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Top Rated Attractions in Carmel-by-the-Sea

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Golden Bough Theatre

The historic building that houses the Golden Bough Theatre was occupied by the Carmel Arts and Crafts Club for nearly 100 years. It continues its legacy as a center for creativity as a performance site for the Pacific Repertory Theatre. The Circle Theatre, a round stage venue, is located just below the Golden Bough playhouse.

Carl Cherry Center for the Arts

Art exhibits are held year-round in the gallery portion of this venue, while small onstage productions take place in adjacent Cherry Hall. (The word "hall" is a bit of a misnomer as the theater seats only 50 people.) This is quite the community venue. It has been established for more than 50 years. Its small size and central location make it ideal for experimental and children's theater groups. The gallery shows a broad spectrum of styles and media, often featuring local artists and crafters. Note: Credit card acceptance varies by event. See website for schedules and more.

Point Lobos State Natural Reserve

If you are an outdoor enthusiast who revels in thrilling adventures, then Point Lobos State Natural Reserve is for you. Vast green spaces, rich wildlife, and protected marine habitats are what you can expect during your trip to this expansive state park. Exciting marine excursions, including scuba diving, snorkeling, and kayaking, await visitors. Seals, gray whales, sea otters, and sea lions are some of the magnificent creatures that call these waters home. Apart from all this, avid hikers can embark on exhilarating explorations of the trails winding through Point Lobos.

Tor House & Hawk Tower

Tor House, one of the most prominent attractions in Carmel, was the home of poet Robinson Jeffers and his family from 1919 to 1999. This piece of property located on Carmel Point has an absolutely breathtaking view of the coastline. The property consists of a stone house, Celtic tower and an English garden. A tour of the facility is highly recommended to learn about the famous poet's life.

Carmel Walks

This inexpensive and spectacular two-hour guided tour takes you through all the hot spots, back streets and secret pathways of this unique town. See places haunted by famous authors and artists. See historical buildings and many off-the-beaten-track places. The tour has been raved about in many, many media outlets including Bay Area Back Roads and USA Today. Definitely not a thing to miss, this is a perfect way to familiarize yourself with Carmel.

Carmel Mission Basilica

Also known as Mission Carmel Basilica and more formally, as Mission San Carlos Borromeo del Rio Carmelo, this was the second of the nine missions founded by Father Junipero Serra. The area was originally chosen for its agricultural possibilities in 1771, but the temperate climate and exquisite landscape soon made it Father Serra's favorite. The building, which fell into ruins in the 19th Century and has since been completely restored, exhibits classic fortress-like architecture, with thick, bougainvillea-covered walls and a central courtyard. A Moorish-style bell tower contains nine bells and is open to the public. The steps to climb the tower are a bit steep, but the views from that vantage point are magnificent.

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