Beaches Around Carmel-by-the-Sea
A stay at the Carmel Green Lantern Inn ensures easy access to the many beaches in Monterey County. With nearly 100 miles of beautiful coastline from rocky cliffs and tide pools to spectacular waterfalls, there is something for everyone. These California beaches are perfect for surfers, fishers, and swimmers alike.
Known for its iconic white sands, this mile long beach offers unforgettable views of the Pebble Beach Golf Course and the Point Lobos State Reserve. This beach is great for families and is extremely pet-friendly, allowing dogs to be without a leash. Come for a picnic or a glass of wine and end your day with a campfire at the sun sets over the glistening water. If a picnic is not your style, visit one of the many restaurants in the area.
This beach is a mere “177” steps away from our Inn. This is the ideal beach to visit if proximity is important to you during your stay at the Carmel Green Lantern Inn.
Carmel River Beach
This beach is absolutely gorgeous, stretching a mile to the south of Carmel Point. The sweeping crescent of sandy beach is nestled in beside the rolling hills and golf course.
This beach is known for its strong undertows, so swimming is not advised. Flanked by rock formations, the beach is a scenic place for a stroll.
Located less than a mile away from the Carmel Green Lantern Inn, this beach is a quick 5-minute drive or 15-minute walk from the front door.
Asilomar State Beach
Asilomar State Beach is the best place for fun and games. Some of the more popular activities here are surfing, kite flying, and beachside walks. Asilomar State Beach is not very long, but it certainly packs in plenty of action and adventure within its mile.
From our location, it takes about 18 minutes to drive the 6.6 miles to Asilomar State Beach.
Monterey State Beach
Monterey State Beach is close to Fisherman’s Wharf and extends to Seaside, although Fisherman’s Wharf is home to the more popular hotspots.
Kayaking, surfing, swimming, and fishing are common. Don’t be surprised if you see scuba divers in the water checking out the varied marine life.
From the Carmel Green Lantern Inn, the Monterey State Beach is 6.2 miles or about an 18-minute drive.
Big Sur Beaches
Big Sur Beaches are not the easiest to get to, but they are well worth the hike. Most of these beaches are not accessible by car, a highlight for the beach goers who are searching for some seclusion and relaxation.
Garrapata State Park offers some of the quietest and most unspoiled beaches that the Pacific has to offer. With no facilities, this is the perfect place to pack a lunch, bring a book, and just relax. While there will not be many people, the seals, sea otters, sea lions, and occasional whale sightings will keep you entertained.
Pfeiffer Beach and its arch rock are also located off the beaten path. Popular with divers, this beach is worth the trip for anyone looking for some exercise and excitement. This beach offers peace and quiet, with a great view to go with it!
Andrew Molera State Park’s beach can only be reached by the appropriately named Beach Trail. It is a short and simple hike to get to along the edge of the Big Sur River. Andrew Molera State Park’s beach has earned the reputation of the most reliable spot to surf. If hiking is your scene, there is plenty more of that as well.
The Big Sur Beaches are reached by taking Highway 1 and heading south of Carmel. The different beaches are between 15 to 35 miles away.
Scenic Drives of Carmel-by-the-Sea
The world-renowned scenic drives of Monterey County are legends unto themselves. Whether you are looking to spend the day cruising down Highway 1 to Big Sur or a quick spin through Pebble beach, these are trips that will stay with you long after your time on the road is over.
California Highway 1
Known by a number of different names such as Pacific Coast Route 1 and Big Sur Coast Highway, California Highway One is a historic scenic drive. It has been hailed by London’s Sunday Times as “One of the world’s best drives,” and National Geographic Traveler has called it the “Drive of a Lifetime.” Others like Lonely Planet, SmarterTravel, and Forbes have ranked it as “One of the best scenic drives in the U.S.”
