Why Carmel By the Sea is Where You Want to Be

In a coastal state not so far away lies a charming little town called Carmel By the Sea. Not to be confused with Carmel, California, Carmel By the Sea is one square mile of quirky charm hidden from mainstream tourist. While staying at the Hofsas House Hotel for a weekend I was able to explore everything this little town had to offer and it was more than I ever imagined.

5th Avenue Deli

We started off our day rather hungry so we decided to check out the 5th Avenue Deli for lunch. Its a tiny little deli with lots of options from sandwiches to tacos. Even though we love tacos, we opted for sandwiches since it was a deli after all.Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel-by-the-Sea Beach front

We figured the best place to enjoy our sandwiches would be on the beach under a tree with some nice shade. I was surprised at how warm it got once we hit the sand though. The beach was fairly crowded but still a pretty view. Although our sandwiches weren’t anything to write home about, they were still pretty good and perfect for the weather.

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Cottage of Sweets

Before even getting to Carmel By the Sea, I had already read up on a cute little shop called Cottage of Sweets. Its literally a TINY cottage full of old fashioned candy that fell in my mouth. I couldn’t help myself so I had to purchase licorice, gummies, fudge, etc. I know, I know, that’s it?

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Thinker Toys

If your kids are starting to get bored then swing by Thinker Toys to grab some entertainment. They offered lots of different options from car games to books to stuffed animals. My boys loved exploring everything in the store. We even found a Curious George items for Baby M but ended up passing. The prices are slightly high but that’s to be expected at boutique style toy shop.

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Carmel By the SeaPIN IT!

Wine Tours

Carmel By the Sea offers an awesome little wine tour pass where you can purchase a bulk set for wine tastings at all the tasting rooms. Since we had kiddos with us we opted to try out only two, Schied Vineyards and De Tierra Vineyards. I will go ahead and say that De Tierra had a total pub type vibe and wasn’t very kid friendly due to the pub style seating. We liked the wines but nothing really caught out taste buds.

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

carmel by the seaPIN IT!Schied Vineyards on the other hand is a totally different story. They were very welcoming and cheery and offered us samples right away. Not only did we fall in love with 3 different wines, we even purchased 2 bottles. Their Merlot had a peppery taste that my husband and I both enjoyed but the real winner was their XX. We fell head over heels for this bottle. If you ever have a chance to sample it, you absolutely have to!

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

The nice lady who was leading our wine tasting was so sweet and kept going on and on about how cute our little family was and insisted on taking our picture. She was the best!

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

The Cheese Shop

What goes better with wine than cheese? The amazing cheeses that were gifted to us from the Hofsas House were from The Cheese Shop. The cheese was so good that we had to go to the shop itself to try more. This was probably the best decision we made for the whole trip. I am a cheese lover and the amount of cheese they offered and relentlessly kept sampling was a dream. I also learned that I really don’t like cheese made with sheep’s milk. The bitter sour taste is just not for me. Instead we opted for 1 or 5 chunks of cheese to purchases to snack on. Yes, it was all that good.

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

carmel by the seaPIN IT!

Dog Friendly

Carmel By the Sea is probably the most dog friendly place I’ve ever visited in my life. There was not one store or location that didn’t allow dogs in. The Hofsas House, where we stayed, allowed dogs as well as many other lodging options. If your dog is your fur baby then you two will love a vacation here!

As you can see, Carmel By the Sea is full of things to do and see. Its enjoyable for all ages from dog filled beaches to quiet dining, its where you want to be for a vacation full of relaxation and exploration.

  • Terri Beavers

    Everything looks fun and amazing but I have to say that I’d spend a fortune on the cheese, lol. I’ll have to add Carmel by the Sea to my bucket list. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your photos.

  • Paula Schuck

    Oh wow. This is the sweetest place I’ve ever seen. I would love to spend a solid week there with my family. I think we would have a GREAT time.

  • Gwendolyn Mulholland

    This looks like an amazing trip and something we would enjoy. I love all the yummy sweets and treats. I will be adding this to my dream travel list.

  • April Mims

    This looks like an amazing place to visit. I would love the chocolate shop, cheese shop and wine tours….that’s the perfect vacation.

  • Kathy

    Everything looks amazing! I would love to go there sometime. I’ll certainly check it out if I’m ever in the area. All those shops look great!

  • Rebecca Swenor

    Carmel by the Sea looks like an amazing place to visit. There is so much to see and I love that the stores are even dog friendly which you don’t really see at all. The kids are so adorable and so is your little family. Thanks for sharing this amazing place and your awesome experiences.

  • Ann Bacciaglia

    I would love to spend a week down in Carmel By the Sea. It looks like there is a ton of fun things to do for the whole family.

  • HilLesha

    I have never been to California before, but I’d love to visit someday! I’d love to visit this place if I ever visit. 🙂

  • Amber Killmon

    This sounds like a great vacation destination! I love that the stores all let dogs inside.

  • Heather

    Hey there. So glad you loved our little village of Carmel by-the-Sea. We have lived here for 8 years, just a couple of blocks from Ocean Avenue. By the way, there’s a new candy store in town called All About Chocolate – they have terrific homemade fudge. It’s hard to decide whether to go there or Cottage of Sweets! And with more than 200 kinds of cheese at the Cheese Shop – I find myself stopping there nearly every week, especially for their Saint Agur, which is a wonderful, creamy blue cheese.

    Thanks for posting your kind comments about our little slice of heaven.. And feel free to visit our website that we started a few years ago called ILoveCarmelCalifornia.com. You can stay up on the latest in Carmel by signing up for our newsletter. We also publish a weekly newspaper called I Love Carmel California Weekly, which will give you current news and photos of the area. We love living here and sharing with friends around the world.

    • Jess

      Oh nice! I’ll have to check out the newsletter and the new candy store next time we are there. We enjoyed it so much that we plan on visiting more often!

  • Ashleigh Walls

    Looks like a wonderful little place to be! So many delicious shops and a great view.

  • Lori Felix

    My husband and I took a weekend getaway to Carmel by the Sea earlier this summer. It was a great time and I can’t wait to go back next year.

  • Dudhwa National Park

    Everything looks fun and amazing..Oh stunning. This is the sweetest spot I’ve ever seen. I would love to spend a long week there with my family.