In case you didn’t catch Part 1  and 2 of my California vacation recap, which were all about my stops in San Francisco and Yosemite National Park, be sure to check it out! 


Carmel-by-the-Sea is the most adorable little beach town about one hour south of San Francisco. It has a ton of little cafes and restaurants, boutiques and clothing stores and of course the beach! The town is also filled with the most adorable homes and cottages… I seriously want to drop everything in New Jersey and move to Carmel! 

My family and I spent 3 days in Carmel, which was a great amount of time to do the 17 Mile Drive, see the beach, visit some state parks and also have some foodie adventures eating at some amazing restaurants and of course, doing a ton of shopping. 

The Hotel:

We stayed at La Playa Carmel, which is now my favorite hotel ever. First, it had the most beautiful landscaping with bright colored flowers were blooming everywhere. Also, it was a fairly small hotel, which made it feel very home-y. There was a pool, bonfire and a life-size chess board in the yard behind the hotel. There was also a restaurant looking over the backyard with hanging strings of lights which gave it a rustic feel. The hotel also had bicycles in the front that were there as decorations and they were so adorable! Also, every night from 7-8pm, there was cookies and milk to munch on in the lobby, as well as a wine tasting for my parents at the same time. Staying at La Playa comes with a complimentary brunch, which was seriously the best brunch ever. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to stay in Carmel and spend my last few days of summer vacation. 

 via Instagram

  via Instagram

The Town/ What we did:

Carmel is filled with things to do and I could go on about the endless opportunities for fun, so I’m just going to share a few of my highlights.

One of the most beautiful, scenic places we visited in Carmel was the 17 Mile Drive. Basically, you just follow this road and stop at the different landmarks/ signs along the way. Some of the stops include different beaches and coves, Pebble Beach golf course and more. We took some of the most beautiful pictures that day. 

The shopping in Carmel was also to die for. One of my favorite stores was Paloosh. I bought the coolest pants that I planned to wear for NYFW. They were definitely a little pricey, at least for my sixteen year old/ student budget, but so worth it! There were a ton of small boutiques in Carmel which were fun to just pop into and browse around, but there were also some nationwide stores there too, like Kate Spade, which I had no problem visiting. 

One of my favorite things about Carmel was definitely the food. Every meal I ate there was beyond amazing. I’m going to make this quick and just name some of the restaurants we went to in case you ever travel to Carmel and are looking for some great restaurants: La Bicyclette (French cafe), Corkscrew Cafe (American cafe), Little Napoli’s (Italian… SO good!), Dametra (Mediterranean) and Mission Ranch (American). Everything was delicious and highly recommended! 

At The Corkscrew Cafe! 

At Mission Ranch! 

I hope you enjoyed my recap of Carmel-by-the-Sea and also my two previous vacation recaps. Let me know if you like this kind of post or prefer something else.. I would love to hear your feedback in the comments below or by email! 

Have you ever been to Carmel-by-the-Sea? What was your favorite part? Have any questions about my vacation? Please comment below! 

XO, Nicole 

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