We have a family home in Carmel and spend as much of the summer as possible this tiny heaven. I would rent a house online (but avoid car week in August) or stay at La Playa Carmel. They have beautiful grounds with a pool. However, I’m not familiar with the rooms. The iconic Cypress Inn is right in the center of town and allows pets. If you are a golfer, The Lodge at Pebble Beach is a great place to stay since you get preferential tee times on the world-famous course. Hyatt Carmel Highlands is a beautiful option if you have rented a car. Also, if you are into spas and wine, Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley is beautiful.
The Bench at Pebble Beach has a gorgeous view of the 18th hole with fire pits outside for drinks and apps. We love La Bicyclette in town for wood-fired pizzas and classic French country cuisine. I met Reese Witherspoon and her mom there when they were in town filming the first Big Little Lies. Casanova is a great cozy spot for a festive dinner. Katy’s (cash only) is awesome for breakfast. They have amazing lobster and avocado omelets. Rocky Point is about a 15-minute drive toward Big Sur and totally worth it for lunch because of the magnificent view.
See & Do
Drive to Point Lobos to hike through enormous redwoods to the coast. If you are an avid hiker, Big Sur, which is a 30-minute drive on Highway 1 along the ocean cliffs, has some of the best hikes in the world. Mobile phone coverage can be spotty, so map ahead of time. We love to take the kids to the Earthbound Farm Stand in Carmel Valley to walk around and pick raspberries and grab some organic groceries and prepared foods. Horseback riding through the trails near Cypress Point Golf Club is fun. You book that through Pebble Beach Equestrian Center and do not have to be a member of the club. However, there are some age requirements. We love making fires on Carmel Beach during the week after dinner. Check with the city online for the rules. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is world-class and not to be missed for adults and kids alike. Kayaking around the bay is really fun too because the waters are calm and you always see seals and otters in their natural habitat. Monterey has an awesome bike trail that runs along the coast and past the aquarium. You can also book whale watching tours leaving from Monterey.