Carmel with Teens: A Perfect Family Day

Carmel with Teens: A Family Vacation


Planning a visit to Carmel with teens? Carmel, Calif., is located within Monterey County overlooking the Monterey Peninsula. This charming small town with its European influences was once a Mecca to the artistic community and is best known for its world-class shopping, beautiful scenery and former movie-star mayor, Clint Eastwood.

You may be wondering what this upscale town has to offer your teenage children. Believe it or not, this stunning city and its surrounding communities have an abundance of activities that will keep you and your family busy for quite some time. Take a cue from the itinerary below, and you will soon be on your way to discover what a truly magnificent place Carmel really is.


Have you ever eaten a pretzel for breakfast? You and especially your teens will be tempted to order one when you walk into the Carmel Bakery. Established in 1906 this neighborhood bakery sells some of the best Bavarian pretzels available. They are big, soft and tasty, and you will not be able to exit this place without at least tasting one. Order it warm with salt or cheese. It will not disappoint! If you prefer something a little more breakfast like, don't despair. They also serve a variety of baked goods such as pastries, muffins, scones and Starbucks Coffee. This is a great place to hang out and enjoy a breakfast bite with the locals. The bakery opens daily at 7AM and is located at Ocean Ave & Lincoln, Carmel, CA 93923 (831) 626-8885.

After breakfast stroll up and down Ocean Ave. Your family will have fun exploring this European-style street lined with quaint shops and eateries. Get a little lost as you discover all the secluded alleyways and beautiful courtyards hidden along the street. When you reach the end, your teens will be rewarded as they sink their feet into the sand at Ocean Avenue Beach (also known as Carmel City Beach). Take a moment to sit on the beach and enjoy the beautiful scenery before heading back up the opposite side of Ocean Ave!

Just a short drive from Ocean Ave, you will find the Carmel Mission. Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo was the second of the 21 missions established along the California coast. Founded by Father Junipero Serra in 1771, this historic, beautiful building houses five museums that will educate visitors on the history of the mission as well as the local surrounding areas. Still used as a church and school, your family will be in awe as they get an up and close look at this historic landmark. Entrance fees are $6.50 for adults, $4.00 for seniors, $2.00 for children ages 7 and up and free for children under the age of 6. The mission at 3080 Rio Road is open Mondays to Saturdays from 9:30AM-5:00PM and 10:30AM-5:00PM on Sundays. For more information call (831) 624-1271.

No vacation day to Carmel with teens would be complete without a trip along the 17-mile drive. This scenic toll road winds along the Pacific Coastline, through Pebble Beach and past Spanish Bay. Along the way, you will pass beautiful forests, ocean views, huge mansions and the world famous Pebble Beach Golf Course. There are plenty of turnouts, so be sure to stop and enjoy the views. You will see plenty of birds, deer and maybe some sea lions sunning themselves on the rocks. Walk down the wooden path and gaze at the famous lone Cypress Tree. Take your camera as you will get some beautiful pictures here. Entrance fee is $9.50. There are five marked entrance gates (try the one at California State Route 1).


After a busy morning, grab some grub at r.g. Burgers. Choose from salads, sandwiches, hot dogs, soups and an extensive list of unique burgers. Order the Béarnaiseburger with mushrooms and béarnaise sauce, or the tasty Bison burger. Save room for one of their amazing shakes! Try the orange freeze or chocolate peanut butter (yum!) Prices are reasonable coming in at under $10. r.g. Burgers is located at 201 Crossroads Shopping Village. Call (831) 626-8054 for more information.

It is now time to learn a little about sea life at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Located about 10 minutes from Carmel and situated right on Monterey Bay, this former cannery turned aquarium is one of best in the country. There is something here for all ages to enjoy, including your teens. There are over 35,000 animals and several educational and interactive exhibits located within the Aquarium. Your kids can observe penguins, sea otters, sharks and seahorses. Get mesmerized standing in front of the giant kelp aquarium and teens especially love wandering through the jelly fish exhibit (the largest permanent collection in the U.S.). Tickets are a little pricey, but well worth it. Check online for discounts. $29.95 for adults, $27.95 for seniors and ages 13-17 and $17.95 for ages 3-12. Buy tickets online to avoid long lines at the aquarium. They are located at 886 Cannery Row, Monterey, CA 93940 (831) 648-4800. Check the website for seasonal hours of operation.


Across the street from the aquarium is Cannery Row. This street used to be home to several sardine canneries and was the setting of John Steinbeck's famous novel "Cannery Row." Today, Cannery Row is a major tourist attraction featuring shopping, several restaurants and entertainment opportunities for the entire family.

Cannery Row is the perfect place to relax and enjoy some dinner. Why not let the kids decide where to eat. Among the many choices are El Torito Mexican restaurant, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Louie Linguini's and The Chart House. There is something here to satisfy any craving!

After dinner, wander through the many shops or take advantage of the entertainment opportunities the row has to offer. Check out the wax museum, play miniature golf under black lights at Oceans 18 Mini Golf, watch a movie at the IMAX Theater or navigate through a laser field at the Monterey Mirror Maze Laser Challenge. Your teens will definitely find something fun to do here.

Finally, partake in some delectable dessert at the Nestle Toll House Cafe. Enjoy some cookies, brownies, ice creams, down a smoothie or enjoy some hot coffee on a cold evening. This is the perfect place to sit and reminisce about your perfect family vacation day in Carmel with teens.

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