It’s been 12 years since we last visited Carmel, California.
That was well before we started our family. Those were the days when we’d take spontaneous road trips just because we could.
We recently had the opportunity to visit, once again, and introduce the children to the beautiful town of Carmel. When I think of Carmel, the words that come to mind are charming and romantic. There’s just something alluring about this beach town. But it’s also a very family friendly place with plenty of activities to do with children.
Let’s get to the list!
1. Stay At A Picturesque Inn
Hofsas House is a family-owned boutique inn. It’s hard to miss the cute pink building. We unapologetically took way too many pictures here.
Hofsas House has 38 uniquely decorated rooms. My family was generously hosted in a spacious 2 bedroom, 2 bath suite. The accommodations were perfect for us and the kids fully enjoyed the space. It was nice to have a real wood burning fireplace and our private balcony with ocean view was excellent for watching the sunset. There’s also a heated pool and dry sauna on site. Each night the kids were able to take a swim and warm up in the sauna.
After one of our breakfasts (included in our stay), Carrie Theis, the owner of the inn, graciously sat with Morgan and I and gave us some insider information about the property. We were fascinated by the history of this boutique inn.
Hofsas House has been around for 70 years, spanning 3 generations. What started out as 2 cottages has grown into what it is today. We can’t wait until our travels bring us back to Carmel. Hofsas House is where we’ll be!
2. Have A Picnic On The Beach
Hofsas House is within walking distance to many of Carmel’s shops and restaurants. A short stroll brought us to 5th Avenue Deli, a local favorite. They offer everything you could possibly imagine for a terrific picnic on the beach, from sammies and salads to tacos and samosas.
After picking our goodies, we headed straight to Carmel Beach. It’s about a 10 minute walk from the deli. The white sand made a perfect backdrop for our picnic.
Thank you, 5th Avenue Deli for our wonderful picnic.
3. Take A Leisurely Stroll Around The Village
Every which way you turn you’re bound to take a selfie. The fairytale cottages and secret passageways are just too pretty to pass up. We found a cute little candy shop, Cottage of Sweets, on Ocean Avenue. Inside they have fresh made fudge, imported chocolates, and other candies from around the world.
4. Visit The Wharf
Just a quick 10 minute drive north is Monterey’s Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Most of the restaurants offer tastings of their clam chowder outside of each entrance. We enjoyed walking along the wharf sampling each restaurant’s recipe. Some are buttery, others are herby. It’s fun to compare them all and ask the kids to describe the difference in flavors.
At the end you’ll find Big Fish Grill. You can’t miss it. It’s where you’ll find all the tourists taking pictures with the Captain, ourselves included.
There are panoramic views of the harbor no matter where you sit. The ambiance is casual which we appreciated. We felt welcomed brining our wildlings along. The service was great and the food was delicious. There was something for everyone in our family, even our pickiest eater was satisfied.
Thanks to Big Fish Grill for hosting us!
5. 17 Mile Drive
A visit to Carmel just isn’t complete without touring 17 Mile Drive. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore. We spent about 3 hours taking in all the sights. Here you’ll learn a bit of Monterey history all while enjoying nature.
Several of the stops have telescopes that the kids were able to reach thanks to a stepper.
Exploring tide pools is always a fun activity!
6. Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo
There are 22 missions scattered through California. Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo is easily one of the prettiest. Touring the mission is a great educational opportunity for the kids.
Located just 3 miles from Carmel is Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. Go on a nature hike near the shore where kids can try to look for seals, sea otters, and migrating gray whales.
It was such a treat to have our kids experience Monterey Bay Aquarium for the first time. It was Homeschool Day on the day we went. The aquarium hosts homeschoolers through their Homeschool Program. We were lucky enough to get tickets to this popular event. The kids loved exploring the aquarium and learning from all the different exhibits.
Carmel is filled with art galleries ranging from paintings to sculptures. When we spotted the Dr. Seuss Art Gallery, we just had to step inside. I mean, who doesn’t love Dr. Seuss?! The kids have been into The Lorax lately so this was a fantastic find.
No matter where we travel, the kids always want to go to a playground. Dennis The Menace Playground is located in El Estero Park near the wharf. There were plenty of play structures for the kids to spend a couple hours climbing, running, and playing. There’s also a little snack bar on site just in case someone gets hungry.
A special thanks to Carrie Theis from Hofsas House for hosting us for the weekend and helping us coordinate our activities. We had a wonderful time with the family!