Carmel, California (CA) & Monterey Bay Travel Destinations & Attractions
The village of Carmel-by-the-Sea sits on the edge of Monterey Bay, one of the world's most amazing stretches of coastline. Spend a day exploring all the nooks, crannies, and attractions in Carmel, or visit world-famous attractions such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Pebble Beach, or Cannery Row. The Normandy Inn boasts a prime spot right in the center of it all - within steps of art galleries, shops, restaurants, and glorious Carmel Beach.
Robinson Jeffers Tor House.
Carmel has long been a haven for artists of all types. California poet Robinson Jeffers came to Carmel in 1914 and over a decade built Tor House and Hawk Tower from granite boulders gathered from the shores of Carmel Bay. In this house he wrote the bulk of his major poetical works. Over the years, Jeffers hosted many artistic luminaries there, including Edna St. Vincent Millay, George Gershwin, and Charlie Chaplin. Docent-led tours of Tor House, Hawk Tower, and the English gardens are offered every Friday and Saturday.
For more information, go to www.torhouse.org. [Top]
17 Mile Drive.
Dramatic ocean bluffs, dense cypress groves, and a bevy of ultra-luxurious homes line the 17 Mile Drive, a toll road that winds its way from Carmel to Pacific Grove along the spectacular Monterey Bay coastline. On the drive you'll see Pebble Beach, the Links At Spanish Bay, the Lone Cypress, Seal and Bird Rocks, and the Del Monte Forest.
For information, visit www.pebblebeach.com. [Top]
Founded in 1771, Carmel Mission-officially Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo-was the second of 21 missions built along the El Camino Real from Los Angeles up to Sonoma. Considered by many to be the most beautiful, the historic basilica church still has regular services. Five museums document the history of the mission and its people, including founding Father Junipero Serra, who is buried here. For more information, visit www.carmelmission.org. [Top]
Carmel Plaza is the shopping heart of Carmel-by-the-Sea, featuring such prestigious retailers as Bottega Veneta, Georgiou, Mark Fenwick, and Louis Vuitton, as well as spas, entertainment venues, and top restaurants. Set in an outdoor courtyard along Ocean Avenue in downtown Carmel, no vacation to the village would be complete without a visit to Carmel Plaza. For more information, go to www.carmelplaza.com. [Top]
Monterey Bay Aquarium.
The world-renowned aquarium sits on the edge of Monterey Bay, with exhibits that are open to the ocean. An amazing blend of natural habitats and state-of-the-art technology, visitors can get up close to marine life such as sea otters, anemones, jellyfish, and giant ocean sunfish. The Outer Bay features a million-gallon tank housing schools of tuna and sharks. The Kelp Forest is a three-story aquarium filled with swaying fronds of giant kelp and hundreds of fish. For additional information, go to www.montereybayaquarium.org. [Top]
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
This famed 2.238 mile racetrack in nearby Salinas, California is home the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix and the American Le Mans Series, as well as other prestigious auto racing events. Numerous racers have graced the track here, including Roger Penske, Parnelli Jones, and Bobby Rahal. Races take place on five weekends each season. For more information, visit www.mazdaraceway.com [Top]
The palatial estate of newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst sits atop "The Enchanted Hill" in San Simeon, California, a magnificent hilltop perch on the central coast. Designed by architect Julia Morgan over many years, the castle features Roman pools, an exotic animal zoo, a movie theater, and vast gardens. Numerous tours of the buildings, art collections, and grounds are offered each day. See www.hearstcastle.org for information. [Top]
National Steinbeck Center.
The Center is located in Salinas, California, 17 miles from Carmel, where writer John Steinbeck grew up. The museum and exhibit hall offers interactive displays related to Steinbeck's literary works, as well as artifacts, and films showcasing some of his classics, including East of Eden, Cannery Row, and The Grapes of Wrath. For information, visit www.steinbeck.org. [Top]