15 Best Things to Do in Carmel Valley, CA

Carmel Valley, CA
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The unincorporated community Carmel Valley is a historical location in Monterey County.

Otherwise known as Carmel Valley Village, this community has been around since 1946 and features a land size of nearly 50 square kilometers.

When it comes to visiting this community, there are two main things you need to check out, the history and the wines.

Whether you want to explore museums or sample the long list of wines available in the area, Carmel Valley has plenty to offer.

Of course, if you're looking to check out places outside wine and history, there are a good share of different spots as well.

Bearing that in mind, here are the 15 best things to do in Carmel Valley, California:

Try Outdoor Activities at the Garland Ranch Regional Park

Name sign of Garland Ranch Regional Park
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Among the different places you can explore in Carmel Valley, the Garland Ranch Regional Park is the best spot to enjoy outdoor activities.

Set on West Carmel Valley Road and established in 1975, the park features a land size of over four thousand acres.

Within these vast acres of land, you can find several trails for you to hike through.

From these many trails, you have a chance to find different landscapes, such as dense oak woodlands.

Scenic view at Garland Ranch Regional Park
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Aside from leading to different landscapes, the trails feature different difficulty levels for hikers to enjoy.

Overall, you can find plenty of outdoor options to enjoy at the Garland Ranch Regional Park.

To get further information, you can consult with the on-site staff and check out park programs with them.

Rock formation in Garland Ranch Regional Park
Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

Try a Tasting Flight at Boekenoogen Winery

The Boekenoogen Winery is one of the older wineries you can find in Carmel Valley and features different types of wines for you to sample.

As a business running since 1998, the winery holds a long-running production that delivers quality products for people to enjoy.

To find the tasting room, you need to make your way to West Carmel Valley Road.

If there are less than four people in your group, you are free to do a drop-in tasting flight.

With the tasting flights at Boekenoogen Winery, you can do a tasting flight with either five wines or seven.

If you want to make a reservation, though, the best way is to contact the staff via their phone number.

Make a Stay at the Los Laureles Lodge

Enjoy a comfortable stay in Carmel Valley by booking a room at the Los Laureles Lodge.

The Los Laureles Lodge is a venue that holds a history that goes as far back as the 1830s.

When visiting this venue, you can find various accommodations you can choose to book.

Aside from the different accommodations featured in the lodge, you can enjoy various delicious meals at the restaurant and saloon.

Each day brings different menus for you to enjoy at the venue's eatery area, and if that isn't enough, there are sample menus you can check out online as well.

You can find the lodge by making your way to West Carmel Valley Road or contacting the staff for a reservation.

Get Wine and Beer at The Wine House

The Wine House may be a recent addition to Carmel Valley, but it stands out as a top location to get both beer and wine.

You can find this bar in the East Carmel Valley Road area and visit any day but Monday and Tuesday.

The bar offers a selection of bites you can pair with different bubbly drinks, wine, and beers.

When visiting the bar, you'll find that they operate on a first-come, first-serve basis with no reservations open at this time.

It may not be the most prominent spot for drinks compared to other places in Carmel Valley, but it is a fun spot to visit for some drinks and a break from exploring the community.

Indulge Yourself at the Bernadus Lodge and Spa

Treat yourself to some luxury by booking a stay at the Bernadus Lodge and Spa.

The Bernadus Lodge and Spa is a venue you can find at the West Carmel Valley Road area and features all kinds of facilities for you to enjoy.

When it comes to its accommodations, you can book a simple suit or indulge yourself in a villa space with different amenities.

More than the amenities you can relax with, you need to check out the spa section if you're looking to enjoy some pampering.

Outside of all this, you can also enjoy an outdoor meal and drink with the lodge's restaurant and bar.

With the Bernadus Lodge and Spa, there are plenty of options where you can treat yourself.

Learn about Glass at Leonoff Art Glass

If you're looking to explore the different shops and spots of interest in Carmel Valley, you need to check out Leonoff Art Glass.

Leonoff Art Glass is a glass studio that features a variety of glass sculptures and other decorative pieces.

One of their more prominent pieces is the colorful series of pumpkins which you can peruse in the gallery section of the store.

Should you be interested in having a glass piece for yourself, you can purchase from their store or book an appointment for a commission.

By visiting Leonoff Art Glass, you have a chance to get a unique souvenir.

Sample the Wines at the Joullian Vineyards

A barrel with Joullian Vineyards' name sign
Jim G from Silicon Valley, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're looking to indulge in different types of wines, you need to check out Joullian Vineyards.

Joullian Vineyards dates back to 1982 and currently stands as an ideal spot for weddings and other events.

Entrance to Joullian Vineyards' tasting room
Jim G from Silicon Valley, CA, USA, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

When it comes to the wines you can enjoy at this vineyard, they range from grape types, growing conditions, and the aging process.

