Carmel Tourist Attractions
Monterey CountyCarmel, a favorite resort of artists, is charmingly situated south of San Francisco on the Monterey peninsula. The Spanish seafarer Sebastian Vizcaino named the river flowing past Carmel after the three Carmelite monks who in 1603 landed with him not far from the second Californian mission which was originally built in Monterey.
On instructions from the Mexican viceroy, he pushed on from here to Monterey, the northernmost point of his journey. Carmel grew only slowly; at the beginning of the 20th century it was still an unimportant village with cattle grazing nearby.ImportanceCarmel was then discovered by painters, writers and photographers, who chose to live there, but its fame had not yet spread beyond the borders of California. It did not fully develop into a mass-tourist attraction until after the Second World War. Today it is world famous, not least because in 1986 the film star Clint Eastwood was elected mayor for a time.TraditionThe long-lasting struggle between those advocating increased growth and those supporting the status quo finally led to a compromise, as a result of which Carmel changed only slightly and was able to retain its distinctive charm, with its houses clearly influenced by English village architecture. You will look in vain here for street lights or neon signs; there are still only very few pavements; the houses have no numbers (directions read "north of Ocean Avenue" or "west of San Carlos"); Monterey pines grow in the center; no post is delivered (all the inhabitants collect it from the post office at the southeast corner of 5th and Dolores Street); there is a law against wearing high heels; eating in the street is forbidden; there are no parking meters, no large garages and no high-rise buildings; parking in the streets is restricted to one or two hours, and the streets are patrolled by 26 local policemen and policewomen.TourismCarmel has dozens of restaurants (fast-food restaurants such as McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken are not allowed), and galleries. The shops and service establishments are aimed at the large number of tourists who spend many millions of dollars here every year. In the high season especially - some 50,000 cars drive through Carmel in one day at the weekend - the stream of visitors is overwhelming.This combination of cozy informality and mass tourism is Carmel's unique secret. The bulk of the visitors stay in the square mile of the town center. Only a few venture out into the residential areas or on to the small but beautiful beach. In contrast to many other places in California, Carmel does not depend on outstanding individual attractions, but rather on its effect as a whole, and this is what makes a visit there worthwhile. The weather is mild all the year. 300 days of sunshine each year is the norm. However, there is often a morning mist in the months of July (21 days), August (22) and September (16).Anybody who wishes to escape the mist in Carmel can pitch his tent in Carmel Valley, a few miles to the southeast (reached by Route G 16, a turn-off from the U.S. 1). Situated by the River Carmel, quite apart from its proximity to the town, Carmel Valley offers many sporting facilities, such as fishing and swimming. Here, too, you will find the largest Zen monastery in the United States of America.
Granite cliffs and unique rock formations create the dramatic coastline at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve.
Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, which is still active, was built in the late 18th C in a Moorish style. Visitors can learn more about the mission at the on site museums.
When fog shrouds Carmel the Carmel Valley, just a few miles southeast (reached by Highway G 16 branching off the U.S. 1), makes a delightful retreat. Situated on the Carmel River, the valley offers plentiful opportunity for outdoor activities such as fishing and swimming. It is also the location of the largest Zen Buddhist monastery in the United States.
Carmel River State Beach
Carmel River State Beach is located 2.5 miles south of Carmel just north of Point Lobos. The beach is also known as Monastery Beach. The beach is used by scuba divers exploring the nearby kelp forests. The mile long beach also features a bird sanctuary in a lagoon with a wide variety of waterfowl and song birds.
Clinton Walker House
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, the Clinton Walker House in Carmel was completed in 1948. This hexagon shaped home is built of stone and was used in the 1959 film "A Summer Place".