Things to sea in Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea!

Pariswi Tewari/Staff

The first three-day weekend of 2019 has come and gone — and many of us are probably still scratching our heads as to where the time went. Maybe you locked yourself in your room to study, or perhaps you embarked on new adventures with your best friends. Regardless of how you spent Presidents’ Day Weekend, we’re preparing you early for your next government-designated (or self-proclaimed) holiday. Here are a few things to do in some of NorCal’s famous beach towns!

Take a walk in Downtown Carmel

This charming, beautiful beach town has a lot to offer — despite its quaint feel. Downtown Carmel is right by the beach and has plenty of great restaurants, shopping, expansive art galleries and eclectic little shops along the way. Some of our personal favorite dessert stops are the Cottage of Sweets (try its fudge or its nougat … seriously) and the Carmel Bakery. If we haven’t sold you on any of this yet, Carmel is also extremely dog-friendly. No matter how many times we’ve visited this town, the downtown magic never gets old.

Stop for a warm coffee

While San Francisco coffee shops often bleed hipster prints and expensive minimalist furniture, the coffee shops in Carmel embrace the idea of stopping in for a quick caffeine recharge. Given that the weather’s been a little chilly lately, a warm coffee might do just the trick while you’re cruising around downtown. A few shops to check out are Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar, Lafayette Bakery & Café, Carmel Valley Coffee Roasting Company and the Carmel Coffee House & Roasting Company.

Visit the Thomas Kinkade Art Gallery

We could have lumped this into the first suggestion, but this place deserves its own dedication. You have to go on an adventure just to get here! Hidden in plain sight, many first-timers walk by this gallery without so much as a second glance. A small sign for the Thomas Kinkade Art Gallery hangs in between the hustle and bustle of coffee shops and boutiques. To get to this art gallery, you will have to follow a small passageway under a thicket of green plants — wow, already so artsy and edgy! The art gallery is quaint but fascinating, showcasing some of Kinkade’s best pieces (including a great Disney collection!)

Hit the beach

The town is called Carmel-by-the-Sea for a reason! Even during the winter months, you can still get away with lying on the beach with a good book for a few hours. Just remember to bring blankets! Since Downtown Carmel is right on the sea, you can visit the beach after walking around for a few hours to relax and unwind. Monterey also has some great beaches to drive through and enjoy!

Take the 17-mile drive

This suggestion is more applicable if you have a friend with a car or if your group has decided to rent a GIG for the day. This is a beautiful, scenic drive along the California coast with tons of opportunities for your next Instagram post or to simply soak in the view.

 Tour (and eat) in Downtown Monterey

Monterey is well-known for many places, such as the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Dennis the Menace Park and Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. You could easily spend a day or two in Monterey alone! If your day in Carmel is winding down and you’re looking for a bite to eat outside of the Carmel restaurant scene, however, Downtown Monterey has a wide array of choices with a vibrant city to walk around after dinner. Our family favorite is the gorgeous Rosine’s Restaurant, especially during Christmas time! Rosine’s is a beautiful American restaurant with great food and a huge selection of desserts.

With these options in mind, we hope we’ve helped you find your next holiday hot spot. Be shore to tag us in any pictures you share on social media and remember, don’t fall victim to pier pressure! With midterms coming up fast, take time to coast now and then.

Contact Pariswi Tewari at [email protected].