This exciting experience features twists and turns, and it takes about 45 minutes to finish the 26-mile trek. You will start off in Carmel and dip through Garrapata State Park, Bixby Bridge, and Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park in Big Sur. This end is best known for its mountainside roads that appear to almost lead right into the Pacific Ocean itself.
Expect to see the towering redwood groves, violent waves crashing on rough rocks, and many animals along the way. It is something that simply needs to top your bucket list.
17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach
The Pebble Beach drive is known as being another one of the world’s most scenic drives. This 17-mile landmark of a road begins at the bottom of Ocean Avenue in Carmel, not even a mile from the Carmel Green Lantern Inn. You will see dream mansions, the world-renowned golf course and lodge at Pebble Beach, and many coastline splendors like the Del Monte Forest. A fee is required to actually enter the forest, but it is worth every penny.
Scenic Drive Through Carmel
Let us not forget Carmel itself. This town has its fair share of beautiful sights, and Carmel-by-the-Sea packs a lot into its one square mile. Expect to spend anywhere from a half hour to two hours, especially if you are taking in the diverse art and culture in Carmel.
Almost as soon as you step out of the Inn, you can expect to see the jarringly blue Pacific Coast. A block away on Ocean Avenue, you will see the cottages that appear to be plucked from a fairytale. The further you head down the road, the more beaches and ocean vistas you will pass. A few more blocks and you are at the gates of Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the star himself.
Drive for 1 mile up Highway One North, take Ocean Ave exit and you are back into Carmel downtown district, much-lauded downtown district. A drive like this will surely work up an appetite so be sure to stop by one of the many restaurants in the area.
Hiking Options Around Carmel-by-the-Sea
The natural beauty of Monterey County is best experienced on a hike. Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Carmel Valley, or just about anywhere in the region offers hikes suitable for every skill level from novice to expert and every activity level, from a leisurely stroll to a strenuous mountain climb.
Point Lobos State Reserve
Called “the crown jewel of the State Park System,” Point Lobos State reserve has much to offer the millions of visitors who’ve come to admire “the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world.”
Among the reserve’s offerings are beaches, coves, walking paths, and rolling meadows. Hiking trails wander along the coastline and lead to stunning views from sunny beaches and hidden coves. Wildlife viewing along the trails includes seals, seagulls, sea otters, sea lions, and migrating gray whales (December through May).
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve also offers exceptional opportunities for sightseeing, painting, photography, nature study, picnicking, and jogging. Moreover, the reserve is quite popular with SCUBA divers and offers one of the richest underwater habitats in the world.
This splendid site for hiking and diving is easily accessible by car. To make the ten-minute drive from our location, travel three miles to the south on Highway 1.
Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail
The Monterey Bay Coastal Recreation Trail is one of the most distinctive features of Monterey County. The most scenic portion of the trail follows the coastline, extending about one mile from the Monterey Bay Aquarium to Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. Following this stretch of the trail affords views of the picturesque Monterey coastline and wildlife viewing that includes birds, sea otters, sea lions, harbor seals, and sometimes even whales.
The charming, paved waterfront trail is popular with locals and tourists who come to enjoy famous Monterey attractions including Fisherman’s Wharf, Cannery Row, and downtowns Monterey & Pacific Grove, as well as beaches, parks, and historic sites.
This easily accessible trail is located just 5 miles from Carmel and is a 12-minute drive from the Carmel Green Lantern Inn.
Garland Ranch Regional Park
Breathtaking views await around every bend of 4,462-acre Garland Ranch Regional Park in Carmel Valley. This dog-friendly spot is popular with locals and visitors alike for leisure hiking, and offers trails for hikers at every skill level, from nearly level trails for novices to steep inclines for devoted hikers.
Garland Ranch Regional Park includes notable features like the Garzas Creek, Carmel River, a redwood canyon, and a charming waterfall. Visitors can also experience the Carmel Valley of the past in the historic buildings peppering the park.
