(includes Carmel, Carmel Valley, Carmel-by-Sea, Davenport, Half Moon Bay, Jenner, Marina, Monterey, Pescadero & Princeton-by-Bay)
BAKERIES, COFFEE, ICE CREAM, JUICE & TEA
●Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant – 47540 Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-0520; bigsurbakery.com; spectacular views.
●Café Kevah – 48510 California Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-2345; nepenthe.com; coffee, baked goods, light brunches & head-spinning ocean views on its outdoor deck (closed during winter & bad weather).
BARS & NIGHTCLUBS
●Hog’s Breath Inn – San Carlos Street (Carmel, at 5th Street); 831-625-1044; hogsbreathinn.net; Clint Eastwood’s restaurant & property; Old West atmosphere.
●Inn at Spanish Bay – 2700 17 Mile Drive (Pebble Beach); 831-647-7500 or 800-654-9300; pebblebeach.com; grab table on patio before sundown, after driving in on 17-Mile Drive.
●Mission Ranch – 26270 Dolores Street (Carmel); 831-624-6436; missionranchcarmel.com; Clint Eastwood’s restaurant & property; on 22-acres; striking view.
●Nepenthe – 48510 California Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-2345; nepenthe.com; go at sunset for spectacular view.
●Pfeiffer Beach – 9100 Sycamore Canyon Road (Big Sur, of Highway 1, in Los Padres National Forest); 805-434-1996 (Park Management); fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf/recarea/?recid=10918; off beaten path, but well worth drive; just south of Big Sur Station on Highway 1 on unsigned Sycamore Canyon Road, which winds down to shore; 2-mile long road is paved, twisty & narrow (look for yellow “Narrow Road” sign at turn-off); from parking area, short walk down to beach; at this location Sycamore Canyon Creek empties into Pacific & rocky point protects some of sand at cove; waves crash hard all around & beach north of here invites exploration at lower tides; focal point is Keyhole Rock, amazing natural arch; frequently professionally photographed; north end of beach has unique purple sand that comes from manganese garnet rocks in cliffs; nudists abound.
●San Carlos Beach (also called Breakwater or Breakwater Cove) – Cannery Row (Monterey); 831-646-3860 (Monterey Parks Department); mtycounty.com/pgs-parks/parks-reg/sancarlos.html.
●Aumentos Reef – approximately 1/2 mile offshore (in Monterey Bay, offshore of Esplanade Street); divespots.com/scuba-diving-spots/california/san-diego/spots/aumentos-reef; massive underwater mountain; Aumentos is Spanish for “enlargement”; reef gently slopes from about 60-120' down.
●Metridium Fields – 200 yards offshore from Monterey Beach (at intersection of Cannery Row & Reeside Avenue); scubamonterey.com/infometridiumfield.html; named for Metridium giganteum (“Giant White Plumed Anemone”), found in abundance here; bat rays, juvenile wolf eels, ocean sunfish & bull seal lions can be seen at this location.
●Outer Pinnacles – Pebble Beach (Carmel); diveadvisor.com/united-states/outer-pinnacles-2; reefs caked with corral, marine mammals, octopus, wolf eels, etc.
●Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area – Monterey Submarine Canyon; californiampas.org; Monterey Submarine Canyon begins at Moss Landing (Monterey Bay middle) & extends 95 miles into Pacific Ocean where terminates at Monterey Canyon submarine fan, reaching depths of up to 12K'; though bottom is about 2 miles below surface, actual canyon itself about 1 mile deep, making it comparable in depth to Grand Canyon; depth & nutrient availability (due to regular nutrient-rich sediment influx) provide habitat suitable for many marine life forms; Soquel Canyon State Marine Conservation Area protects side-branch of Monterey Submarine Canyon; like underwater park, this marine protected area helps conserve ocean wildlife and marine ecosystems.
●Point Lobos State Marine Reserve – 62 Route 1 (3-5 miles south of Carmel); 831-624-4909; pointlobos.org; 10K underwater acres; California’s premier diving location; make sure to see cast of underwater reserve at Whalers’ Cove.
