Why I Want to Move to Carmel by the Sea, California

…Or why Carmel just happens to be the best place on Earth. Period.

Carmel appears to be like a movie set, with gentle weather year round, rolling hills, and powdery white sand beaches. It’s no wonder I ultimately decided I want to move here. At least for part of the year, as a summer home 🙂 A girl can dream, right?!

We stopped in San Francisco on our way to Hawaii to visit some family, and were generously offered to stay in a friends house in Carmel by the Sea. While I love the city of San Fran (I mean, who doesn’t?), it was nice to relax a bit in this much quieter area and escape from the brutal heat for a few days. This summer, NY experienced a harsh heat wave.

And after just a few nights in this small, charming area, It was decided. I want to move here. I NEED to move here. Basically anything to get me away from the congestion and foul-smelling air of my current place of residence, NYC.

And here’s why:

1) The town has so much character.
The houses have no numbers, and each is called something fun and unique. We stayed at ‘The House of Sand and Frogs’, and you guessed it, I counted over 200 frogs (not live) in the house, all presented in a fashionable way. Other houses we came across were: The Cracker Box, Sea Castle, and The Tree House. How fun are those?! Imagine having one of those for a house name! When ordering in a pizza, the correct way to tell the restaurant your address is by using cross streets and then just describing your house. More fun than saying 55 Andrew Lane any day.

2) The dog friendly beaches.
Besides the fact that the beach is only a 10 minute walk from the middle of town (yay!), these beaches are basically made for dogs! (Do you all remember the puppy photography series? Proves just how much I love these furry little creatures!) We saw plenty and plenty of dogs at the beach, free to roam around and play, no collar or leash needed. Dogs were chasing each other, having fun, and their owners all understood the importance of play fighting. If you don’t have a dog, or don’t like dogs, you don’t belong at the beach. And that’s that.

3) Sea otters play in the water.
Right near the shore of the beach!!! For one, there are NO sea otters back in New York, and two, they are just so damn cute! We saw one floating on his back in the water just playing with his hands. Wish I could see that everyday- made my afternoon 🙂 I’m a sucker for encountering animals in their natural habitats. Guess that’s why I want to go to Costa Rica so badly.

4) The stars are just SO incredibly visible.

Back in New York City, I hardly see any stars. There is just too much light and pollution. However, here in Carmel, you look up, and the whole sky is twinkling right back down at you. I was truly fascinated- I completely forgot what it’s like to see stars (besides seeing them out the airplane window on a night flight). We were cleaning up from our s’more fest by the fire on the Fourth of July, a star caught my eye, and from then on out, my eyes didn’t leave the sky.

5) Carmel is so close to Monterey. 

And other scenic spots. A 20 minute drive and you’re in the town of Monterey, with the aquarium, Cannery row, and my favorite, Nestle Toll House. I’ll share a little secret with you- I love cookies. And these were to die for. The aquarium, albeit quite crowded, was a fun spot to spend a few hours. Next time we have the opportunity to spend some time in Carmel, I’d love to hike to Point Lobos. We unfortunately didn’t have enough time, and being only 15-20 minutes as well, I regret not enjoying the coastline. We all have regrets, right? I have plenty.

6) Pebble Beach. 

My husband would be the happiest man in the world playing golf at this course right down the road, overlooking the ocean. Pebble beach is actually the last stop on the 17-mile drive, one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the nation. What golf-loving man wouldn’t want to play here? *Need to find a friend who can sponsor him, haha.


7) The Mild Weather, Year Round.

Carmel never gets too chilly or too hot. You need to pack and wear layers, since the weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Fog rolls in around the Summer, and the Winter months are cooler and bring the occasional shower. Okay, so the weather isn’t all that perfect, but it sure beats heavy snow and 90+ temperatures.

Unfortunately, all this comes at a pretty hefty price tag. While we were fortunate enough to be guests at the House of Sand and Frogs, there is no way we’d ever be able to afford such a place. This charming little town will steal many hearts. It’s won me over.

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  • Carmel is great to visit or to retire to, but you are way too young to move there just yet! The town and surrounding areas are beautiful though. There is no doubt about that.
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  • Wander The Map says:

    Love this post! Looks like such a beautiful place 🙂 I love that the beaches are so dog friendly and that you can have bonfires on the beach too–neither are really allowed in Florida. Love the otter picture–so cute!

  • turnipseedtravel says:

    Chester and I are loving the dog-friendly beach! A sign of a healthy and vibrant community is when everyone is active and having fun outside – even the pets!

  • Anita Mac says:

    It's not like you didn't already have me at the photo of the beach…that wins me over all the time, but the sea otter – so adorable! When can I move!!!
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  • Mary says:

    Beautiful scenic shots and that otter picture is just adorable. The Carmer/Monterey area is one of the places I have always wished to live if I won the lottery. It is one of our favorite places in CA. I'm glad you had a great visit and at a cool sounding place to stay too. I concur on the Nestle cookies. It's one of our favorite stops too along with the Monterey wine area 🙂
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  • elatlboy says:

    Will be passing through there next week! Lot's of time there over the years. A beautiful spot with weather I could live with year around. 🙂

  • Laura says:

    I live here!!

  • Karin Sobeck says:

    Your post made me smile. I have a home in Carmel that I rent out, basically a 10 minute walk to the beach. I moved to New York 7 years ago to the Upper West Side to be closer to my grandchildren (now there are two). I love the energy of the city. I lived in Carmel for 28 years and it is beautiful but VERY SLEEPY. Everything closes at 9 PM or earlier, not the wide spectrum of culture you have here in NYC. You have to drive to San Fran for what you get in 10 minutes or less in NYC. San Fran is beautiful and I love Carmel and San Fran weather, don't get me wrong. But you will miss the wonderful changing of the seasons from the East Coast. I will probably return to Carmel at some point in my retirement, but for now, I love the Big Apple even more:)

  • gloria says:

    I completely understand your love of Carmel. I live 3 hours away from Carmel, and I do my best to visit at least once a month, even if it is just for 1 day. My heart aches for that magical little beach community when I'm away from it. Unless I win the lottery, there's little hope of me owning a home there any time soon, but I do think of creative ways I could buy a home there, such as with 12 other friends and we all split our time there, now I just have to find 12 other friends who love Carmel as much as I do. 🙂

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