Artists and writers flocked to Carmel-by-the-Sea in the early 1900s, leaving an indelible impact on the town. Today’s Carmel is an incredibly charming, upscale village with more than a hundred restaurants and galleries and a gazillion shops. It also has 60 courtyards, many with cobblestones — hence the city requires a permit if you wear high heels.
Carmel also one of the dog-friendliest towns in the nation.
The best way to explore Carmel is on foot. From Highway 1 turn off at Ocean Avenue (Carmel’s main drag) and head west toward the coast. Park near the visitor center on San Carlos, between 5th and 6th avenues, and pick up a map to get your bearings. There are no street addresses — everyone gets around by finding cross streets.
Ask about the special walking tour map of Carmel courtyards, and don’t miss the murals at the corners of Junipero and 6th and San Carlos and 7th.