A Day Trip to Carmel

A charming village with Big Sur and local wineries nearby.

Written by:
Paula Farmer
Share This:

A relatively quick and easy drive from the San Francisco Bay Area is Carmel, a quintessential charming California town, with definite hints of affluence. Although Carmel is sleepy in comparison to nearby Monterey and the Bay Area, it still has much to offer in the way of a day trip or weekend getaway. If you’re in the downtown area there, you’re surrounded by independently owned boutiques, cafes, galleries and wine bars. Many of them are obviously touristy in nature, but some are just plain good, appealing to both visitors and locals and are worth checking out.

West of downtown is the dramatically beautiful coastline – great for walking, biking or driving. If you’re doing the latter, and continue a few miles south, there is the ever-stunning Big Sur. This is almost entirely natural setting where the Santa Lucia Mountains line up along the Pacific Ocean. Although Big Sur is a 90 mile coastline along highway 1, it’s defined by varying areas, such as foothills, forest, creeks and towns. You can go as short or deep along the way as you want (there is a point around San Simeon in which you’re fully committed and cannot get over to a highway with many lanes).

A few minutes east of the town is Carmel Valley and its village. Along with rolling hills and ranches, this is a designated wine area. While the actual vineyards are not close at hand, the village, which is only 20 minutes from Carmel, is a good destination. In Carmel Valley Village you’ll find a very manageable concentration of tasting rooms, shops and cafes. The whole area is undeniably laid back, rustic and charming. There also seemed to be a casual “Western” vibe going on here, without being cliche or over the top. Whether you’re doing a getaway from San Francisco, or traveling the coast, Carmel is a central coast “must see.”

Venue Suggestions

 Restaurants – Carmel, CA

La Bicyclette – French bistro (downtown Carmel)

Vino Napoli – wine bar and small eats (downtown Carmel)

Wine Tasting & Restaurants – Carmel Valley Village

Talbot Winery

Cowgirl Winery

Georis Winery

Cafe Rustica


If you took Mardi Gras and combined it with New York’s Times Square on New Year’s Eve and then multiplied...
September 30, 2016 Renzo Piano’s magnificent “all-glass see-through” California Academy of Sciences ([http://www.calacademy.org) in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park (across...
    Some of the best times to be had in Napa and Sonoma are during the winter months of...
Search CultureVulture