I love a good staycation. Sure, I love jet setting as much as the next travel junkie, but a staycation takes minimal planning and a fraction of the effort that a regular vacation requires. In my opinion, a staycation can be anywhere within an hour or two drive so you can easily bop off on a whim. I generally use a staycation as a creative reset, so am often working while I bask in the change of scenery. Because of this, I need an aesthetically pleasing hotel room that will help spark some inspiration and some vibey restaurants to unwind at after hours.
My top three tips for a staycation are 1) go during the work week if you can to avoid tourists, 2) find a cute boutique hotel with plenty of charm and character, and 3) compile a list of restaurants and bars you want to try in the area ahead of time.
My trip to Carmel-by-the-Sea wasn’t my first, so I’m pretty familiar with the area. However I still welcomed recommendations from Yelp and friends with open arms. Here’s the tea— where I stayed, what I ate, things I loved.
The Getaway Carmel
If we’re friends on the ‘gram you saw my incredible stay at The Getaway Carmel. This quaint, boutique hotel serves up all the beachy-chic vibes and I’m here for it. It’s conveniently located on Ocean Avenue (cue Yellowcard), so it’s within walking distance of all of the famous Carmel-by-the-Sea shops, restaurants, and wine bars. But most importantly, it’s a quick 15 minute jaunt down to Carmel Beach. If walking isn’t your jam, they offer complimentary beach cruisers for their guests to take for a spin.
There are fire pits around the property, which guests can enjoy for breakfast or during The Getaway’s complimentary wine happy hour. Admittedly, I was working so I spent a lot of time in my room— which also had a fireplace (y’all know I love my fires). The hotel room was equal parts beachy, trendy, cozy, and clean (an important footnote for 2020).
I personally prefer Carmel to Monterey because the downtown is cleaner and cuter, and the beach is unmatched. If you’re local, or planning a trip up the California coast, I can’t recommend The Getaway Carmel enough. Book your stay here.
You can grab a latte to go or dine in for brunch, but this isn’t your typical cafe. Stationæry puts a modern twist on your typical breakfast foods, and it’s good. The menu isn’t huge, but it doesn’t need to be. I ordered their avocado toast and an oat milk latte, and was very happy about the whole situation.
I found this Mexican restaurant on Yelp and I’m so glad I did. Pescadero had the best (and I mean the best) quinoa and black bean tacos. Plus, any restaurant that serves queso earns a quick A+ in my book. They were seating guests outside in a cute little courtyard, so it’s a great place to go grab chips and a skinny, spicy margarita.
Where are my Guy Fieri fans? Vesuvio was featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives so you know it’s worthy of a visit. Don’t hold me to this, but I think Vesuvio is the only rooftop dining in Carmel, and I love that for me. I got their fried risotto balls, a grilled artichoke (artichokes are a specialty of the area) and the truffle gnocchi— it was way too much food but I had to try it all. And it was all so, so good. It’s also worth noting this is just across the street from The Getaway (very convenient).
Carmel Valley Coffee
Coffee is a very important piece to any staycation puzzle— amiright? Carmel Valley Coffee is the epitome of a local beach-town coffee shop. It’s got small-town charm, it’s popular, but most importantly— it’s good. I got their almond milk latte!
Okay so if I’m being totally honest, I haven’t been here in a few years, but from what I remember it’s a good option for Italian food. It has a romantic atmosphere that almost makes you feel like you’re in a European countryside not on the California coast. And we love a good atmosphere.
Wineries in the valley
The wineries in Carmel Valley are a quick little 15 minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea, but the wine is worth the trek. Folktale & The Wine House are two that came highly recommended to me and they’re so cute. If you’ve never had wine from the California coast what are you doing?
I didn’t make it here, but this place comes with high praises from my boss, and she has good taste. If you go let me know what you think!