Carmel-by-the-Sea is pedestrian-friendly and features a compact downtown core. But this seaside hamlet holds fascinating stories, secrets, and sights that are best accessed with a little help. From tours to transportation and simply a shift in your thinking, here are four unexpected ways to explore Carmel-by-the-Sea:
Take an Art Tour
Carmel’s one-square-mile central business district has about 70 art galleries featuring celebrated artists from around the world. If you’re interested in art but not sure where to start, try an art walk with Carmel Art Tours. On a 90-minute walking tour, you’ll get a curated look at five or six of the best exhibits and artists in town each day. You can also get personalized recommendations for where else to visit after your tour.
Explore Local History
From Comstock cottages to lace lichen, you’ll get an in-depth look at all that makes Carmel-by-the-Sea unique on the Carmel Walk from Gael Gallagher’s Monterey Tours. Gallagher leads small groups through the hidden corners of Carmel, weaving in both fascinating local history and practical tips. You’ll finish the two-hour walking tour inspired to continue your explorations, because, as Gallagher says, “Never go out the way you came in, and don’t worry about getting lost. If you end up too far west, you’ll just be in Hawaii.”
Rent an Electric Bike
Carmel-by-the-Sea is perched on a steep hill above the ocean. This means that, while the town’s compact layout seems like it’s perfect for exploration by bike, unless you’ve got calves the size of fire extinguishers, a casual spin down to the beach and back will not be as easy as it seems. Unless … you’re on an electric bike. In which case, you will return refreshed, inspired, and surprisingly confident in your “ability” as a cyclist. Choose from among a wide selection of electric bikes available to rent at Mad Dogs & Englishmen in downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Really Experience Nature
Monterey Bay Meditation Studio offers visitors the chance to spend a totally present hour experiencing the beauty of Carmel. From April through September, the studio offers Qigong and guided meditation on the beach. From March through September there’s also a monthly nature meditation session at Palo Corona Regional Park. Even if you’ve never participated in a similar activity before, it’s a great way to take a break from sightseeing and spend a little time just truly being in Carmel.
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Christine Sarkis visited Carmel-by-the-Sea as a guest of Visit Carmel. Follow her on Twitter @ChristineSarkis and Instagram @postcartography for more advice about making every vacation the best vacation.