Neighborhood Guide: Carmel, California

Perched along California’s central coast — on the Monterey Peninsula south of San Fransisco — sits Carmel, a small city with an outsized reputation as home to some of the most impressive natural landscapes in the world. Big Sur, Pebble Beach, Point Lobos; these are the attractions that draw visitors from far and wide. Despite its reputation as an international destination, Carmel is exceptionally quaint, said Douglas Elliman’s Zak Freedman, who was born and raised there. “Growing up we never locked our doors, and that’s part of its charm,” he said.

Want to explore Carmel like a local? We sat with Freedman to talk about his hometown and, with the help of Instagram, tour some of its iconic locations—join us!

The Views

The coastline around Carmel, highlighted by Big Sur, is protected as a marine sanctuary and is the largest stretch of undeveloped coast in the continental United States. This video, shot by Freedman, showcases the area’s beauty in breathtaking detail.

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The Vibe

With flashes of bohemian energy, Carmel has a unique character all its own. “From the architecture to the vibe, Carmel feels more like a beach town in southern France than a coastal city in the U.S.,” said Freedman.

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The Food

Fueled by fresh ingredients farmed from Monterey Bay to the north and the Salinas Valley to the east, Carmel offers a dining experience to satisfy even the most discerning palette. “You could go to a different restaurant every night of the year and never run out of options,” Freedman said. A must try for any visitor? Clint Eastwood’s Mission Ranch.

The Culture

At the turn of the 20th Century, Carmel was settled as a sanctuary for artists inspired by its natural beauty. That relationship is just as strong today as Carmel continues to draw creatives of all types, from artists to photographers, poets, writers and more to its shores.

The Escapes

From whale-watching to hiking, horseback riding to surfing, Carmel offers any number of activities to relax the mind and nourish the soul. And for golfers there’s Pebble Beach Golf Links, probably the most famed public golf course in the world. Host of six major championships, Pebble Beach hugs the rugged shoreline of Carmel Bay and offers stunning views of the sea. “Best golf in the world,” said Freedman. “And there’s a fun restaurant – The Bench – right along the 18th hole.”

To find your perfect home in Carmel or the surrounding area, search our collection of California homes on

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