Travel Guide: Carmel Valley Things To Do
In California’s Central Coast
A spectacular range of mountains presides over a rich valley that kisses the sea – home to many of California’s hidden gems. In summer, enjoy the warm weather, rich wildlife, wine tastings, outdoor events, and bounty of fresh produce that pops up in farmer’s markets across the area.
What To See and Do
From outdoor enthusiasts to lazy weekend retreats Carmel Valley, California has something for everyone. The wine trolley is my personal favorite. Anytime someone comes to visit I take them on this fun tour of small family-owned wineries across the valley all from the comfort and unique experience of a retired trolley car! (tours range from $129-$250 per person) Next up, spend the afternoon hiking Garland Ranch Regional Park. The views are stunning, the wildlife is plentiful but beware some of the trails are steep. Snively’s Ridge Trail is my favorite for the sweeping views and workout! Head to Mad Dogs and Englishmen Bike Shop to rent a bike. They even do guide tours! I recommend and Ebike. Those valley roads are tough!!!
The best part of CV is how close it is to EVERYTHING across the peninsula. Pop over to the beaches of Monterey or Carmel-by-the-Sea, take a historic tour of the Mission or pop into Salinas for a browse around the Steinbeck Museum.
Where To Eat
For a quick bite pop over to Valley Hills Deli. Looking for something posh Aubergine or Bernardus are at the top of my list. Both need reservations well in advance. Cafe Rustica is a local favorite for its yummy pizza. Get the gallete and sit on the patio. On Sunday, browse the Carmel Valley farmers market located in Mid Valley for some local treats. I LOVE the bread from Ad Astra. Super casual is Crossroads BBQ at the mouth of the valley.
Where To Stay
Bernardus is stunning. With deep views across the valley, you won’t want or need to leave. A full pool, adults-only hot tub, award-winning restaurant, welcome wine and cheese, the best spa on the peninsula, and stunning gardens to stroll through each night what more can you need. See my full review here and their spa here. *Pet friendly. *kid-friendly–though I prefer to stay here without Olivia since there isn’t a ton for her to do.
Carmel Valley Ranch is fun if you want a more active adventure. They offer golf, are close to many hiking spots, and have a fun weekend pool scene.
Where to Shop
Pop over to Carmel-by-the-Sea for a fun day of art, luxury, and unique shopping. I frequent the Carmel Plaza– the best stores there are House of Cardoon for amazing home finds, Sugar Farms Market Place for local goods, Roller Rabbit for luxe resort wear. GBG or Paloosh are local spots along with Maddogs English At the mouth of the Valley, you’ll find the Barnyard and Crossroads shopping areas. Barnyard has great places to eat and Crossroads has some good gifts and unique home finds. Zearly’s is a favorite of Olivia’s! Spencers Stationary and The Lanai are stores I always stop into while I’m there.
Where to Spa
Hands down Bernardus. If you want a good therapist and amazing treatment it is all about Bernardus for me. Their facilities aren’t as stunning or elaborate as Casa Palmero but the treatments will win you over! If available grab the Vichy Hammam treatment. Just want to chill then Pebble Beach. You get access to their facilities ALL DAY with just one treatment. Grab a full body scrub and then indulge in the sanctuary that is Casa Palmero.
What To Pack
Outfit Ideas for Carmel Valley in the Summer
Weather can change quickly near the coast and Carmel Valley is known for getting warm in the day flirting with triple digits in the Summer but then cool off quickly as the sun drops below the mountains and the fog starts to roll in. Layer up and pack lightly on the makeup. CV has a casual and natural vibe. Perfect for trying out a skinimalism routine.
Which of these Carmel Valley things to do are you most interested in? Let me know in a comment below!