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20 Towns Similar to Carmel By The Sea

Bixby Bridge ocean view point, Carmel by the Sea.

If you have been to Carmel By The Sea, the chances are good that you are yet to find a place that can “follow in its footsteps.” Carmel By The Sea is like a paradise we only see in the movies, created by talented cinematographers. It is picturesque and breathtakingly beautiful.

A real oasis!

Well, this may surprise you, but other similar towns come pretty close to their high standards, and we have selected 20 of our favorites. 20 Towns similar to Carmel By The Sea include;

  1. Mendocino
  2. Sausalito
  3. Monterey
  4. Laguna Beach
  5. Pismo Beach
  6. La Jolla
  7. Ojai
  8. San Simeon
  9. Cambria
  10. Avila Beach
  11. Lake Placid
  12. Skaneateles, Onondaga County, NY
  13. Alexandria Bay
  14. Sitka, AK
  15. Augustine, FL
  16. Watkins Glen
  17. Canandaigua
  18. Cape May, NJ
  19. Bandon, Oregon
  20. Clayton

 If you want to explore these wonderful, magical towns and see what they have to offer, please continue reading. This article provides all the information you need to decide where you should visit next.

Contents show

A Quick Overview Of Carmel By The Sea

Carmel city shopping main street.

Population: Around 4000

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Carmel-by-the-Sea is a charming little beach town on California’s picturesque Monterey Peninsula. It is a one-square-mile village that offers one-of-a-kind California Central Coast experiences around every corner.

From bird-rich Carmel River State Beach to the amazing surf spot at Carmel Beach, this small village is a destination like no other. The sea animals and whaling museum of Point Lobos State Natural Reserve lie South of the town.

Attractions & Things To Do In Carmel By The Sea

Accommodation In Carmel By The Sea

20 Towns Similar To Carmel By The Sea

1. Mendocino

Redwood forest at Mendocino, California.

Population: Less Than 1000

Mendocino is a beautiful, quaint little coastal town situated three hours north of San Francisco. The picturesque destination offers an array of hiking trails, stellar vistas, and it is also home to some interesting museums and wonderful cafes.

The general area of the town has breath-taking beaches, relaxing hot springs, and North of Mendocino lies the dramatic coastline of Russian Gulch State Park and the 1909 Point Cabrillo Light Station State History Park.

The town has been hosting the Mendocino Music Festival since 1986 with various performances, including contemporary, blues, jazz, and more. The nineteenth-century Ford House doubles as a local history museum and visitor’s center for Mendocino Headlands State Park.

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Attractions In Mendocino

Accommodation In Mendocino

2. Sausalito

The wooden pier of Sausalito, California.

Population: 7116 (2019)

From San Francisco, all the way across the Golden Gate Strait to Marin County, you will find beautiful Sausalito. The town has a Mediterranean fishing village vibe, especially on a clear-cast, sunny day.

Sausalito is well-known for its houseboats along Richardson Bay, built after WWII by artist squatters. This charming seaside town has many fun attractions, including a scenic waterfront walk, upscale art galleries, marinas, and quaint boutiques.

There is always something to do in Sausalito, and it has been a widely popular holiday retreat for San Franciscans, even though it is situated only a few miles from home.

Attractions & Things To Do In Sausalito

Accommodation in Sausalito

3. Monterey

Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey, California.

Population: 28 352 (2019)

Monterey is situated on the rugged central coast of California. Back in the day, the town’s sardine-packing industry in Cannery Row was immortalized by a novelist named John Steinbeck.

Since then, it has become a very popular strip of factory-converted bars, seafood restaurants, and lovely gift shops. Many visitors come to Monterey especially to see the town’s famous Monterey Bay Aquarium that boasts thousands of plants and animals in interactive and underwater exhibits.

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Attractions & Things To Do In Monterey

Accommodation In Monterey

4. Laguna Beach

Sunset at Laguna Beach, Orange Country, California.

Population: 23 036 (2019)

Laguna Beach in Orange County, California, is a small coastal town known for its beautiful beaches, impressive coves, and abundance of art galleries. If you are into surfing, Aliso Beach Park is the place to be.

If you enjoy walks in nature and tidal pools, Main Beach near Heisler is the perfect spot to visit or scenic trails through the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park’s coastal canyons. Laguna Beach’s artist colony is a hidden gem of Orange County and is situated halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles.

The town’s topography offers seven miles of beaches and coves where you can explore natural tide pools, mountain biking trails, marine sanctuaries, verdant hills, sea caves, dramatic vistas, ocean side buffs, and beautiful white sandy beaches.

Top Attractions & Things To Do In Laguna Beach

Top Accommodation In Laguna Beach

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5. Pismo Beach

Sunset at Pismo Beach.

