underfloor heating and flat-screen TVs. The complimentary Aubergine's Signature Breakfast, featuring two cooked-to-order eggs, fresh fruit, and house-made pastries are the perfect morning pick-me-up. You can also request additional food and beverages, like chocolate-covered strawberries, cheese plates, and champagne. Luxurious experiences like couple's massages and cooking classes with the on-site chef can really enhance your stay.
Affordable Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
3 Star Average Prices: $240.86
Carmel-by-the-Sea is a luxury travel destination with hotels that typically fall on the more expensive end of the scale. However, if you book early, you can find affordable rooms at hotels like these.
Comfort Inn Carmel-by-the-Sea has smart, comfortable rooms made for frugal holidaymakers and business travelers. Each one has a separate work area for catching up on paperwork and a flat-screen TV for relaxing when you're done. The rooms also have coffee makers, although there's also free coffee in the lobby if you'd prefer to let someone else make the brew. Hot breakfasts, Wi-Fi, and weekday newspapers are also free for the duration of your stay, helping your money go further.
Carmel Wayfarer Inn is a boutique alternative for budget-conscious travelers located just three blocks from the galleries and restaurants of Ocean Avenue. This inn offers several room configurations for solo travelers, couples, and families, each featuring comfortable beds, cable TVs, and full bathrooms with combination shower-tubs. The friendly staff serve guests a satisfying continental breakfast each morning.
2 Star Average Prices: $131.47
Which Carmel By The Sea hotels have real discounts?
When you want to save on your Carmel-by-the-Sea accommodation, consider branches of the country's largest hotel providers. Select guests save when they stay at the following hotels. Present your valid identification to lock in the best rates.
As a Best Western property, Carmel's Town House Lodge extends discounts to AAA and CAA auto club members, AARP members, and seniors. Along with a special rate, you'll enjoy easy access to gourmet restaurants and art galleries just a minute's walk away and free services like parking, high-speed internet access, and a generous hot buffet breakfast each morning. The calming neutral palette makes the guestrooms especially inviting. Each one features a fridge, your choice of queen or king beds, and a 37-inch LCD TV showing premium channels, including HBO. Visit between April and October to enjoy the seasonal outdoor pool.
Clarion Collection in Carmel-by-the-Sea offers special rates for AAA and CAA auto club members, government and military personnel, seniors and AARP members, and members of large traveling groups requiring at least 10 rooms. The hotel is 100-percent smoke-free and pet-free, so it's perfect for travelers with allergies and associated health complaints. Its rooms aren't flashy, but with fridges, flat-screen TVs, premium beds, and coffee makers, you'll have everything you really need. Request one of the rooms with a work desk if you're traveling for business. Free Wi-Fi, daily breakfasts, and weekday newspapers help your dollar go further.
Best Value Options in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
With so many expensive hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea, it can be difficult to know which accommodation providers deliver value for money. While they don't always have the lowest prices, the exceptional customer service, comfortable rooms, and great facilities in these hotels always impress.
Carmel Lodge has just 38 rooms, so its staffers can really roll out the red carpet for guests. For example, a continental breakfast, with croissants and fresh fruit, is delivered to your door each morning. The front desk also never closes, so you can always get the help you need. Carmel Lodge is proudly pet-friendly, with a variety of rooms and suites to suit all budgets. Its on-site restaurant Casanova serves French- and Italian-influenced dinners every day and brunch on the weekends.
Vendange Carmel Inn & Suites is an elegant boutique hotel that puts value first. Its rooms are spacious and lovingly appointed by the wineries they're named after, ensuring each one is a true original. With immaculate gardens, a grand pergola, and a firepit, this property offers plenty of places for relaxing with your traveling party or enjoying some solitude. Make sure you stop by the lobby each evening for the nightly hors d'oeuvres.
Photo Opportunities in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Carmel-by-the-Sea's rich natural beauty makes it the perfect location for keen photographers. Take your camera or smartphone to the following places for some Instagram-worthy shots.
Carmel Beach offers so many great photo opportunities. When you're not enjoying the ocean yourself, try to capture a shot of the surfers seeking the perfect waves. Dogs love the sea break too. It's always entertaining watching water-loving canines enjoying off-leash time frolicking in the waves. Sports photographers should bring their camera to the beach on the weekend, when keen volleyballers regularly enjoy games.
Wander away from the waves, and you'll find Scenic Bluff Path, a pretty pathway bordered by Monterey cypress trees and immaculately-manicured gardens. Piccadilly Park is home to another of Carmel-by-the-Sea's most prominent and picturesque gardens. Designed by celebrated landscaper Walter Guthrie, it features drought-tolerant local plants like the gian chain ren, coast live oak, manzanita, and bush anemone.
Devendorf Park is often a hive of activity. You can capture the spirit of the Carmel-by-the-Sea community if you take photos here during Veterans and Memorial Day services, the Fourth of July and Halloween parades, and the annual tree lighting before Christmas.
You'll also want to take your camera hiking around Carmel-by-the-Sea. The views from Jack's Peak County Bay Park's Skyline Trail, Point Lobos State Reserve's Southern Park Loop, and Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail can't be beaten. Capturing them is also a great way to stick to your workout routine while you're in Carmel-by-the-Sea!
Carmel-by-the-Sea is the perfect place to connect with nature and recharge your batteries. Enjoy an extended vacation here or make it a pit stop on the itinerary of your next Californian adventure.