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How Expensive Is Carmel-by-the-Sea?

How Expensive Is Carmel-by-the-Sea?

Spending a day, vacationing, or moving there, we have assessed how expensive Carmel-by-the-Sea can be for you.

Natasha Kouyoumjian


6 min read

September 30, 2022

Disclaimer: is not receiving any type of compensation for reviewing any of the products mentioned in this article.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a stunning location known for its coastal scenery and regional parks. Traveling to Monterey with the Carmelite brothers, Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino found this astonishing city which he named in their honor. When exploring Carmel-by-the-Sea, you’ll spot stellar mid-century modern architecture and quaint cottages. You’ll be taken away by the unique art galleries and boutiques; even taste a dash of Spanish history.

Whether you’re living in Carmel, CA, or you have an explorer’s curiosity, you’ll find this town to be the ultimate dream destination for outdoor lovers thanks to a range of natural locales to explore. If you’re looking to relocate to this part of California, those highlights are all you need to know about living in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Rent in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Moving to Carmel-by-the-Sea guarantees beautiful landscapes to gaze at every day.

Median rent: $3,235.
The average home price in Carmel-by-the-Sea starts from $3,235. Although it is a little pricier than other cities in Cali, this place is completely worth it. If you’re looking for a change of lifestyle and positive vibes, Carmel-by-the-Sea can have a therapeutic effect on residents. Just imagine waking up happy every day and living in the blissful combination of beaches and mountains.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Carmel-by-the-Sea can be more affordable than you may think.

If you’ve taken care of your rental considerations, you’re halfway there. Compared to its rent, Carmel-by-the-Sea’s cost of living is somewhat more agreeable. Here’s a breakdown of what a day of living in Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA looks like for a single adult based on recent data.

Overall: $153.66
Grocery: $9.14
Health: $15
Housing: $69
Utilities: $6.8
Transportation: $31
Common taxes: $22.72

Budget for a Day in Carmel-by-the-Sea

The vibrant lifestyle of Carmel-by-the-Sea makes it a popular destination for travelers.

While Carmel-by-the-Sea is a dreamland for many, travelers love this city for its prime combo of history and holiday. You don’t have to be living in Carmel, CA to feel like a local. Whether you buy anything or not, the town is all about engaging with a vibrant lifestyle. Naturally, we have our top picks for those looking to spend a day or three in this magnetizing destination.

Fun Free Things to Do on a Budget in Carmel-by-the-Sea

1. Point Lobos State Reserve Park

Point Lobos State Reserve Park is among the most gorgeous landmarks in Carmel.

Location:  62 CA-1, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.
Fees: $10 per vehicle

This all-season destination has visitors awestruck. If you’re living in Carmel-by-the-Sea, or simply Carmel vacation-visiting, Point Lobos State Park must be added to your bucket list. This destination ranks among California’s top must-visit state parks because of its unique coastal wilderness and oceanside trails. An 8-minute drive from Carmel will take you to the most exceptional flora and fauna California offers. This state park has some top-ranked trails including Cypress Grove and Bird Island trails. If you’re planning on a weekend getaway, this can turn out to be a good way to spend a day at Carmel-by-the-Sea. Don’t forget to leave your furry friends at home since they’re not allowed on this trail.

2. Carmel Mission Basilica

This Mission Basilica in Carmel is a wonder worth checking out.

Location:  3080 Rio Rd, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.
Fees for adults: $6.50
Fees for seniors: $4
Fees for children: $2 

Established in 1771, this Mission Basilica is an ancient relic sitting in Carmel-by-the-Sea.  With its active community of worshipers, the church is still open and even available to visitors and a museum. Spanish missionaries who were living in Carmel, CA, during the Spanish colonization built this Basilica as a way to remain closer to their community. Even one of the church’s members – Father Junipero Serra — is now buried there. Check out the original tower and the bell and make sure you explore the colorful gardens and the stunning fountain. And if you want to avoid the parking struggle be sure to arrive early in the day.

3. Scenic Highway 1

Pull over and stretch your legs while strolling around the mesmerizing Pacific Coast.

Location: G3FF+CMH, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.
Fees: None.

If you’re more into road trips than hiking, pack up the car and go on a highway drive on Scenic Highway 1. This is the most organic way to take in the vibes of Carmel-by-the-Sea. On one side of the highway, you’ll be flanked by the stunning view of the coastline; and on the other side, you’ll be spotting one retro cottage after the other. This stop can be that touristy unexpected activity in Carmel you were looking for. Don’t forget to stop the car at a few lookout points to take photos, or sit on a bench for a while to take in the view. Be sure to take the short cypress-lined trails to stretch your legs. Pups are allowed on these trails as long as they are on a lead.

4. Carmel Beach, California


This beach combines the two extremes of mystery and calmness of the pacific ocean.

Location: Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.
Fees: free of charge/free parallel parking till midnight.

Even if you’re living in Carmel-by-the-Sea, it’s hard to know all the best spots without a little research. Heading down Ocean Avenue you eventually reach the sands of Carmel Beach. Guarded with a belt of cypress trees, this cove is the guaranteed fun-time beach in Carmel. You can have a beach picnic with your family and your pups or a dip in the ocean. Surfing is another good option since the Big Sur waves reach this shore, giving the ocean vibrant energy. For a romantic or relaxing afternoon, you can take a stroll on the seashore, dipping your toes in the waters while gazing at the pink-orange sunset.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Suggestions if You’re Looking to Spoil Yourself

If you’re working with a slightly bigger budget, there are so many ways to spoil yourself in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Treating yourself with entertaining diversions at times can be just as effective.  You can’t go wrong with these cool opportunities to take in the culture of the place as well as do some shopping. 

5. Ocean Avenue

Restaurants, a view, and a beautiful shopping center is all you need to spoil yourself in the pedestrian-friendly areas of Carmel.

Location: Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.

It’s no vacation without some shopping, right? We’re guessing the shopaholics agree. For a more relaxed way to explore the city on foot, Carmel-by-the-Sea is the most pedestrian a city can get. This makes Ocean Avenue the perfect place to explore a variety of unique shops and charming local businesses. But for a more luxurious getaway, check out this hidden haven in Carmel Valley.

6. Carmel Art Association Space

Location: Dolores Street between 5th &, 6th Ave, Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921.

This town is known for being a haven for artistic minds. Many artists came here in the early 1900s and transformed Carmel-By-The-Sea into a center of artistic expression. This artistic legacy has also shaped the city itself as many of the eclectic homes and shops of Carmel-By-The-Sea were designed by artists to mimic the architecture of an English hamlet. Today, the city’s galleries exhibit this rich history in the form of countless classic and modern art compositions, in addition to performing arts. As the oldest art gallery in town, the Carmel Art Association Space is one of the best attractions the city has to offer.

7. Sunset Center

While visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can catch a good show at the Sunset Center.

Location: San Carlos St, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923.

If you’re willing to treat yourself while staying in Carmel-by-the-Sea, pay a visit to the Sunset Center. Piano concerts, quartets, dog stunts, and dance performances are only a few of the things going on in this performance area. Make sure to catch a show for good entertainment at night and a little mingling afterward.

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