If you follow along on Instagram, you may have seen our quick getaway to Carmel! It’s been one of my favorite places to visit since I was a kid (we’ve always made a trip around the holidays) and, this year, we got to spend a weekend there for a family wedding. And it was wonderful. :)
Carmel is definitely a place that sparks a lot of nostalgia for me. We tend to go to the same spots with every trip but I wanted to share some of our favorites plus a few things to do in Carmel in case you’re planning your own visit.
Where We Stayed
Since we have dogs, we now (of course) exclusively stay somewhere that allows them. Carmel is incredibly dog-friendly, so it’s fun to bring them and it’s not difficult to find places they’re allowed. We ended up at Carmel Garden Inn, which is a great location just at the edge (and up a few blocks) from Ocean Avenue.
It’s an adorable bed & breakfast with quintessential, quaint Carmel charm—cottage vibes, fireplaces and florals. If you can snag a room with a patio, I would highly recommend it!
Obviously, you still can’t leave your dog unattended in your room. On a normal trip, we’d take them everywhere with us (restaurants included) but since we were in Carmel for a wedding, we ended up using Rover for a pet sitter, which I highly recommend!
Ever since I was little, we’ve been going to Pâtisserie Boissiere as the first stop upon our Carmel arrival. My parents always ordered the French Onion Soup (add sherry) and it’s only been in my recent adult years that I’ve finally enjoyed (and craved!) it myself!
An adorable setting for French country food, this is the perfect place to stop for brunch, lunch or a quick pastry bite. They do also serve dinner, though we’ve never been! For a light lunch, we split a seafood sandwich on a croissant and (bien sûr/of course) added the French Onion Soup.
Bonus: they’re dog-friendly! They’ll pop you into a perfect little section at the back.
There’s nothing quite like Carmel’s charm. A walk from the Inn to downtown will greet you with plenty of flower stops and photo ops. In the mornings, walk downtown to grab your morning cup at one of many coffee stops. We picked up coffees + breakfast sandwiches at Cafe Carmel and walked across the street to Carmel Plaza to enjoy it outside on the patio with the dogs. There are plenty of tables + a plethora of opportunities to window shop!
Carmel Plaza gives me so much nostalgia because it’s where we used to see Santa (the real one 😂) around Christmas time. If you’re able, Carmel during the holidays is a must!
The actual wedding was at a beautiful and historic church followed by reception atop Il Fornaio restaurant. This was the perfect location to catch a beach + sunset view. Absolutely stunning and easy to grab a drink there if you’re looking for a quick stop. It’s connected to Pine Inn which is another great option to stay downtown.
It was a bit of a whirlwind weekend with all the wedding events and family gatherings but a trip to Carmel Beach was a non-negotiable. It’s dog-friendly (they can be off-leash!) and the dogs LOVE it. Weather in Carmel is pretty mild (it definitely gets cold) but when the sun is out and you’ve just walked from one end of Ocean Avenue to the beach, you’ll be plenty warmed up. With that being said, I just generally always bring a layer any time of year—though we do always tend to go from Oct-Dec. I packed my essentials: jeans + cashmere tee + comfy layer.
On our last morning, we had breakfast at the Inn (veggie frittata, hard-boiled eggs and pastries) and then grabbed a quick smoothie before heading back home. We tried Carmel Belle and their smoothie selection was wonderful.
Recap + More To Do:
• We stayed at Carmel Garden Inn & it’s adorable. I recommend trying to get a room with a patio if you can.
• Carmel is very dog-friendly but we used Rover for a pet sitter during the wedding events and had an amazing experience!
• Have lunch at Patisserie Boissiere. Get the French Onion Soup. Also dog-friendly!
• Window shop at Carmel Plaza. Beautiful around the holidays!
• A lot of the places we eat have a nostalgia factor for me but we love: Little Napoli for dinner, Grasings Restaurant has a pet-friendly patio for dinner, The Tuck Box is cute/quaint for breakfast
• Cottage of Sweets for after-dinner chocolates 😋
• Pop into all the cute shops on Ocean Avenue
Check out the Cypress Inn and Carmel Mission
As always, thank you so much for reading, and if you have a Carmel-by-the-sea trip planned—enjoy!!