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".

Over the past year, CRA members Lynn Momboisse and Dale Byrne 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 and stressing the importance of protecting our heritage. Scroll to the bottom to get information about 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!

Here is a list of currently available tours and blogs. For more information see the story below the links.

1. Fairy Tale Houses

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 

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

2. Off the Beaten Path

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

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. Downtown Carmel in One Hour 

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

5. Monterey Fisherman's Wharf

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

6. Monterey Cannery Row

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

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. Carmel Driving Tour

This tour, produced by our friend Bob Hamilton, will take you behind the scenes to see a Carmel by the Sea that is as much a feeling as it is a place. Carmel is a village founded by "the creatives"....writers, painters, poets, actors, producers and photographers. They all came here over 100 years ago, because it offered unlimited peace and beauty as well as a unique freedom to reach for the stars - undimmed by street lights because they're not allowed in Carmel. You'll see and hear the stories of the outdoor Forest theater, historic hotels like the Pine Inn, Cypress Inn and La Playa hotel. You’ll visit the famous Comstock Houses, the Murphy houses, Robinson Jeffers Tor House and even Frank Lloyd Wright's "Cabin on the Rocks." 

VoiceMap Carmel-by-the-Sea Driving Tour (Produced our friend Bob Hamilton)

There isn't a blog version of this tour.

10. Behind the Front Window Walking Tour of Ocean Avenue  

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

Coming Soon

10. COMING SOON: Carmel to Limkiln Park (Big Sur) Driving Tour (will do final test as soon as SIP ends)

11. COMING SOON: Carmel Mission Area Walking Tour (Revising to shorten it up)

12. COMING SOON: Carmel Art Walk Walking Tour (This has been delayed due to COVID and the changing environment of art galleries in Carmel)

13. COMING SOON: Carmel to Santa Cruz Driving Tour

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!

The VoiceMap tours are $4.99 online at www.voicemap.me or on Viator/Trip Advisor or you can stop by the Chamber Visitors Center in Carmel Plaza to get a discounted price of $3.99. The helpful VC volunteers will also assist you in downloading the free VoiceMap App and tours and give you some pointers and a souvenir brochure of the tour.

We think you will find these tours to be a great way to get acquainted first-hand with our community. For instructions on how to install the VoiceMap app and download the tours click here.

You can get an overview of all the tours here. The inventory of the current tours and blogs follow. Check back for updates as more walking and driving tours are planned. Be sure to read the overview of the tours to find the starting point and other useful information.