Travel / March 8, 2020

January in Carmel is the best time to visit*contains affiliate links

Our family owns a beach house very close to Carmel California and we have been enjoying Monterey and Carmel day visits for many years. Our little girls love the Monterey Bay Aquarium (truly one of the best aquariums we have ever visited). The pier by the aquarium has so many good shops and toy stores for the kids. Over the years, we have secretly discovered that about the 2nd to 3rd week in January, the weather is gorgeous. Prices are lower in January, so take our little secret and book your after-holiday blues trip to make life more exciting again!

Romantic Getaway in Carmel California

If you are on a couples trip and can make it off the beaten path, many antique shops can be found on Cannery Row, along with art galleries and coffee shops. This place is my favorite. I could spend hours there (without kids)!

For our anniversary weekend, we planned an adults only itinerary. If you are taking the kids, Carmel still has plenty to do for the day. The beach is right off the Pebble Beach Golf Course, so you can play by one of the cliffs under the golf course for a little wind break.

Places To Stay in Carmel California

There are many Carmel California hotels you can choose from, but our favorite place to stay for adults is the Lamp Lighter Inn. They have such a great common area with an outdoor fireplace and breakfast outside in their beautiful landscaped garden. It is the closest you will get to the beach. If you are not a B&B person,. The other place we have stayed is at the Pine Inn. Such a great location and a cozy, traditional feel. If you want to stay off the beaten path with the locals, then Mission Ranch Inn is the place to be. This Carmel California lodging is so beautiful, and the late night piano bar has been known to host a celebrity or two.

carmel california

Where to Eat What to Order and Nightcaps

Our first night in town, we ate at Flying Fish Grill. The menu has been the same for 20 years and you can tell they really have it down. The atmosphere is traditional Japanese and has good dark lighting. The tables are private. I cannot tell you how many dates we have been on, and we are sitting in the worst seats by the bathrooms or by the kitchen in bright light, (welcome to our inside joke). We ordered the Almond Seabass and the Black Cod for entrees and the crab tower for an appetizer. The food is very well prepared and very mild. I really enjoyed the freshness and how they blended simple ingredients to make something special. The only thing I would skip is the crème brûlée, not sure what happened, but it was way off. We were so full after dinner that I made my husband go check out the DJ at Barmel. The DJ would play the whole song, and they were all old school hip-hop tracks. I wish DJs would spin the record sooner, but we danced off some of the dinner and headed to our beach house.


The next day, we had lunch at John’s favorite Pho restaurant, The Noodle Place. All the soups are so good, especially the dim sum! There is also a really good French bakery in the plaza and some good shops. After that, we headed back over to Ocean Ave. to do some shopping. There is a second hand designer store called Foxy Couture that I wanted to check out but closed early for the day, bummer because Golden Goose and Chanel were in the window. So I popped into Paloosh to see what was new and exciting. Flare jeans and button down blouses were among the racks. Shopping at art galleries and home boutiques is so fun to explore together.

carmel california

We went wine tasting at Galante and then headed over to our dinner reservation at 7th and Dolores. The drinks and steak are so amazing. I dream of the steak and desserts, but this meal is not cheap. Plan on spending over $100 a person for drinks and dinner. John had the leg of lamb, which was also incredible. We ended our night at the Mission Ranch Inn for piano karaoke with the locals. Always a scene and always a place for people to watch. There are simply tons of Carmel restaurants where you can satisfy your cravings.

Carmel California is such a beautiful place to visit, live, and experience. The flowers, restaurants, and small nooks to get warm will leave a special place in your heart. If you can visit in January, make it happen!

But if Mexico is your next destination trip, here’s a little travel guide, especially if you’re planning to go to Punta Mila specifically.