Carmel : California


What It Is Like to Retire in Carmel

Retirees with very big budgets can enjoy a peaceful and lovely retirement in beautiful Carmel, California on the Monterrey Peninsula. The town, also known as Carmel-By-The-Sea itself is compact and lovely in almost every way. At the foot of Ocean Ave. is a picture perfect white sandy beach. From it you can see the Pebble Beach golf course to the north, along with cliffs, rocks, and foaming surf. Downtown has cute shops and many good restaurants. Homes are beautiful and surrounded by lush greenery and flowers. Clint Eastwood is a former Mayor and still lives here. Friar Junípero Serra founded the perfectly restored and beautiful Spanish Mission in 1771 and is buried here. The town has a long history as an artists colony with many familiar names who have lived here. The city's general plan describes as "a village in a forest overlooking a white sand beach".

Just to the north is the famous 17 Mile Drive, which winds its way past magnificent homes, the Lone Cypress, seals and sea lions on rocks pounded by roaring surf, and elegant golf clubs with household names like Pebble Beach, Spyglass, and Spanish Bay. There is a toll but well worth it if you are in the area. To the South along beautiful Route 1 lies Big Sur and its State Parks full of towering redwoods.


Where to Retire in Carmel and Home Prices

Real estate prices are sky high even by California standards. Zillow reports the Home Value Index to be over $1.8 million in mid-2021. There are smaller homes and some condominiums. The town is compact and you can walk to anything, including the public beach.

What Is Special about Carmel

Perfect climate, beautiful downtown, relaxed atmosphere, and walkability. If you can afford it, it is an ideal place to live. Its planned and controlled development and its long history as an artists colony, along with the seaside, make it an astonishingly beautiful place. One curious holdover from its early days as an artists colony is that there are no street addresses for the homes, which originally were named by their artist owners. The Post Office does not provide home delivery.

What Is Not Special about Carmel

The biggest drawback is the cost of living - it is only available to people of great means or who lived here before real estate went out of reach.

Who Will Like Retirement in Carmel

People who like the beach and living in a small but vital town would love it here. In the last Presidential campaigns voters overwhelmingly went for Democratic candidates.

Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism is a big industry here as many people have driving down California’s coastal Route 1 on their bucket list. Support services for the area’s rich lifestyle is also important, and that could afford employment opportunities like working at a golf course for retirees looking for part time work.

Climate and Physical Environment

Carmel is on the Pacific Coast, which obviously has a huge effect on climate. Winters are milder than inland and summers are cooler. Even in June it can get chilly. Average temp in January is in the 40's and in July in the 60's, with big variations by time of day.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

The town has a rich cultural lifestyle including a library. Pacific Repertory Theatre presents a year-round season of 10–12 plays and musicals in three Carmel theatres: The 330-seat Golden Bough Theatre, the 120-seat Circle Theatre and the 540-seat outdoor Forest Theater. The Carmel Bach Festival began in 1935 as a festival of concerts that celebrate the work of J.S. Bach. Restaurants like the small but packed Dametra offer wonderful and casual dining experiences. After the 1906 San Francisco earthquake Carmel was inundated with musicians, writers, painters and other artists turning to the establishing artist colony after the bay city was destroyed. The new residents were offered home lots for ten dollars down and no interest.


Crime is not allowed in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Medical Facilities

The nearest hospitals are in Monterey, and San Francisco is not that far.


Nearby Monterrey has a small public airport and train connections north and south. I 5 is a busy conduit in the same directions.

Valuable Links

Carmel By the Sea

Wikipedia page for Carmel-by-the-Sea


What people are saying about Carmel

Comment from philmdev on Carmel
We returned from celebrating our 40th anniversary with a few days in Monterey and Carmel. Next time we\\\'ll just skip Monterey and spend all our time in Carmel.  Personally, I can\\\'t say enough good things about this little slice of heaven. If you like Spanish architecture you\\\'ll love Carmel. If you like fancy small shops (especially if you\\\'re buying for grandchildren!) you\\\'ll love Carmel. If you like a slower pace than the normal San Fran or LA you\\\'ll love Carmel.  To say it\\\'s expensive is an understatement. However, it\\\'s not much more than Naples and probably less than Miami. You can buy a house right on Ocean drive (please make sure you try this one-way road if you go there) for about $8-10 million. Wait until the crash and they will be significantly cheaper.  However, I do have a different opinion with your comment about 17 mile drive. We last did this about 35 years ago so obviously our memories are probably not the best. When we first made the drive we thought it was mostly by the water. The new one isn\\\'t. To have to pay $10 was a rip-off. Plus it\\\'s so built up and the houses are so ugly. Typical California. It\\\'s just too bad.  So, go to Carmel. By a place there if you can. Watch out for forest fires! And enjoy one of the prettiest small towns in America.
Posted by admin on August 02, 2018

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