A La Plage

Carmel never gets old for me.

I mean, the town is definitely a bit of a spectacle: everyone is super wealthy (or at least that’s how it appears) – we’re talking Maseratis and Lamborghinis literally lining the streets – which creates an atmosphere that might not be to everyone’s taste. (As an example, we saw one twenty-year-old driving down the street in his red Ferrari with his red Ferrari hat on and talking – loudly, of course – into his red Ferrari-covered cell. Eeeeeeughhh.)

But occasional bursts of attitude aside, there’s also such a lovely small-coastal-town vibe. Sort of like Cape Cod, minus the lobster. And it’s beautiful – to get there, you wind down a road past stunning little Spanish-style houses, and if you keep going all the way down to the water you find the most perfect white sand sloping down into a bright blue cove. Great (albeit expensive) shopping, great food, great weather, great drive; definitely one of my all-time favorite day trips.



  • Splurge on sunglasses at Optical Shop Of Aspen. You know my crazy-huge Tom Ford glasses? That’s where I found them. This shop (which isn’t unique to Carmel, but still) has absolutely the best selection of super-high-end and a little bit (or a lot) weird frames around.
  • Get a spa treatment. I found one of those places that do hour-long foot massages (plus a cinnamon-milk soak) for just $25, and it had huge picture windows opening to the breeze and what all this amounted to was one of the best hour-long naps of my life.
  • Just wander and shop a bit, and don’t be afraid to go off the main drag – you’ll find amazing home decor, antique, and art shops. You probably won’t be able to buy anything, but that’s okay; still fun.
  • For some shopping-where-you-can-actually-shop (think: Anthropologie and such) check out Carmel Plaza (which also has a cute patio area where you can grab a glass of wine and some nice crab cakes).
  • Test-run cheeses at The Cheese Shop, then pack up your finds and head over to the super-beautiful park in the middle of town for a picnic.
  • Get a wine-tasting passport at the Carmel Visitor’s Center and go on an all-day tour of the Wine Walk (this is something I haven’t done yet, but oh do I ever plan to).
  • End the day with a beer at the Hog’s Breath Inn, once owned by former mayor Clint Eastwood.

For those of you from the area: anything I missed?

carmel by the sea beach

what to do carmel by the sea

family trip carmel by the sea

P.S. I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this bathing suit, and I wish I could just link to where to purchase, but alas it’s a La Perla I found at a sample sale a loooong time ago for $15 (I know; I was excited, too). But I found lots of similar options, below (and especially love that Proenza Schouler).



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