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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


Best Lodging Options Near Carmel Beach

See all 557 properties near Carmel Beach
La Playa Carmel CA $340
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.

    Normandy Inn CA $194
    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).

      Carmel Mission Inn CA $217
      Carmel Mission Inn

      Carmel Mission Inn

      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).

        Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea CA $278
        Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

        Colonial Terrace Inn by the Sea

        13th and San Antonio, Carmel, CA
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

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

          Carmel Bay View Inn CA $218
          Carmel Bay View Inn

          Carmel Bay View Inn

          Junipero Street Between 5th And 6th St, Carmel, CA
             
            2.5 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).

            Pine Inn CA $269
            Pine Inn

            Pine Inn

            Ocean Ave At Monte Verde, Carmel, CA
               
              3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Golden Rectangle, 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).

              Hotel Carmel CA $230
              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).

                Monte Verde Inn CA $215
                Monte Verde Inn

                Monte Verde Inn

                Monte Verde Street, Between Ocean and 7th Avenues, Carmel, CA
                   
                  3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Golden Rectangle, this bed & breakfast 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).