A Weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Advisor - Fora
Curated By


  • Food & Wine

  • Arts & Culture

  • California

  • Carmel-by-the-Sea

  • Outdoors

  • Local Food

  • Coastal

  • Relaxation

  • Hidden Gems

Rock formation and sea near Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Fora’s Take

Spend a weekend wine tasting, boutique-browsing and exploring charming Carmel-by-the-Sea, just 2 hours south of San Francisco. You’ll easily be able to explore Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley and Monterey in just three days — perfect for a long weekend.

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Day 1: Explore Carmel-by-the-Sea

Rays of sunshine coming through the clouds near Carmel-by-the-sea.

Depart San Francisco in the morning, driving about 2 hours down the coast to picturesque Carmel-by-the-Sea. Grab a salad and a pizza to-go from La Bicyclette, and eat lunch on the beach at the iconic Carmel Beach. (Tip: If you can’t find parking at Carmel Beach, check out Carmel River State Beach down the road instead).

After lunch, walk along the sand and admire Pebble Beach from below. If you can’t yet check into your hotel, do a bit of shipping on Ocean Ave, making sure to stop in to the art galleries and Carmel Bay Company. Check in to your hotel and relax before grabbing a pre-dinner drink at the Vesuvio Rooftop. Grab dinner at Dametra, where you’ll be entertained by musicians who are quite likely get you up out of your chair dancing in the middle of your meal.

Day 2: Wine Tasting in Carmel Valley

A green vineyard.

Eat a light breakfast at the hotel, then head 20 minutes inland to Carmel Valley for a day of exploring and wine tasting. Grab brunch at Corkscrew Cafe, then sip on wine in the nearby courtyard tasting rooms: Joyce Wine Company, Parsonage and Windy Oaks are all lovely and just next door to one another. After you’ve checked out these side-by-side tasting rooms, drive (or Uber!) to Folktale Winery for a tasting. You might be lucky enough to catch some live music too.

Make your way back to Carmel-by-the-Sea after you’ve had your fill of yummy wine, and relax at your hotel until an hour before sunset. Dress warmly, and drive to the Inn at Spanish Bay for a gorgeous sunset experience. Sit by the fire pits with another glass of wine (if you’re not sleepy yet!) and watch the bagpiper play and walk the famous golf course at sunset. For dinner, grab a burger or fill up on light bites at the fire pits, or head back to Carmel-by-the-Sea for a dinner reservation.

Day 3: Brunch & Depart

Waterfront with rocks and shrubs.

Wake up and eat brunch at Stationaery (Tip: make a reservation so you don’t need to wait too long.) Grab a latte and one of their amazing breakfast options, and take one final stroll along Ocean Ave for souvenirs. After breakfast, check out of the hotel and head north back to San Francisco.

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The Modern Travel Agency


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Looking for more California weekend travel inspo? Check out our guide: 3 Days in Big Sur, California.

This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to California.