Skip to main content

The 5 Most Beautiful Natural Attractions in Carmel-by-the-Sea

The 5 Most Beautiful Natural Attractions in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Head down to Carmel-by-the-Sea with us and discover the most beautiful natural attractions in the breathtaking area.

Palig Dzadourian


4 min read

May 05, 2022

Take a break from the big scenes of California and head on over to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a small beach city located in Monterey Peninsula, known for its rich history, artistry, and natural scenery, it is sure to win you over. Relax on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with stretches of soft white sand, stunning views, and cottages that look like they came straight out of a fairytale. Carmel-by-the-Sea has a very unique aspect to it, as it feels like a private secluded breach even though it is quite a popular destination, a very rare occurrence indeed.

1. Point Lobos trails

Enjoy the Point Lobos trails while the sounds of the ocean relax you.

This gorgeous city has a lot of fun activities to discover, from the row of boutiques and art galleries found along the cobblestone streets to the natural attractions available for anyone visiting it. Carmel-by-the-Sea is often praised for its power in retaining its authenticity in an increasingly changing world, where a lot of locations have started becoming quite homogenous.

Most of the popular Carmel-by-the-sea attractions have something to do with their environment, whether it is hiking, swimming, or simply watching nature do its thing. Speaking of trails, there is a large number of hiking trails in Carmel Ca, you can take, filled with wonder and natural beauty.

The most frequented trail in Point Lobos, generally considered a moderately challenging hike, usually takes up to three hours to complete as it stretches on for about 6.7 miles. There is no fee to enter the Point Lobos trail itself, however, if you would like to park your car in their parking lot, there is a $10 fee. For those of you who hold an interest in discovering the wildlife of the area, you might want to bring a pair of binoculars with you, as you will be able to watch the otters of the area playing or bobbing up from underneath the water along with Point Lobos. How cute!

2. The China Cove

The China Cove is a hidden pocket of wonder where you can take pictures and take in the beauty of nature.

A small hidden gem, The China Cove is an incredibly enchanting natural attraction of Carmel, attracting professional photographers all around the world with its photogenic appearance and aesthetic element. You can reach the China Cove after almost having completed the Point Lobos trail, where you will see a small pocket beach with white sand, surrounded by natural rock formations, and emerald green vegetation all around. The cove got its name from a unique pink house called the China House, which was recognized as a landmark upon entering Newport Harbor for many mariners, built with the curved Chinese architecture based on the Buddhist belief that straight lines attract and serve as a hiding spot for evil spirits. Unfortunately, however, the house was demolished in 1980, so it is no longer possible to see its splendor.

Once you make it to the China Cove, you will be pleased to see that you can catch a glimpse of the whales swimming around in the water, an unforgettable sight in the Central Coast we are sure will be in your memories for a long time to come.

Recomended businesses

Show me
Recommended Businesses near

Discover the best of California. Our recommended businesses are top-quality and are committed to their communities.

3. Carmel River State Beach

This panoramic view of Carmel River State beach will give you a taste of what’s to come when you’re actually there. Lots of fun!

Taking a break from all that wonderful but surely tiring hiking and exploring, the Carmel River State Beach awaits, ready to offer you a relaxing and calming experience. Although the surf is hazardous and the waves are a bit perilous, the shore is very much safe and open to anyone willing to kick back and take in the striking beach views, the sound of the waves lulling you to sleep. Ample parking spaces are available, and while bonfires and BBQing aren’t allowed, you can definitely set up a picnic on the beach, or even bring your dogs and watch them play off-leash. A blueprint for a very fun afternoon after a very adventurous day.

4. Birdwatch at the Carmel Bird Sanctuary

With so many different avian species to see, which ones will catch your eye?

While you are enjoying your visit to the Carmel River State Beach, you can head over to the Carmel Bird Sanctuary for a very entertaining time. The Carmel River lagoon is world-renowned for its exceptionally high avian diversity, as well as for serving as a migratory hotspot for waders, ducks, raptors, and land birds. This isn’t surprising as the area has recorded over 350 species of birds, which is among the highest in the Golden State.

Take your binoculars out and start your bird-watching journey. The lagoon and river corridor upstream is home to the Carmel River bird sanctuary, where you will be able to witness what is basically a bird version of an airport, but with birds instead of planes. You can find pelicans, Western Gulls, Brandt’s Cormorant, and some landbirds which are among the more common species of the huge avian population of Carmel. If luck decides to knock on your door, you may even be able to see the endangered Snowy Plover on the beach. Be on the lookout and enjoy one of the most popular Carmel-by-the-sea tourist attractions.

5. Other attractions in Carmel-by-the-sea

Monterey holds no shortage of fun if you look in the right places.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is jam-packed with so many places to see, and while it should be the main focus of your visit when you are in the area, there are still a few locations to consider such as Monterey itself. Monterey is an ocean town famed worldwide for being the setting for John Steinback’s Cannery Row, with a pretty buzzing nightlife, presenting you with a list of things to do near Carmel ca. It also has a rich history and marine life, catering to both history buffs and animal lovers alike. What sets the difference between Monterey and Carmel-by-the-sea is the fact that the latter is much more laid back and designed for tourists to offer a good time to whoever’s visiting. Monterey is also more than capable of adding fun to the table with incredible things to do there, it is more of a working town, larger and more spread out which is the complete opposite of Carmel, a small town filled with tiny restaurants and shops. Both of them have their charm, so whichever one you prefer is completely up to personal taste.

The final but not least attraction near Carmel-by-the-sea is the infamous 17-mile drive. For only $11.25 per vehicle, you can embark on an exciting scenic adventure that will take you through Pebble Beach, the Pacific Grove, and the Monterey Peninsula. The entire drive takes approximately three hours, especially if you want to stop and take pictures of the incredible scenery along the way.

California voices


Have a great story to tell? A unique experience to write about? We’d love to hear it.

Learn more

RELATED Articles

Discover More

fueled by the power of California love
We’re committed to helping you discover the places, people and businesses that make our state Golden. Our online publication, updated daily, brings you all the content you need to live your California dreams. And that’s just the beginning…
Purpose section
Purpose section