Where do I begin? At the end of January 2017 I fell in love…with Carmel California and a certain someone. I went on a 4-day trip to Monterey Bay, Carmel and Big Sur California and never wanted to leave. Leading up to this trip California had record rainfall. The forecast called for storms, but upon arrival we were greeted with sunshine and blue skies! We were sooooo lucky.
The trip was a complete sensory overload. Everything was beautiful. I mean everything. From the whales in Monterey Bay to the cliffs at Pebble Beach to the sunsets at Carmel by the Sea to the wild woods of Big Sur. The California coast line is magical. There is so much to see and do in this region you won’t be disappointed. Below is just a snapshot.
17-Mile Drive is a must. There are two entrances you can start from depending on what direction you’re going. You will need to buy a pass to go on this drive through the neighborhoods of Pebble Beach. You can stop at the Pebble Beach golf course club house and pull over to snap shots of the amazing scenery like the iconic Lone Cypress.
Hotel Carmel is a great boutique hotel in the town of Carmel by the Sea. It’s quant and cute. The contemporary remodel makes it an insta-worthy place to stay. Their free daily breakfast is amazing. Fresh bagels and local cream cheese, juices, granola and coffee will fill you up before you head out for a hike. The fireplace area and hot tub is ideal for the end of the day relaxation. You can easily walk to restaurants or the beach from the hotel.
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve will blow your mind with beauty. Originally we went to hikes in Big Sur, but because of all the rain many of the trails were closed. Instead we found ourselves here and went on a leisure hike. What’s great is you can feel like you’re in the woods one moment and the next you’re on the cliffs watching whales spouting in the ocean.
Highlands Inn is an iconic hotel. My parents went here for their college formal over 50 years ago. They’ve recently undergone a remodel, but the vibe and views remain the same. The restaurant for lunch or dinner delivers a great view and food. You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy this wonderful spot along the coast.
Bernard Lodge was a random recommendation from people we met at the hot tub the night before. After our whale watching and a bit of sea sickness we needed to chill so we went to this boho vibe hotel. We played putt putt and bocce ball with craft cocktails in hand. The Carmel Valley has it’s own thing going on with rolling hills, idyllic horse stables and vineyards.
Bixby Bridge. I mean c’mon. If you’ve watched Big Little Lies you probably recognize this bridge. It’s iconic and truly remarkable. You an access it by driving across it, duh. Or stopping and enjoying the ocean view or valley view. We got up early and hit the road to capture that morning sun and with the unreal weather, it did not disappoint.
Rocky Point Restaurant After our day of hiking and adventuring we pulled into this spot unsure of what to expect. What we got was a patio view with the best calamari salad I’ve ever had and cold drinks to match. We sat in the sun counting our blessing and the whales in the distance. We loved this spot so much we stayed through sunset climbing over the boulders and toasting our amazing day with wine.
Big Sur Bakery was on our list of must-stops. Unfortunately, it was as far as we could go into Big Sur due to closed roads. It’s a delightful little spot for coffee and breakfast, but currently closed as they rebuild the bridge and roads.
Water and leaves is such a cute spot at the Monterrey Bay Wharf. We grabbed a quick latte and tea before our whale watching.
Whale Watching is an experience! Yes, we did see whales and dolphins! Yes, we saw people puke. Yes, we were freezing. Yes, it was bumpy. Yes, I’d do it again, but only when the waters are smoother and during warmer months.
Carmel you have my heart.