●L’Auberge Carmel – Monte Verde Street at 7th Street (Carmel); 831-624-8578 or 800-905-5745; laubergecarmel.com; stucco and wood lodge 4 blocks off Carmel Beach.
●Beach House Hotel – 4100 Cabrillo Highway North (Half Moon Bay); 650-712-0220 or 800-315-9366; beach-house.com/half-moon-bay-hotels.html; nice; breakfast included.
●Bernardus Lodge & Winery – 415 Carmel Valley Road (Carmel Valley); 831-659-3131 or 888-648-9463; bernardus.com; adobe guesthouses with fireplaces and featherbeds; private balconies with views of Saint Lucia Mountains.
●Big Sur Lodge – 47225 California Highway 1 (in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park); 831-667-3100; bigsurlodge.com; simple cabins are 3.5 miles from Pfeiffer Beach; cottage-style rooms have decks with views of surrounding redwood forests; some rooms add fireplaces and/or kitchens; seasonal outdoor pool, outdoor bar & free access to state park facilities & nearby hiking paths; on-site general store, coffee shop & restaurant that features organic ingredients.
●Carmel Valley Ranch – 1 Old Ranch Road (Carmel Valley); 831-625-9500 or 877-583-0052; carmelvalleyranch.com; on 500 acres; upscale resort is close to Garland Ranch Regional Park & Carmel Bay; sophisticated suites feature fireplaces & private decks, plus flat-screen TVs, free Wi-Fi, iPod docks & Keurig coffeemakers; some suites add kitchenettes or separate dining areas; spa, golf course & 9 tennis courts, plus 2 outdoor saltwater pools, gym & business center; dining options include sleek organic restaurant, grill eatery & cafe.
●Cypress Inn – 7th Avenue and Lincoln Street (Carmel-by-Sea); 831-624-3871; cypress-inn.com; once co-owned by Doris Day; landmark boutique hotel since 1929.
●Davenport Roadhouse – 1 Davenport Avenue (Davenport); 831-426-8801; davenportroadhouse.com; 8 comfortable rooms ranging from $70-210, depending on season & size.
●Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn – 48865 California Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-2377; deetjens.com; half mile from Henry Miller Memorial Library & 4 miles from Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park; rustic inn built in 1930s & listed on National Register of Historic Places; homey, country-style rooms, cabins & houses have antique furnishings & scenic woodland views; some add amenities such as private decks, wood-burning stoves & fireplaces; select rooms share bathroom; no televisions, Internet access or phones, & no cell phone coverage on property; full-service restaurant specializes in American comfort food & wine.
●Highlands Inn – 120 Highlands Drive (Carmel); 831-620-1234 or 888-591-1234; highlandsinn.hyatt.com; owned by Hyatt; Monterrey pine, cypress, and redwood forest setting for stone lodge on 10 acres of hillside.
●Inn at Spanish Bay – 2700 17 Mile Drive (Pebble Beach); 831-647-7500 or 800-654-9300; pebblebeach.com; 269-room inn located amid Monterey pines, next to golf course; ask for room that overlooks fire-pits so can see bagpiper who plays daily at sunset; concierge will create personalized maps for local hiking, jogging, & wine tasting.
●Post Ranch Inn – Highway 1 (Big Sur, across from Ventana Inn); 831-667-2200 or 888-524-4787; postranchinn.com; luxury resort on Pacific side of highway; views, modern architecture, spa, dining.
●Ventana Inn & Spa – 48123 Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-2331 or 800-628-6500; ventanainn.com; on hillside overlooking Pacific coastline; spacious suites and guest-rooms; rustic with thoughtful appointments; on 243 acres; pool; Japanese hot baths; dining; Allegria Spa; afternoon wine and cheese reception; daily yoga classes; Guided Discovery Walk.
●L’Auberge Carmel – Monte Verde Street at 7th Street (Carmel); 831-624-8578; laubergecarmel.com; stucco and wood lodge 4 blocks off Carmel Beach; tasting menu; only Michelin star between LA & San Francisco.
