Exploring Carmel

There are people who have lived in Carmel their entire lives but still haven't seen everything in our one square mile Village. Tourists arrive here every day and most leave having very little knowledge of our past history or important places in town. One of the CRA's goals is to make it easier for locals and tourists alike to gain a better understanding of why Carmel-by-the-Sea is such a special place so they become better engaged in protecting and preserving our "Village in the Forest by the Sea".

The below list provides walking tours that are self-guided. However...

If you are looking for guided tours please visit   https://www.gaelgallagher.com/carmel-walks.html 
f you are looking for a guided Art Gallery Tour please 
visit   https://carmelarttours.com/

Self Guided - Carmel-by-the-Sea with VoiceMap Tours

Over the past several years, CRA Member and Carmel Cares President Dale Byrne and co-author of Historic Homes and Inns of Carmel-by-the-Sea Lynn Momboisse have developed a suite of VoiceMap Audio Tours and related travel blogs.  They cover much of our town and point out historical events, interesting characters, architecture and some of our local businesses. They stress the importance of protecting our heritage.  In fact, 25% of the revenue from these tours is donated to Carmel Cares to help us achieve our mission of keeping Carmel beautiful, safe and inviting!

Scroll down to get information about our VoiceMap tours.  The blog versions will be viewed in Lynn’s Adventures of a Home Town Tourist blog site.  All of these are very thorough and deserve your exploration!   And here is a new PDF on hiking trail maps from Santa Cruz to Big Sur!

And the VoiceMapTours via Carmel Cares has provided an offer on our VIP Offers list too.  As a current CRA member this benefit is yours!

Here is a list of currently available tours and blogs and a description of each.

1. Fairy Tale Houses Walking Tour

One of the most frequent questions we hear from visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea is, “Where are the Fairy Tale Houses?” This walking tour will address this question, as we will lead you on a walk that will take you by thirteen of the more famous fairy tale style cottages in Carmel. You will learn the history behind these homes and their builder, Hugh Comstock.

VoiceMap Carmel-by-the-Sea Fairy Tale House Audio Walking Tour

Blog Tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea Fairy Tale House Walking 

2. Off the Beaten Path Walking Tour

This tour starts and ends at the historic Pine Inn. You will get an overview of this property, visit the First Murphy House Museum, walk Carmel’s quiet northwest residential district, pass architecturally significant homes, discover the hidden Jane Powers Walkway and cross the boardwalk of North Del Mar Dunes to the north end of Carmel Beach which sits at the foot of the magnificent Pebble Beach Golf Links. We will return to our starting point at the Pine Inn via 4th Avenue. Along the way you will hear stories about some of Carmel’s early residents, such as artist Jane Powers, writer Mary Austin, poet Robinson Jeffers and his wife Una, as well as architects M. J. Murphy, Hugh Comstock, and Albert Henry Hill.

VoiceMap Off the Beaten Path Walking Tour

Off-the-Beaten-Path Walking Tour Blog

3. Scenic Road Walkway Walking Tour

This tour will begin and end at the Historic La Playa Carmel Hotel. On this 3 mile, walking tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea Scenic Road Walking Tour you will explore the Scenic path along the bluff above Carmel Beach and take in the spectacular view of Carmel Bay from Pebble Beach to Carmel Point. You will visit the North Dunes Habitat Restoration Project and the Carmel Beach Overlook and explore a portion of the residential area known as the “Golden Rectangle”. You will be learning about and walking by the homes of some of Carmel’s early residents including Arnold Genthe, Dick Sargent, the Cooke sisters and Noël Sullivan.

VoiceMap Carmel-by-the-Sea Scenic Road Walkway Walking Tour

Scenic Road Walkway Walking Tour Blog

4. Carmel-by-the-Sea’s Bohemian Art Scene: A Guide to 18 Galleries and Studios Walking Tour

In the single square mile of Carmel-by-the-Sea there are approximately 20 wine rooms, 65 restaurants, and nearly 100 art galleries. On this walking tour around Ocean Avenue, I’ll direct you through quaint courtyards, past Carmel’s public art pieces, and the front doors of 18 art galleries and studios. You will see what makes this small seaside city a mecca for modern day Bohemian artists.

This one-and-a-half-mile tour begins and ends at the world-famous, dog-friendly Cypress Inn. As you wind your way through the downtown area, you’ll hear directly from some local artists, learn what inspires them, and get the opportunity to view their work up close in their studios. I’ll also point out some of Carmel’s best galleries, and you’ll pass several more that you may want to check out on your own. End your walk with a bite to eat or relax with a drink at Terry’s Lounge inside Cypress Inn, famous for its 4pm Yappy Hour when dogs are allowed at the bar.

VoiceMap Carmel-by-the-Sea Bohemian Art Scene Walking Tour

Carmel-by-the-Sea Bohemian Art Scene Tour Blog

5. Pebble Beach 17 Mile Drive Driving Tour

This tour will be released mid-December 2022. It starts at Whole Foods in Monterey and covers the entire 17 Mile Drive and many points in between. You will have a thorough understanding of the normal tour sites but also travel back roads and learn about the detailed history of the area. You’ll know Pebble Beach like a local, maybe even better than most!

6. Downtown Carmel in One Hour Walking Tour

The one square mile village of Carmel-by-the-Sea has 20 wine rooms, 100 art galleries, 50 restaurants, 50 hotels and countless other businesses. This tour will be covering about 15 square blocks of the downtown area to give you the “lay of the land”. In about 2 miles we will be exploring some of Carmel’s quaint courtyards and passageways and walk by a number of those wine rooms, art galleries, restaurants and hotels. You will also learn about Carmel’s founding fathers, distinctive architecture and storied past.

