Carmel is the perfect base for activities and adventures, whether you have relaxation or recreation in mind. You'll have a wonderful time no matter what you choose to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea.
The most often heard comments from visitor's center around the natural and spiritual beauty, of the Mission. They also show an appreciation of the historical legacy it represents. Through its five museums, the Carmel Mission addresses the history of one of California's most important heritage sites. We trust the time you spend with us, will increase your understand and recognition of this heritage.
The Basilica Church, a registered National Historic Landmark, is the centerpiece of the Mission. Upon entering, visitors are usually struck by its catenary ceiling, thirty foot reredos and 5 foot thick walls. The Missions fine collection of Spanish Colonial Liturgical Art and Artifacts are displayed through the church.
The Harry Downie Museum, located in the forecourt to the Basilica, houses interpretive displays and artifacts devoted to telling the restoration story of the Mission and the significance of Harry Downie's efforts in the restoration.
Behind the Basilica, in the Munrás courtyard, one will find the Munrás Family Heritage Museum. It displays the treasured keepsakes of one prominent Monterey family. Its goal is to enhance every visitor's appreciation of their own unique legacy.
Adjacent to the Basilica, the Jo Mora Chapel Gallery houses the elaborate Serra Memorial Cenotaph, sculpted in 1924 by Jo Mora, of travertine marble and bronze. This museum is also the home to an art exhibit which changes periodically.
In Convento Museum, through which one exits the Mission complex, is found the cell used by Blessed Junipero Serra and were he died in 1784. Other rooms in the museum present interpretive displays for further understanding the history of this beautiful heritage site.
We hope your visit to this website will encourage a visit to Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo. Then you too will exclaim its spiritual, natural and historical beauty.
Discover nature's splendor along the Pacific coastline.
17-Mile Drive is widely recognized as one of the most scenic drives in the world. The famous coastal landmark runs through Pacific Grove to Pebble Beach, from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the majestic Del Monte Forest. The awe-inspiring vistas and legendary sites can easily fill an entire day with exploration and discovery, although visitors with less time should not miss the opportunity to experience this wondrous journey as well.
Marvel at some of nature's treasures found along 17-Mile Drive including The Lone Cypress – one of California's best-known landmarks – Spanish Bay, Cypress Point Lookout and Carmel Bay. You can also see the emerald fairways of The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill and the world-renowned Pebble Beach Golf Links.
Please note: Motorcycles are prohibited entry onto 17-Mile Drive.
Select 17-Mile Drive Points of Interest
The Lone Cypress
As one of California's most enduring landmarks, The Lone Cypress has prevailed on its rocky perch for over 250 years. This icon has inspired many and is revered as the eternal symbol of Pebble Beach Company.
The pure white sand of the beach below is irresistible to harbor seals, which each spring return to bear their young. Closed during the harbor seal pupping season from April 1 to June 1.
Don Gaspar de Portela, the Spanish explorer, and his crew camped here in 1769 while searching for Monterey Bay. A scenic picnic stop, this is also a pleasant location for a stroll around the shoreline.
Early mariners often crashed upon these rocks after mistakenly setting their course for this point, believing that it was the entrance to Monterey Bay.
The National Steinbeck Center is located at One Main Street, in the heart of historic Oldtown Salinas, the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning author John Steinbeck. Open seven days a week year-round, we are the perfect beginning or end to any trip to Monterey Bay Region.
The Center is just a scenic 17-mile drive east of Monterey, 60-mile drive south of San Jose and 105-mile drive south of San Francisco. Monterey County wineries, championship golf courses, the Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and other attractions are also close by, giving you the opportunity to experience not just Salinas, but the rest of beautiful Steinbeck Country.
The Center is surrounded by Oldtown Salinas' superb restaurants, antique stores, coffee shops and friendly shopping and is just blocks from the Steinbeck House – a perfect day's outing.
The Monterey Peninsula is home to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a world-class raceway hosting the best of motorsports, including the Red Bull US Grand Prix Motorcycle Races, American LeMans Series Monterey, and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Racers and spectators love to stay in Carmel as a special treat but get your rooms early!
America's 1st co-ed relaxation spa, offering the ultimate in relaxation through our own Refuge branded Thermal Cycle featuring 3 simple steps: heat up, cool down, and relax. The Refuge facility features, the largest co-ed sauna in the U.S., a eucalyptus steam bath, Nordic cool pools, and hot pools with cascading thermal waterfalls; all in over 2 acres of serene, silent, indoor & outdoor relaxation areas with views of the Santa Lucia Mountains.
Carmel is famous for celebrities who live here and visit. You never know who you might see on the street.
Carmel's most famous person is actor and director Clint Eastwood . He can often be found at the Mission Ranch where he occasionally plays the piano in the bar. One “claim to fame” he has is that he was the mayor of Carmel-by-the-Sea from 1986-1988. He is a generous patron of many local non-profits and though he found Carmel after a stint at nearby former Fort Ord Army base, he is claimed as a native son.
Doris Day is a co-owner of the Cypress Inn , Carmel's best-known pet-friendly inn. Take your dog to tea at this classic inn in downtown Carmel. You may not see Doris but you will see movie posters from her prolific career.
Carmel and the surrounding peninsula have been sites for over 200 movies and commercials. See where movies were made by going on the Monterey Movie Tour bus. Clips from “East of Eden”, “Play Misty for Me”, “National Velvet” and many others will be shown as you tour the sites.