Carmel-by-the-Sea, more commonly known as simply Carmel, is one of the most famous and beautiful spots in Monterey County. It's on the Pacific Coast Highway about 120 miles south of San Francisco,
5 miles south of Monterey and a 330-mile drive north
from Los Angeles.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is very much an artistic community, going way back before famous resident Clint Eastwood really put it on the world map when he became the local mayor from 1986-88. Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson was one early visitor who lived in Carmel for a while, as did the acclaimed landscape photographer Ansel Adams. More recent celebrity residents have included actors Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, and crime writer James Ellroy. It's a very popular tourist spot, a little like a California version of Aspen in Colorado.
One thing Carmel-by-the-Sea is famous for is that its buildings carry no street numbers. That goes way back, when residents decided they didn't want such modern creations as house numbers and street lights. And they've resisted them ever since. If you're trying to find a restaurant or one of the many fine inns that you can stay at in Carmel, you'll need to know the cross streets. If you're thinking of living there you'll have to collect your mail from the post office like everyone else.
There isn't actually a great deal to do in Carmel, as it has remained largely a village whose residents find it charming enough as it is. You won't find museums to visit – galleries, yes, for artists are still attracted to the place. There are fine, white sand beaches, a mission, some historic houses, and... well, that's about it. Fine dining as well, and some luxurious accommodation – but there are budget choices too, comparatively speaking, if you want to stay and get the night-time atmosphere rather than just pass through.
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Road maps of the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH are essential for anyone planning to drive the trip, and detailed routes are available for free download via these links to the Mile by Mile website.
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To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.