Population: 8180 (2019)

Pismo Beach is a picturesque coastal town situated halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on California’s beautiful and famous central coast. This lovely beach town offers wonderful weather, spectacular views, white beaches, and plenty of fantastic outdoor activities.

If an adventure is what you seek on your holiday, you can go surfing, horseback riding, four-wheel ATV dune riding, fishing, bodyboarding, and golfing.

If you want to have a relaxing time, you can take leisurely strolls along gorgeous white beaches, the award-winning boardwalk next to the Pismo pier, or enjoy wine tasting at our fabulous area wineries.

Top Attractions & Things To Do In Pismo Beach

Top Accommodation In Pismo Beach

6. La Jolla

Aerial shot of La Jolla, California coast.

Population: 38 168 (2020)

La Jolla is a lovely town about a twenty-five-minute drive north of San Diego. This beautiful town offers wonderful attractions such as the La Jolla Cove, perfect for scuba diving, snorkeling, viewing sea lions, and the La Jolla Tide Pools open for everyone to enjoy.

If you are daring and adventurous, you can experience hand-gliding at the Torrey Pine Gilderport. You can visit the Birch Aquarium, interesting museums, and marvelous restaurants with award-winning culinary creations for a relaxed time.

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Attractions & Things To Do At La Jolla

Accommodation In La Jolla

7. Ojai

Ojai city welcome sign.

Population: 7534 (2019)

Northwest of Los Angeles, in Ventura County, California, nestled in a beautiful valley in the Topatopa Mountains, you will find the charming town of Ojai. The city is rich in New Age shops and lovely art galleries.

For the hikers, Los Padres Nation Forest boasts stunning trails, and if you are looking for a recreational experience, Lake Casitas is the place for you. Ojai also hosts the annual Ojai Music Festival, where you get to listen to famous classical artists.

Attractions & Things To Do At Ojai

Accommodation In Ojai

8. San Simeon

Hearst Castle, San Simeon, California.

Population: 658 (2019)

San Simeon is a secluded retreat situated on Highway 1’s most gorgeous stretches, on San Luis Obispo County’s Pacific Coast.

This breathtakingly beautiful paradise is abundant with scenic wonders, endless outdoor adventures, treasured historic landmarks, and natural splendor. San Simeon village is also home to the famous Hearst Castle and offers beautiful white sandy beaches, boating, hiking, and sightseeing.

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Attractions & Things To Do In San Simeon

Accommodation In San Simeon

9. Cambria

Pacific coast skyline view at Cambria, California.

Population: 5647 (2019)

Cambria is a beautiful seaside village situated midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in San Luis Obispo County, CA, United States, amidst the Monterey pines.

Known for its dramatic coastal landscapes and forests, Cambria has something to offer anyone who visits. Enjoy gourmet foods, luxurious wines, hiking trails, horseback riding, leisurely walks on Moonstone Beach, and so much more.

Attractions & Things To Do In Cambria

Accommodation In Cambria

10. Avila Beach

Sunny day at Avila Beach.

Population: 1311 (2019)

Avila Beach is situated on California’s Central Coast, next to Pismo Beach, halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. This small, quaint beach town offers a beautiful and colorful waterfront, stunning walking trails, piers, rejuvenating spas in the form of natural mineral hot springs, and lush oak valleys.

The paradise that is Avila Beach is only a five-minute walk away from most parts of the town. The town also boasts a collection of decadent local wines, plenty of sights to see, and charming, welcoming oceanfront restaurants.

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Attractions & Things To Do In Avila Beach

Accommodation In Avila Beach

11. Lake Placid

Adirondacks Peak fall foliage, Lake Placid, NY.

Population: 2346 (2019)

Lake placid is situated in New York State’s Adirondack Mountains near a lake of the same name. It is the ultimate hub for snow sports and is well known as a venue for the Winter Olympics.

For avid hikers, Mirror Lake, located in the center of the town, offers a spectacular trail along the shoreline. The Historical Society Depot and Lake Placid Olympic Museums will not disappoint the sentimentalists or historians.

Attractions & Things To Do In Lake Placid

Accommodation In Lake Placid

12. Skaneateles, Onondaga County, New York

Thayer Park, Skaneateles, New York.

Population: 7176 (2018)

The beautiful town of Skaneateles is situated on the county’s western border, with the clear blue Skaneateles Lake nestled perfectly alongside the city.

Skaneateles village offers unique restaurants and shops, nature trails, distilleries and vineyards, art galleries, Lockwood Lavender Farm, gift shops, boutiques, and so much more for a vacation you can be sure to remember.

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Attractions & Things To Do In Skaneateles

Accommodation In Skaneateles

13. Alexandria Bay

Boldt Castle in Heart Island, Alexandria Bay.

