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Carmel-By-The-Sea in 24 Hours

Don't just drive through—stay for the day. I'm telling you now, there's no city in the U.S. like this one. Where the smell of a fresh waffle cone is paired with the entrance to a hidden wine bar, where the architecture marries European-style cobblestone to fairytale rooftops, where arcades are lined with old coffee shops and new art galleries alike—that's Carmel.

Less than a two hour drive from San Francisco, Carmel has a never-ending list of reasons it should be at the top of your travel bucket list, so without further ado, here's my Carmel-By-The-Sea, California travel guide.

Best places to eat in Carmel-By-The-Sea


  • Tuck Box—Both inside and out, Tuck Box looks like it came straight out of Beauty & Beast. We went for breakfast one morning, and it did not disappoint (it helped that our dishes were supplemented with cutest teapots imaginable). They also have an afternoon tea menu that I'm sure it's also worth stopping by for!


  • La Bicyclette Restaurant—I'm sure La Bicyclette is a winner for dinner too, but man was that pizza the perfect mid-day pick-me-up. Plus, they seemed to have a carefully curated wine list that I'm sure wouldn't have disappointed most.


  • L'Escargot—If you enjoy French food, L'Escargot is a must, but fair warning, reservations are likely needed. We had all the French classics—French onion soup, escargot and steak frites—and wow, was my mouth watering the whole night.

Best places to drink in Carmel-By-The-Sea

  • Portabella—Portabella is also a restaurant located on one of the main roads in Carmel, but I found it to be a truly remarkable place to enjoy a glass of wine on the front patio at sunset and people-watch.

  • Galante Vineyards Tasting Room—Hidden behind lush greenery and a narrow path, Galante is a wine tasting room you won't want to miss. Known for their bold red wines, this tasting room serves wines unlike most others in the region.

Best places to stay in Carmel-By-The-Sea

  • Candle Light Inn—Located right in the middle of town—and walking distance to basically everything—the Candle Light Inn made for the perfect accommodation in Carmel. I booked our 1-night stay on Paisly by JetBlue and not only got a discounted rate for being a TrueBlue member but also earned TrueBlue points. It was only $188 for the night (including taxes and fees).

Have you been to Carmel-By-The-Sea before? Comment your favorites below!

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Hi, I'm Anna!

Whether I'm flying confirmed or standby, I've always had this affinity (and knack) for packing in as much as possible in 24, 48 and 72-hour trips. And that's exactly what this blog is full of—quick trip travel guides!

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