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Carmel Beach

Spot birds or catch waves, then spread out a picnic by a campfire and enjoy the views at this picturesque beach.

Carmel Beach is a long stretch of soft, white sand in Carmel, a picture-perfect town just 15 minutes’ drive south from Monterey. Steady swells make this a popular destination with surfers, swimmers and kayakers. Rent a kayak and paddle out across the kelp beds. Bring a wetsuit, as the water is often cold except in the heat of summer. 

Pack some binoculars as this is a great place to spot Monterey County’s diverse birdlife. Native birds such as herons, hawks and finches circle the beach and often perch in the trees near Scenic Road. Download a bird list from the California State Parks website. 

The town’s easy-going attitude toward dogs makes the beach perfect for strolling with man’s best friend. Dogs are allowed to run off-leash in some areas. 

Sit by the water or in the dunes under one of the many windswept cypress trees. Bring a picnic blanket, some local cheese, a bottle of wine, and watch the sun set over the ocean. Alcohol is permitted, and small fires are allowed on the beach before 10 p.m. 

Carmel Beach shares the coastline with some illustrious neighbors. Just to the north, and clearly visible from the beach, are the greens of the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Course and Resort. To the South, harmoniously tucked into the rocky outcrop at the end of the beach, is the Frank Lloyd Wright–designed Walker Residence. 

Extremely popular with families on the weekends, Carmel Beach is quietest on weekdays. There’s a parking lot on Ocean Avenue and some free street parking on Scenic Road. There are no showers or bathrooms on the beach, but you’ll find amenities nearby at the Ocean Avenue parking lot. Once the midday sun gets too hot, follow Ocean Avenue for cafés, bars, restaurants and people-watching.


Guide to Exploring around Carmel Beach


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Carmel Beach

See all 545 properties near Carmel Beach
Normandy Inn CA $163
Normandy Inn

Normandy Inn

Ocean Ave., btwn Monte Verde St. & Casanova St., Carmel, CA
     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in Northwest Carmel, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Galante Vineyards, Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive. Pebble Beach Golf Links and Carmel Mission Basilica are also within 3 miles (5 km).

    La Playa Carmel CA $383
    La Playa Carmel

    La Playa Carmel

    Camino Real at Eighth Ave., Carmel, CA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Golden Rectangle, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Golden Bough Playhouse, Sunset Center and Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room. Galante Vineyards and Blair Estate Tasting Room are also within 10 minutes.

      Hotel Carmel CA $308
      Hotel Carmel

      Hotel Carmel

      Corner of 4th & San Carlos Street, Carmel, CA
         
        3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Northwest Carmel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Plaza and Carmel Beach. 17-Mile Drive and Carmel Mission Basilica are also within 1 mile (2 km).

        Carmel Wayfarer Inn CA $91
        Carmel Wayfarer Inn

        Carmel Wayfarer Inn

        4th Ave And Mission Ave, Carmel, CA
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Northwest Carmel, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Plaza and Carmel Beach. 17-Mile Drive and Carmel Mission Basilica are also within 1 mile (2 km).

          The Hideaway CA $197
          The Hideaway

          The Hideaway

          Junipero St & 8th Ave, Carmel, CA
             
            3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Golden Rectangle, this bed & breakfast is within a 15-minute walk of Wrath Winery, Carmel Beach and Carmel Mission Basilica. 17-Mile Drive and Pebble Beach Golf Links are also within 3 miles (5 km).

            Carmel Resort Inn CA $95
            Carmel Resort Inn

            Carmel Resort Inn

            Carpenter Street and Second Ave, Carmel, CA
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Northeast Carmel, this motel is within 1 mile (2 km) of Cherry Center for the Arts, 17-Mile Drive and Carmel Beach. Carmel Mission Basilica is 1.5 mi (2.4 km) away.

              Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café CA $129
              Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café

              Carmel Mission Inn & Fuse Lounge Café

              3665 Rio Rd, Carmel, CA
                 
                3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of The Barnyard and Carmel Mission Basilica. Carmel Beach and 17-Mile Drive are also within 3 miles (5 km).

                Comfort Inn Carmel By The Sea CA $124
                Comfort Inn Carmel By The Sea

                Comfort Inn Carmel By The Sea

                Ocean Ave & Torres St, Carmel, CA
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Northeast Carmel, this motel is within a 15-minute walk of Carmel Plaza and Carmel Beach. 17-Mile Drive and Carmel Mission Basilica are also within 1 mile (2 km).