Population: 927 (2019)

Alexandria Bay is a small town in Jefferson County, in northern New York, in the Thousand Islands region. The city is situated on the banks of the St. Lawrence River and is referred to as the heart of the Thousand Islands.

Here visitors can enjoy fine dining, unique gift shops, recreational opportunities, lodging, the river, State Parks, Inland Lakes, and the friendliest, most welcoming hospitality from the community.

Attractions & Things To Do In Alexandria Bay

Accommodation In Alexandria Bay

14. Sitka, Alaska

Mountain glaciers of Sitka, Alaska.

Population: 8640 (2019)

Considered part of Russia until 1867, Sitka is a borough and Alaskan city near Juneau’s state capital. It spreads over a portion of Chichagof, Baranof, and other islands.

The town offers plenty of historical sights and attractions, such as the Sitka National Historian Park and the 1842 Russian Bishop’s House. Enjoy Sitka’s endless adventures with exciting activities like boating, vehicle tours, fishing, hiking, and visiting museums.

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Attractions & Things To Do In Sitka, AK

Accommodation In Sitka, AK

15. St Augustine, Florida

Bridge of Lions, St. Augustine, Florida.

Population: 14 515 (2019)

Along the northeast coast of Florida, you will find the beautiful town of St. Augustine. Known for its Atlantic Ocean beaches such as Crescent Beach and sandy St. Augustine Beach, St. Augustine is the oldest city in the United States and is rich in Spanish colonial architecture.

There is plenty to do in this wonderful town like visiting museums, distilleries, and the wild reserve, and the luxurious accommodation will make you want to stay forever.

Attractions & Things To Do In St Augustine, FL

Accommodation In St Augustine, FL

16. Watkins Glen

Watkins Glen State Park breathtaking scenery.

Population: 2000 (2019)

Between the towns of Reading and Dix, you will find a charming village in Schuyler County, NY, called Watkins Glen. This great town also happens to be the county seat of Schuyler County.

The village is situated right in the heart of the Finger Lakes region, at Seneca Lake’s south end, about 20 miles north of Elmira. The town was first called Jefferson in 1842, but in 1852, in honor of an early promoter, Dr. Samuel Watkins, it was renamed “Watkins.”

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It wasn’t until 1926 that the name “Glen” was added. In the center of the village is a magnificent gorge that was set aside in 1906 as “Watkins Glen State Park.” A creek descends about 600ft through the 1 ½ mile-long valley, forming impressive cascades, pools, and rapids.

Attractions & Things To Do In Watkins Glen

Accommodation In Watkins Glen

17. Canandaigua

Sonnenberg Gardens at Canandaigua, New York.

Population: 10 287 (2019)

Canandaigua, a scenic community also referred to as “The Chosen Spot,” is situated about 25 miles southeast of Rochester. This beautiful and historic town has much to offer its residents and visitors.

Everything from galleries, charming little shops, stunning accommodation, and restaurants to an abundance of outdoor spaces perfect for relaxation. The breathtakingly gorgeous Canandaigua Lake provides a wonderful place to fish, boat, and swim.

Attractions & Things To Do In Canandaigua

Accommodation In Canandaigua

18. Cape May, New Jersey

Birds eye view of Cape May, New Jersey.

Population: 3463 (2019)

At the tip of Southern New Jersey’s Cape May Peninsula, you will find the gorgeous seaside resort, Cape May. The town is well-known for its Victorian-style houses like Emlen Physick Estate Museum with its preserved interior from the Victorian era.

The town is also known for the Cape May Lighthouse, which provides beautiful views across the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware.

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Attractions & Things To Do In Cape May, NJ

Accommodation In Cape May, NJ

19. Bandon, Oregon

Brandon Lighthouse on Coquille River, Bandon, Oregon.

Population: 3100 (2019)

Bandon is a town on the Oregon Coast shaped by nature and visited by many over the holidays or simply for a weekend getaway. The city offers beautiful attractions like gorgeous ocean vistas, streams, wild woods, and activities such as golf, cycling, fishing, going to the beach, storm watching, hiking, and much more!

Attractions & Things To Do In Bandon, Oregon

Accommodation In Bandon, Oregon

20. Clayton

St. Lawrence River at Clayton, New York.

Population: 2029 (2019)

Clayton village is situated in Jefferson County, New York, U.S. This lovely, quaint town is home to the Clayton Opera House and the famous Antique Boat Museum. Considered a summer resort, Clayton offers sightseeing boat tours, art galleries and studios, museums, and beautiful accommodation spots with tons of character.

Attractions & Things To Do In Clayton

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Accommodation In Clayton

References: – The Cutest Beach Towns in California – 7 Perfect Little California Towns You Should Visit With Family – The Most Beautiful Towns and Villages in California – 21 Top-Rated Small Towns in California