Drive east on Carmel Valley Road from Highway 1 for 8.6 miles to find Garland Ranch Regional Park’s main entrance on your right. From the Carmel Green Lantern Inn, the park is a 20-minute drive.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Named for renowned Big Sur pioneer Julia Pfeiffer Burns, this state park is beloved by hikers. Stretching from the Big Sur coastline to nearby 3,000-foot ridges, the park features redwoods, madrone, tan oak, and chaparral.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is also home to one of the most unique and picturesque sights of California’s coastline, McWay Falls. A rare fresh waterfall, McWay plummets 80 feet down a granite cliff into a majestic cove and then to the Pacific Ocean. The scenic fall can be viewed from a 0.5-mile walk on Overlook Trail, easily accessible from the park’s entrance gate off Highway 1.
From higher elevations, visitors can take in panoramic views of the rugged coastline and Pacific Ocean. It’s no wonder visitors rave about Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.
Located 37 miles south of Carmel and 12 miles south of Pfeiffer Big Sur, the park can be reached by driving for one hour from Carmel Green Lantern Inn, heading south on Highway 1.
California is one of the only places in the world where visitors can see whales year-round, and there’s no better place for whale watching than Monterey. Whale watching in Monterey Bay is the marine equivalent of going on a safari in Africa. The diversity on the Monterey Bay is pretty amazing.
In addition to the whales that migrate seasonally through the area, such as humpbacks, blue whales and gray whales, many other whale species are visible throughout the year and can often be seen offshore with the naked eye.
We have partnered with Monterey Bay Whale Watch, the only marine biologist owned cruise, to offer Whale Watching Packages. Monterey Bay Whale Watch offers year-round whale watching trips to observe the spectacular diversity and abundance of whales and dolphins inhabiting the Bay.
Northern California, and the Monterey Peninsula in particular is a premier destination for golfers. From the world-famous Pebble Beach Golf Links to the oldest golf course in continuous operation west of the Mississippi, Monterey County offers some of the finest opportunities to play golf in the world.
The variety of options range from ones that are on most golfer’s bucket list: Pebble Beach, Spyglass Inn, Spanish Bay and Poppy Hills that are hosts to US Open, AT&T Golf etc. to Championship-level courses used on PGA Tours to the Pacific Grove Golf Links with its entire back nine with breathtaking ocean views adjacent to the famous 17 Mile Drive.
No matter what your price point, Monterey Peninsula offers the finest golf experience on or near the Pacific Ocean.
List of sample golf courses include:
Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Golf Course, Links at Spanish Bay, Poppy Hills Golf Course and Peter Hay Golf Course.
Carmel Valley Ranch Golf Course, Rancho Canada Golf Club and Quail Lodge Golf Club.
Monterey Pines Golf Course, Del Monte Golf Course, Black Horse and Bayonet Golf Courses and Laguna Seca Golf Club.
Pacific Grove Golf Links
Pebble Beach Golf Link
Monterey County is one of the largest wine growing and producing regions in California with over 175 unique vineyards. It was voted one of the top five worldwide wine travel destinations by the Wine Enthusiast!
Hidden beneath the surface of the Monterey Bay is an enormous submarine canyon nicknamed “Deep Blue Grand Canyon” that is 60 miles long and 2 miles deep.
Situated less than 100 yards off the shoreline, the canyon provides a climatic pathway that connects the deep sea to the wine growing regions of Monterey.
Carmel Wine Tasting Rooms
Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea, one block from the Inn, has become a bona fide wine tasting destination with intimate venues that feature local wines from one of California’s premier wine-producing regions.
Carmel-by-the-Sea makes it easy to sample wines from their finest tasting rooms with the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea Passport.
Visitors who purchase this passport can enjoy tastings at nine different tasting venues including Caraccioli Cellars, Scheid Vineyards, Wrath, Napoli Wine Bar and more! Passports can be purchased for $65, $90 value.