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Looking for ideas of things to do in Carmel on a weekend getaway? Jared and I recently visited (just the two of us) and had the best itinerary thanks to some great tips from our partners at Hofsas House Hotel. We wanted a trip that had a little active adventure, lots of relaxing, good food, and gorgeous sites. We found it all and more, and can’t wait to come back to Carmel.
Where to Stay in Carmel
I had never been to Carmel but had visited the area a couple of times. We drove right by on an RV trip but never into the actual town. Many friends and family recommended it so we had to check it out for ourselves. The main part of the town itself is about a square mile so it’s the perfect destination to stroll around. You should definitely stay right in town so Hofsas House was perfect. It is a short walk from everything we could want, including the beach!
Hofsas House is a sweet family-owned inn. It has a great history in the city that was given to us on a paper that we were able to read along with a map of the city when we checked in. The hotel has amazing hospitality that we felt as soon as we arrived.
Each room is decorated differently and makes you feel like you’re staying in a guest room at your family’s house. Each morning they offer a continental breakfast that you can enjoy in the lobby, on the balcony, or up in your room while you get ready for the day.
I was surprised to learn that Hofsas House is one of the few hotels in the area that has a pool (and it’s heated too)! They also have dry saunas, and are dog-friendly! The real benefit comes with their knowledge of the area. No matter what type of weekend you’re looking for, the staff at Hofsas House will be able to give you lots of great ideas and even help you with the perfect itinerary so you can fit in everything you want to do.
Things to Do in Carmel
While I probably could never list out every single thing to do in Carmel, here is a list of all the things we did, were interested in doing, or added to our list for next time!
- Carmel Beach
- Shopping in any one of the many great boutiques
- Drive or bike the 17 Mile Drive
- Visit Pebble Beach or any of the number of golf courses in the area
- Wine Tasting (in any one of the many tasting rooms)
- Visit the historic Carmel Mission
- Admire Art
- Drive to Big Sur or any one of the State Parks
- Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Walk around the city and enjoy the cottages (that have names not address numbers) or the stunning scenery
- Enjoy time with the ones you’re traveling with
The last one is my favorite! Carmel is truly a place to go to unplug and just enjoy each other no matter what you decide to do in our around the city.
1-Day Itinerary Idea for a Couple’s Trip to Carmel
We had one especially great day in Carmel so I thought I’d share what we did to get a taste of Carmel AND the incredible surrounding scenery all in ONE day.
- Grab breakfast and enjoy the morning at Hofsas House Hotel. Take a morning dip in the pool or trip to the sauna.
- Start walking and popping into shops around town. When you start to get hungry for lunch, walk to the 5th Ave Deli and get a picnic lunch. They have something for everyone including fantastic gluten-free sandwiches (for me)! This was the best deli sandwich I’ve had in quite a while.
- Take your lunch down to the beach and enjoy it there while watching for dolphins or just enjoying the gorgeous scenery. You can see Pebble Beach from here as well!
- Walk back up through the cottages and notice the names. There are some fun ones!
- Take a stroll through the town and do some shopping.
- Stop in a tasting room (or 2 or 3). We went to Scheid Vineyards and had a wonderful tasting, meeting others who were vacationing, and tasting some of their great (and great priced) wines. We loved their Pinot Noir (what the area is known for) but also found a new favorite white – the Scheid Vineyards Albariño.
- Definitely check out The Cheese Shop in Carmel Plaza. Amazing cheese selection!
- Later in the afternoon head back to Hofsas House to freshen up. Hop in the car & start the 17-mile drive (it costs $10.50 for vehicles). You enter right from Carmel!
- Stop at Pebble Beach and take some touristy photos (and shop for jealous family members).
- Drive and stop at any number of the gorgeous lookouts and points of interest.
- Head to Spanish Bay as it gets closer to sunset. Go out to the patio (through the lobby) and grab a drink from the bar. Enjoy the incredible views and wait. Around 5:45 pm (or 1/2 hour before sunset) the Spanish Bay Bagpiper will make his rounds around the course ending by the fire pits.
- After the Bagpiper head up to Monterey for dinner at Beach House at Lovers Point. They have great food, a stunning view, and if you went wine tasting earlier in the day you may just see some familiar wines on the menu!
- Head back to Hofsas House, open the cute pink dutch door and let that ocean breeze spill in as you talk about the amazing day you had.