VoiceMap Carmel-by-the-Sea in One Hour Walking Tour

Downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea in One Hour Walking Tour Blog

7. Carmel Mission Area Walking Tour  

This walking tour covers Carmel-by-the-Sea’s three mission areas: Mission Ranch, Carmel Mission Basilica, and the Mission Trail Nature Preserve. It includes:

• Early Native American history
• The founders of Carmel-by-the-Sea, and its origins
• The story of how the Carmel Mission came to be
• Famous Carmel houses and hotels
• A handful of Carmel’s most interesting residents
• Mission Trail Park’s beginnings, as well as the habitats and flora found there today

The tour begins and ends at the Mission Ranch Hotel, owned by actor and former mayor of Carmel, Clint Eastwood. From there, we’ll wind our way through the southern end of this charming village to the Mission Basilica, and then on to the Mission Trail Nature Preserve.

VoiceMap Mission Area Walking Tour

There isn’t a blog version of this tour.

8. Carmel Point Walking Tour

On this Carmel Point Walking Tour we will explore the rugged Carmel coastline where we will have stunning views of Point Lobos and Carmel River Beach. Our walk will also wind its way through the charming tree-lined streets of Carmel Point where we will have the opportunity to view a number of the first homes built along this at one-time windswept treeless bluff at the turn of the 20th century.  You’ll hear about:

• Famous Carmel houses 
• Carmel real estate values 
• Movies filmed on the point 
• Colorful characters from the past 
• Coastal flora and wildlife 
• Carmel’s first golf course 
• The first softball league in the US 
• The Carmelite Monastery

This tour is about 2 ½ miles and should take about 2 hours to walk.

VoiceMap Carmel Point Walking Tour

Carmel Point Walking Tour Blog

9. Monterey Fisherman’s Wharf Driving Tour

This tour begins at the Monterey History & Art Association Salvador Dali Museum also known as the Stanton Center, and ends at the Pacific House Museum just across the plaza from the Salvador Dali Museum. On this walking tour you will explore Fisherman’s Wharf and the surrounding area which include the Portola Plaza, Custom House Plaza and Museum, the Pacific House Museum and gardens, First Brick House Museum and some of Old Monterey’s first historic buildings.You will also get an overview of early Monterey history, as well as the history of Fisherman’s Wharf and Monterey’s fishing industry. You will have the opportunity to explore three free museums in the Monterey State Historic Park and there will also be numerous opportunities for shopping or dining. You will also view areas where some of the scenes were shot for Season One of the HBO miniseries Big Little Lies.

VoiceMap Monterey – California State Historic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf Walking Tour

Monterey – California State Historic Park and Fisherman’s Wharf Walking Tour Blog

10. Monterey Cannery Row Walking Tour

On this 2 mile walking tour we will trace the seam of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row. Along the way we’ll discover the real-life people he drew from in order to create his vivid characters. We’ll explore how Cannery Row went quickly from a quaint fishing village to the center of a booming sardine industry filled with many canneries, and how that ultimately ended in economic collapse, fire and rusted ruins, only to be reborn into the commercial tourist hub it is today. Cannery Row and the surrounding area includes the Steinbeck Plaza, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey InterContinental Hotel and San Carlos Beach.

VoiceMap Monterey – California Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour

Monterey – California Historic Cannery Row and John Steinbeck Walking Tour Blog

11. Carmel to Santa Cruz Driving Tour

Starting in charming Carmel-by-the-Sea, our route heads north toward Monterey Drive, mostly hugging the coast, all the way to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. You’ll exit the freeway periodically to drive through picturesque towns that you’d otherwise miss like Fort Ord, Castroville, Moss Landing, Aptos, and Capitola.

VoiceMap California Coast Driving Tour: From Carmel by the Sea to Santa Cruz

There isn’t a blog version of this tour.

12. Carmel to Big Sur Driving Tour

This 35 mile tour starts in Carmel-by-the-Sea, and continues south to Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, the crown jewel of California’s State Park system, and Carmel Highlands, the location of several movies and television shows. Further on, at Garrapata State Park, you’ll find a long coast strewn with rocky coves and headland meadows. You’ll cross the iconic Bixby Bridge, pass by the prominent volcanic rock home of the Point Sur Light Station to the Big Sur River Inn and famous Nepenthe Restaurant before we stop at the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

VoiceMap California Coast Driving Tour: From Carmel-by-the-Sea to Big Sur

There isn’t a blog version of this tour.

13. Behind the Front Window Walking Tour of Ocean Avenue (Blog only) 

Certainly there are many visitors to Carmel that only get the chance to visit a handful of businesses on Ocean Avenue.  In fact, many locals haven’t seen many of them. This tour introduces you to most of the businesses on Carmel’s “Main Street” and takes  you behind the scenes.

There isn’t a VoiceMap version of this tour. Use the Downtown Carmel in an Hour Tour instead.

Ocean Avenue – Behind the Front Window Walking Tour Blog

About the Tours

If you are up to getting some exercise you can download the VoiceMap app and your choice of tours and go out and explore it with the voice-driven, GPS activated App on your Apple or Android mobile phone. Otherwise, you can take a tour in blog format on your home computer.  The blog versions of each tour tend to be more detailed and include one or more pictures for each stop but there is nothing like actually being there in person!
These VoiceMap walking tours are $7.99 and the driving tours are $9.99 online at www.voicemap.me or on Viator/Trip Advisor.