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Carmel By The Sea

Carmel by the Sea California, 4 days, June   More Pictures  |  Map  |  GPS  |  More Info

Carmel Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center 800-550-4333 located 1.5 blocks north of Ocean Avenue on San Carlos between 5th and 6th. Horseback ride Oceanside through Del Monte forest at Pebble Beach Equestrian Center - 831-624-2756

girl oriding on horse on beach in california
I took my wife Kelly horseback riding on the beach and in the surrounding forest. It was spectacular fun but it is not cheap and you do have to stay with the guide rather closely.


We drove north to Carmel-by-the-sea which was fun, beautiful, with convenient day parking beachside and easy inland parking at night. We tend to stop at nearly every fresh Farmers Market we see to buy produce and we did here as well then supplemented with more groceries at Safeway in town.

Parked at 8th street and Scenic Road, which is probably the very best close free beach parking you can get in California anytime anywhere.

The beach was white and sandy with seals playing offshore and hundreds of people surfing, sun bathing, and exercising up and down the shoreline. We had the best weather yet being so sunny and warm with plenty of beach for dogs and humans. We went for long walks on the beach, on the accompanying trail, and later rode our bikes up and down many miles of beachside house developments checking out some extraordinary architecture and various styles of landscaping.

The neighborhoods here are worth going through street by street. Yards are filled with stunning cedar trees, ornamental structures, blooming with flowers, and crazy original yard art. Many gardens shared by neighbors' flow and merge from one yard to the next. One of the weirdest things is there are no addresses in this town. All locations are described as north or south of Ocean Avenue and on the east or west side of the street with west always being towards the beach.

At the end of the beach scene in a little bay is another small state park with clean bathrooms, and hot blow dryers. We swam in the marine estuary for a few minutes because the water was nearly 80 degrees, which is very warm, compared to the ocean here. The wind was very strong here so we could not use the solar oven. Instead Kelly cooked the rib eye steaks on our propane cooker in the van along with portabella mushrooms, onions, Asiago sourdough bread, and Viognier from Paso Robles. I have been eating so well on this trip I haven't missed the gourmet restaurants in Vegas a bit.

We plugged the computers in at Starbucks inside Safeway grocery store inland a ways and worked for a couple of hours. Parking is good throughout this area with public beachside parking being available until midnight. But do not make the mistake of falling asleep there and having a police man come and wake you up, ask a bunch of nosey questions, and then follow you to make sure you park somewhere legal. When the day is through and night sets in go inland and park as I have described in the book Vanabode™.

picture shows some of the coast line along the 17 mile private pay to get in section of California near  Carmel by the Sea.
Picture ABOVE shows some of the coastline along the 17 mile private "pay to get in" section of California near Carmel by the Sea. You can drive this route or bike it like we did. Either way you could spend the entire day here with spectacular wildlife, sea life and ocean breezes and views that are constantly changing. Vanabode in fully stocked as there are no public restaurants. Image BELOW shows a small sample of sea life that is everywhere along this drive if you just take the time to explore it.

california sealife along the beach picture

Carmel provides access to one of the gates that give you access to a special scenic 17-mile drive. Bikes go in free but cars are charged $9. If you want to spend the day on some cool beaches and rocky shorelines then pay and drive and park throughout the length of the 17 miles. This is a very secret place that few in the country know of. Over 10 miles of the road is not very interesting with just pine forest and basically people’s back yards. But the other 7 miles run directly on the ocean and through a private pristine first class golf course. It was beautiful and uncrowded. It took us 2 ½ hours to do the 17-mile loop including stopping at the hot spots along the trail, which were all beachside. Most people would bike slower so plan on 5 hours. We ate dinner at Baan Thai restaurant, then hit Borders Books until 11 pm to relax indoors.

famous tree growing nearly on the ocean in california picture

Driving from Carmel to Seaside California we stopped in Castroville to check out the artichokes. We bought some produce and tried the French fried artichoke hearts. They were not great because the frying process and batter overpower the subtle sweet special taste of the artichoke. We should have ordered the fresh steamed artichoke.

Bugsy our bunny rabbit ate a lot of these fresh artichokes from the Castro  California Farm area

Took pictures of bugsy in the artichoke field. He ate a few free ones while he was in there.

The area of California surrounding Carmel is truly a fun place to Vanabode. Being able to hand out with the rich in their playground so cheaply is a blessing. I highly recommend it - Carmel by the Sea

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