Blog courtesy of Malone Hodges at Carmel Realty Company
Nothing rejuvenates the body and mind like a good walk. As our most natural form of exercise, walking keeps our bodies fit, our minds clear, and our presence focused. It’s no coincidence that “taking a walk” is often advised as an antidote to stress, aggravation, fatigue – and simply for enjoyment! Hippocrates, the father of modern western medicine, summed it up when he said that “walking is man’s best medicine.”
Beautiful Carmel-by-the-Sea is a proud “Walker’s Paradise,” boasting a Walk Score of 91. Encompassing only one square mile, this picturesque seaside town perched atop California’s Monterey Peninsula is bordered by the renowned Pebble Beach, Highway 1, the Carmel River, and the stunning Pacific Ocean. Aside from its aesthetic beauty, Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for offering residents and visitors the best of both worlds: the charm of a quaint European-style village just a short drive to the bright lights of metropolitan San Francisco.
So what are the top ways to take advantage of this pedestrian’s paradise?
Hit up a local coffee shop - EARLY.
Who could argue that the best start to any day involves hot java and a walk along the beach? Carmel-by-the-Sea offers both, but the secret is to begin before most people start hitting their snooze buttons. The early bird’s reward? A first-brewed batch of joe, a freshly baked scone, and the delicious experience of a quiet stroll to an unspoiled coastline. After a few early trips to the same coffee shop, you will realize that you’ve made friends with locals who have the same idea – and who have been walking together for years. A community favorite is the Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company, open at 6am daily.
Channel your inner Harry Potter to explore secret passageways.
The celebrated fairytale cottages of Carmel-by-the-Sea can be traced back to the first 300-square foot cottage built by Hugh Comstock in 1924 to house his wife’s doll collection. This sparked a trend of storybook style cottages and courtyards throughout the village. Today, you can quite literally get off the beaten path to stroll the hidden passageways and charming courtyards that connect parallel streets. With 42 passageways and courtyards in total, an afternoon can easily be spent exploring all the hidden nooks and crannies of Carmel-by-the-Sea – along with their adjacent galleries, shops, and eateries. More information and a walking tour can be found here.
Brush up on your history – by foot.
Not to be mistaken for merely a physical beauty, the area now known as Carmel-by-the-Sea is rich in history dating back to the time of the Ohlone Native Americans before 1600. More recently, in 1902, James Devendorf and Frank Powers planted 100 pine trees and filed a subdivision map to create the city that is known and loved today. A historic walking tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea guides pedestrians to various notable sites, helping to deepen the understanding and appreciation of the town’s past.
Give your Uber driver the evening off.
Carmel-by-the-Sea has an outstanding selection of local (read: non-chain) eateries within its city borders. The best part? They’re all within walking distance. Whether you’re craving homemade pasta and wine from an authentic Italian trattoria (La Balena Cucina Toscana is a local favorite), or fresh mussels and champagne from a French bistro (Andre’s Bouchee is a must-visit), there are mouthwatering options to satisfy any palate. But remember to bring a flashlight! With no streetlights, neon signs, nor sidewalks outside of the commercial areas, you’ll need it to light your way home.
So, pedestrians rejoice! Carmel-by-the-Sea offers big history, culture, and entertainment in a small package. Park the car, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to discover the sights right under foot. See for yourself why Carmel-by-the-Sea consistently tops best city and travel destination lists year after year.
Interested in learning more? Contact us so we can share more about the city we love – and we know you will too.