Any wine enthusiast will find a selection of options to sample, including Syrah, Chardonnay, and Cabernet.

Whether you choose to tour the vast acres of the vineyard or book a sampling session, you can find plenty for you to explore at the Joullian Vineyards.

Visit the Hastings Natural History Reservation

To further explore the natural scenery available in Carmel Valley, you need to check out the Hastings Natural History Reservation.

Located at East Carmel Valley Road and surrounded by foothills, the reservation features a variety of habitats and facilities for you to check out.

A few of the habitats you can find on this reservation include woodlands and vast streams.

When it comes to facilities, you can find an aviary and museum, to name a few.

While the reservation does feature a long list of bird species you can look out for, there are several other species of wildlife you find.

Anyone who is a fan of wildlife will find plenty to enjoy when visiting the Hastings Natural History Reservation.

Grab a Meal and a Drink at The Running Iron Restaurant & Saloon

Find even more local treats by heading to The Running Iron Restaurant & Saloon.

Formerly known as the Stirrup Cup, The Running Iron Restaurant & Saloon is currently the best place to visit for a hearty meal and some beer.

Set within East Carmel Valley road, the restaurant features a selection of steaks and burgers, to name a few.

As an establishment that's been around for over forty years now, The Running Iron Restaurant & Saloon holds its share of history as a former cowboy hub.

Whether you want to check out the historical site or see what meals the restaurant has, you'll find your fill of history and meals.

Peruse Wines and Organic Products at the Folktale Winery and Vineyard

One of the main things that Carmel Valley is known for is the variety of wine places you can visit.

Among the different wineries and vineyards available in the community, the Folktale Winery and Vineyard stands out as a spot to visit for its idyllic scenery and varied products.

When visiting this venue, you can either book a session involving a delicious meal that pairs well with wine or book a brunch session.

More than offering different wines for you to sample, the Folktale Winery and Vineyard provides organic food and bath products that you can purchase on-site or online.

By visiting the Folktale Winery and Vineyard, you can enjoy a selection of wines and organic treats.

Make a Stop at Holman Ranch

Get a combination of wine and history by visiting the Holman Ranch.

The Holman Ranch established itself in 1928 and currently serves as a venue for several events.

When it comes to their wines, you can find a selection of Pinot Noir and Rose wines to sample, along with various red and white options.

You'll find that the vineyard and tasting room are in different locations, with the vineyard being at 60 Holman Road and the tasting room at West Carmel Valley Road.

At the vineyard, you can find plenty of beautiful views along with horse stables and rooms you can rent.

If you choose to book the tasting room, there are different menus you can choose to try.

Another option you can take is to peruse their online store and get their products shipped to you.

Either way, visiting this historical site can be a fun experience for you.

Enjoy Wines and Animals at the Cowgirl Winery

Head to Pilot road, and you can find the Cowgirl Winery.

The Cowgirl Winery is a venue that offers lovely views and can accommodate a maximum of eight people for their tasting room.

The winery may not have the widest selection of wines for you to try, but it is the only place where you can enjoy a glass of wine with farm animals roaming around.

By visiting the Cowgirl Winery, you can relax with some wine and get a chance to encounter some chickens for a fun experience.

Browse Jerome's Carmel Valley Market

Jerome's Carmel Valley Market is a prime spot to visit for anyone interested in local products.

Before gaining the name Jerome's Carmel Valley Market in 2016, the market held the name Carmel Valley Market in the 70s and Bennett’s Market before that.

While you can find plenty of produce and other products in the market, the point of interest you'll want to find is the different drinks you can indulge in, including beers and wines.

You can also look for the deli and enjoy yourself a sandwich.

Overall you can find plenty of treats to enjoy at this market.

Other than being a venue for you to explore local treats, you can also check out Jerome's Catering if you are interested.

To visit this market, you need to head for Chambers Lane.

Experience the Tasting Room Options at the Massa Estate Organic Vineyards

The Massa Estate Organic Vineyards is a vineyard that stands out for providing organic wines and has been around since the 1980s.

If you choose to book a tasting flight with this vineyard, there are three options you can choose.

While their tasting rooms may cater more to larger groups, they are worth experiencing for the views they provide.

Aside from checking out the vineyard and tasting spaces, you can check out events held at the venue if you choose to become a member.

As one of the many wineries; you can visit in Carmel Valley, Massa Estate Organic Vineyards is one of many places to offer unique wines.

Final Thoughts

Carmel Valley may be a prime location to enjoy various wines; there is much more to explore in this community.

For one thing, there is a selection of outdoor activities and natural sights to explore and enjoy.

In addition to wines, the community holds a selection of historical spots you can check out.

Consider Carmel Valley as your next destination for exploration and relaxation.

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