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Explore Carmel

We’ve gathered our staff’s top picks for restaurants, galleries, activities, shopping and hidden treasures. We have local favorites, best spots for sipping cocktails, where to go for a romantic dinner, places you can grab a picnic for the beach, whale watching excursions, and insider knowledge on the best ways to soak up the Carmel scene. Here are our featured picks for Summer!

Summer Whale Watching


Whales come and go off the Monterey Bay, but there are a few who visit in the summer months. Blue Whales make an appearance in the Summer and Fall; Humpback Whales can be seen throughout the summer; Orcas, which are technically not whales, are common in early Summer. Check out Princess Monterey Whale Watching– they offer year-round whale watching tours led by marine biologists and naturalists.


This Gallery is NOT to be Missed


The Weston Gallery is one of the oldest and most prominent art and photo galleries. If you are an admirer of photography, don’t miss The Weston Gallery. Start your visit here to gain inspiration before venturing out on a photographic journey of Carmel and Monterey. Many photos from renowned photographers Ansel Adams and Edward Weston feature photography from the surrounding Monterey Bay. Visit Weston Gallery on 6th Avenue.


Rooftop Cocktail Vibes


Summer calls for enjoying your libations on a rooftop under the sun or under the stars. You’re in luck, because less than a block from The Getaway is Vesuvio’s Restaurant and if you’re in the know, you walk in the door and head directly up the stairs where you’ll walk out to a buzzing rooftop with firepits, music and friendly bartenders. If you’re looking to pair a snack with your drinks, they have sushi and other specialties, too.


Summer is for Picnics


Before heading to Carmel Beach, pick up some provisions for a perfect picnic. Don’t fret if you don’t have a blanket, The Getaway has beach towels to borrow or you can purchase a fancy beach mat. Across the street on the first floor of Carmel Plaza you’ll find The Cheese Shop that has an impressive selection of domestic and imported cheeses, plus all the accoutrements like crackers, bread, honey, tapenade, even caviar. And don’t forget the wine, they have that, too.