Exploring Carmel-by-the-Sea

A preferred getaway spot for decades, Carmel is a reliable mix of tried-and-true favorites and notable newcomers — whether your interest is restaurants, lodging, activities or all three.
Quail Lodge
Ranch-style rooms at Quail Lodge.

At Carmel-by-the-Sea, you can live out your Big Little Lies sweater-swaddled wine-drinking fantasies close to shore or go on rugged yet luxe adventures on the sunnier inland side. Here’s how you can have it all.


Fried chicken can be elegant. Looking for proof? See La Balena’s pollo fritto. Half of a Fogline Farm chicken is crusted with arborio (aka Italian short-grain rice) and served with a small side salad. Supremely crispy, the chicken used to only be served certain days but is now available almost daily. Other standouts at this unassuming, hospitable spot include bruschetta, topped with Séka Hills olive oil, and a robust wine list.


Land Rover Driving Center

Hit the open road at the Land Rover Experience Driving Center.

Most cars are capable of so much more than what everyday roads allow. For the ultimate test drive, take a new Land Rover out and off the road via the Land Rover Experience Driving Center. One of only three official Land Rover driving schools in the country and the only one this side of the Mississippi, the Carmel property boasts 180 acres covered with hand-hewn trails to explore. Open all seasons, the courses are designed to improve your skills behind the wheel. With an expert at your side, you’ll tackle steep inclines and declines, sharp turns, side tilts and water crossings if weather allows.


Quail Lodge

Ranch-style rooms at Quail Lodge.

On an 850-acre property dotted with vibrant gardens and sprawling meadows is Quail Lodge. Situated inland beyond the fog bank, it offers all the trappings of resort life, including on-site dining, comfortable ranch-style accommodations, an award-winning Robert Muir Graves–designed golf course, heated pool and more. While the hotel hosts a variety of auto-centric events and activities like vintage car rallies, it also provides a fleet of e-bikes for guests to use. Hills are no problem with electric assist; you can easily avoid Highway 1 by using a path behind the Barnyard shops; and a 20-minute cruise brings you to wine tasting and dining in town.

This article originally appeared in Marin Magazine’s February 2020 issue under the headline “Tank of Gas”.

For more articles on California getaways, check out our Travel + Outdoors page.

Kasia PowlowskaKasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include traveltrendsmushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction, and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is a never-ending endeavor.

Categories: Go, U.S. Travel