●La Balena – Junipero Avenue (Carmel-By-Sea, between 5th & 6th); 831-250-6295; labalenacarmel.com; daily changing, artisanal Italian dishes paired with wines in urbane hideaway.
●Barbara’s Fish Trap – 281 Capistrano Road (Princeton-by-Bay); 650-728-7049; barbarasfishtrap.com; on harbor; clam chowder in sour dough bowls and red snapper taco salad.
●La Bicyclette Restaurant – Dolores Street (Carmel, at 7th Avenue); 831-622-9899; labicycletterestaurant.com; rustic village bistro.
●Big Sur Bakery & Restaurant – 47540 Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-0520; bigsurbakery.com; spectacular views; wood-burning oven pizzas; butter-braised halibut.
●Cantinetta Luca – Dolores Street (Carmel, between Ocean and 7th Avenues); 831-625-6500; cantinettaluca.com; wood-fired pizza, homemade pastas, and Italian wines.
●Carmel Belle – Doud Craft Studios, San Carlos Street (Carmel-by-Sea, between Ocean Avenue & San Carlos Street); 831-624-1600; carmelbelle.com; especially for breakfast.
●Duarte’s Tavern – 202 Stage Road (Pescadero); 650-879-0464; duartestavern.com; crab cioppino; good soups.
●Garden Deli & Café – 356 Main Street (Half Moon Bay); 650-726-3425; custom-built, excellent sandwiches good for hiking.
●Nepenthe – 48510 California Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-2345; nepenthe.com; go at sunset for spectacular view; just-okay California cuisine (try Ambrosia burger); Orson Welles & Rita Hayworth briefly owned cabin here in 1940s.
●Phil’s Fish Market – 7600 Sandholdt Road (Moss Landing); 831-633-2152; philsfishmarket.com; famous for cioppino.
●Adventures by Sea – 299 Cannery Row (Monterrey); 831-372-1807; rent bicycle and ride along 17-Mile Drive.
●Aquarius Dive Shop – 2040 Del Monte Avenue (Monterey); 831-375-1933; aquariusdivers.com; will arrange local diving.
●Bernardus Lodge – 415 Carmel Valley Road (Carmel); 831-658-3500; bernardus.com; spa.
●Elkhorn Slough Safari Nature Tours – 8022 Moss Landing Road (Moss Landing); 831-633-5555; elkhornslough.com; guided tours.
●Bruno’s Market & Deli – 6th Street (Carmel-by-Sea, at Junipero Avenue); 831-624-3821; brunosmarket.com; gourmet sandwiches.
●Carmel Drug Store – Ocean Avenue (Carmel, at San Carlos Street); 831-624-3819; carmeldrugstore.com; handmade Swiss combs & grandma colognes; open since 1919.
●Cheese Shop – Carmel Plaza, Ocean Avenue (Carmel, at Junipero Avenue); 831-625-2272 or 800-828-9463; thecheeseshopinc.com; picnic fixings.
●Parsonage Winery Tasting Room – 19 E Carmel Valley Road (Carmel Valley); 831-659-7322; parsonagewine.com.
●Trouve – San Carlos Street (Carmel, at 6th Avenue); 831-625-9777; trouvehome.com; modern house wares & global antiques.
●Steven Whyte Studio – Dolores Street (Carmel, between 5th and 6th Avenues); 831-620-1917; stevenwhytesculptor.com; local sculptor’s working studios.
SIGHTS & SITES
●Año Nuevo State Park – New Years Creek Road (Pescadero); 650-879-0227 or 800-444-4445; parks.ca.gov; elephant seal breeding grounds (mid-December-March); park interprets and protects pinniped rookeries and significant wildlife habitats on Año Nuevo Island and mainland; also sensitive native dunes and coastal terrace prairie habitats; diverse inland plant communities, including old growth forest, freshwater marsh, red alder riparian forest and knobcone pine forest; 4 perennial streams support steelhead trout and coho salmon; wetlands are habitat to San Francisco garter snake and red-legged frog; cultural resources include native California Indian Ohlone occupation remnants and 19th Century Cascade Ranch and historic Steele Ranch structures.
