Carmel dog beach is hands down our ultimate 5 star, “must see in Carmel” experience.
No list of things to do in Carmel could be complete without a visit to Carmel dog beach. While there are a number of area beaches accessing the ocean, including Monastery Beach further south along Highway 1 and the Carmel River inlet beach, “the” beach to visit is for a 5 star experience is just a few blocks west of downtown. The mile long white sand playground extends from just below the ninth hole of famed Pebble Beach Golf Course (which sits up on a bluff), south, until it reaches an outcropping separating it from the Carmel River outlet beach. It is spectacular, and this Carmel dog beach has to make your list of “must see in Carmel.”
Here, there’s a connection with the majesty of nature — the endless ocean, the hardy cypress with their wind-blasted contours, the rugged backdrop of “Big Sur” jagged rock bluffs — all calling you to let go and surrender just this moment to true awe. And when you think it can’t get any better than this, you feel the whoosh of a dog (or multiples thereof), whizzing by with that wide-eyed, near-delirious look of “I must be dreaming this is so awesome!” (For the record, the City of Carmel-by-the-Sea requires that all dogs be under voice control of the owners. It is a premier dog friendly trail, but, anecdotally, we’ve been told you can be cited if your dog is more than 25 yards from you, ostensibly because outside of that range you might miss your “duty call” to pick up the poop.)
And now that you’re convinced nothing will beat this experience, you pull out a carefully chosen, ice-cold or otherwise perfect for the occasion adult beverage, and indulge all five senses in a most excellent 5 star experience. (Yes, alcoholic beverages are allowed on the beach — not on the scenic trail on the bluffs above, or in your car if the weather turns chilly, just on the beach, and only between the hours of 7:00 am and 10:00 pm. We can live with that!)
How fortunate that we were directed to this little gem in Carmel! The 35-acre Mission Trail Nature Preserve is a woodland adjacent to the town of Carmel and the Carmel Mission (officially, the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo). This little treasure trove of peace, ease and splendor is like finding a national park, walking distance from your favorite fine dining and shopping experiences!
What a soul-cleansing, 5 star refresh of solace and verdant beauty to share with your four-legged friends! The more than three miles of maintained trails in the Mission Trail Nature Preserve areas are all dog friendly trails – great places to experience with the little ones we may be caring for at the time (we also enjoy interacting with other canine characters we encounter along the way!).
The size and scale of Carmel makes it an easy place to wander and explore – when you’re looking for things to do in Carmel, you won’t go wrong taking the time to explore Mission Trail Nature Preserve!
How to find it:
There are five entrances: Mountain View Ave, Rio Road (across from the Carmel Mission), 11th Avenue, Martin Road and Hatton Road. There are no vehicles allowed within the preserve, however, there are a handful of street parking sites available at the Hatton Road entrance by the Flanders’ Mansion (an elegant home built in 1925 which was purchased by the city in the ’70’s, but is not currently in use – the area around the Flanders’ Mansion is marked as an arboretum, which has some species identified for visitors, plus some benches for enjoying the views [unfortunately, dogs are not allowed in the arboretum area]).