●Devil’s Slide – stretch of Highway 1 (actually, north of Big Sur, soon to close); take Great Highway south alongside Ocean Beach, following signs for 35-Skyline Boulevard/Highway 1/Cabrillo Highway South, toward Pacifica).
●Elkhorn Slough – 1700 Elkhorn Road (Watsonville); 831-728-2822; elkhornslough.org; for birdwatching & kayaking.
●Fort Ord Dunes State Park – Beach Range Road (Marina); 831-649-2836; parks.ca.gov; call 831-998-9458, #204 for wildlife migration (e.g., whales) information; has 1K acres, gorgeous Monterey Bay panoramas, boardwalk and viewing platform, and 1.5 foot trail that leads down to 4-mile beach stretch.
●Garrapata State Park – Highway 1 (Carmel, 6.7 miles south of Rio Road in Carmel & 18 miles north of Big Sur); 831-624-4909; parks.ca.gov/?page_id=579; 2 miles beach front, with coastal hiking & 50' climb to Pacific Ocean view; diverse coastal vegetation with trails running from ocean beaches into dense redwood groves; outstanding coastal headlands at Soberanes Point; sea lions, harbor seals & sea otters; California gray whales pass close by during yearly migration.
●Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space District – Half Moon Bay; openspace.org; Purisima Creek Redwoods is among most popular trails; also try Lobitos Ridge.
●Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park – Highway 1 (Big Sur); 831-667-2315; parks.ca.gov/?page_id=578; main feature is McWay Falls, which drops over 80' cliff into Pacific Ocean; home to 300' redwoods over 2.5K years old.
●Monterey Bay Aquarium – 886 Cannery Row (Monterey); 831-648-4800; montereybayaquarium.org.
●Pesadero Drive – take Stage Road from Pescadero’s main street to San Gregorio’s crossroads; beautiful, hilly country to coast.
●Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park – 47225 California Highway 1; 831-667-2315; parks.ca.gov/?page_id=570; approximately 1,006 acres centered on Big Sur River; nicknamed “mini Yosemite”; has both hotel (Big Sur Lodge) & campground within its boundaries; known for redwood groves & trail to Pfeiffer Falls.
●Point Lobos State Reserve – Highway 1 (3-5 miles south of Carmel); 831-624-4909; pt-lobos.parks.state.ca.us; majestic landscape with 14 meandering trails; sea otters and lions, and seals; migrating whales December through May; make sure to visit Allan Memorial Grove and Whaling Station Museum.
●San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo Mission – 3080 Rio Road (Carmel); 831-624-1271; carmelmission.org; founded at present site in 1771 by Father Junipero Serra; beautiful.
●17-Mile Drive – Highway 1 Gate to Carmel Gate; pebblebeach.com/activities/explore-the-monterey-peninsula/17-mile-drive; scenic loop-road through Pebble Beach & Pacific Grove, hugging Pacific coastline; 4 primary entrances, main highway entrance at California State Route 1, and entrances in Carmel & Pacific Grove.
●Stevenson House – 530 Houston Street (Monterey); 831-649-7118; parks.ca.gov/?page_id=963; 2-story adobe has sheltered families, government officials, artists, writers & fishermen since Mexican era; in 1879, during time as rooming house (known as “French Hotel”), Robert Louis Stevenson, stayed few months; in frail health, poor & unknown, cared for by friends while he courted his future wife, Fanny Osbourne; while in Monterey, Stevenson penned Old Pacific Capital; several rooms devoted to “Stevensonia.”
●Stillwater Cove – 22455 California Highway 1 (Jenner, all parking at Stillwater Cove Regional Park); 707-847-3245 or 831-625-8507 (for diving permission); Chinese fishing village site in 1868; now premier, year-round shore-diving locale for area; otters, seals & other marine life; only 10 divers per day allowed; about 2 weeks in advance to make reservation.