Carmel Valley has beautiful hotels, amazing restaurants, wineries lining the village, cute shops, and miles of hiking. Not our usual hiking and camping weekend! We decided to glamp in a cabin and hike, eat, and wine our way through Carmel Valley instead of just hiking! One short weekend was not enough for this adorable town!
Cabin Nestled in the Oaks
The first step to cabin glamping is finding the cozy cabin! We love using Hipcamp to find unique places to stay in. Most of the time we search in a general area and base our exploring around the place! We found this adorable redwood cabin just outside Carmel Valley and instantly requested to book it.
It is just as cozy as it looks in the photos! The porch is a great size for the two of us to relax in the rocking chairs and even has a light to let us stay out longer in the early fall evenings. The inside has a stovetop, small counter, sink, and all the pots and pans you would need to make a simple dinner. A small dining table in the opposite corner and a cute old cupboard filled with the rest of your necessities. They left towels, sheets, and blankets out for us too. We brought all our own but this is a nice touch! The futon bed/couch was comfy and fit perfectly in the cabin. We didn’t feel crowded at all.
Having hot water to do dishes, lights, and a propane heater really made us feel like we were in a 5-star cabin! The shower with hot water, flushing toilet, and sink were in a cute rock and wood outbuilding just a handful of steps from the cabin. The owner is a local mason and built the building of a winery in town, Joullian Winery, so we also visited that winery. More on that later.
We absolutely loved being at the cabin! We were able to just chill and watch the birds and listen to the ranch animals on another property. This was definitely a step up from our normal idea of glamping.
Garland Ranch Regional Park
Saturday was our day to explore Carmel Village starting off with a short hike at Garland Ranch Regional Park. This park has several trails ranging from easy to moderate to difficult. We chose a shorter hike with some views since we only had one day to explore. We hiked 3.5 miles through a maple lined canyon full of orange leaves crunching under our feet, above the bright yellow sycamores, and followed the trickling creek. We are already wanting to plan our trip back here in the spring to check it out with wildflowers and waterfalls! We also would like to hike up to Snively’s Ridge trail to see the expansive Santa Lucia Mountains and the valley below.
Garland Ranch Regional Park is 3,464-acres full of cultural history. We passed by the ruins of an old homestead and Native Rumsen grinding rocks. Can’t imagine grinding so many acorns that it would bore holes in a rock, makes us appreciate our modern appliances. Inspiration Point had the most spectacular views of Carmel Valley along the loop we did. So much more to see at this gem of a park!
Carmel Valley Village
It was a warm fall day when we visited so after our hike we quickly changed in the truck and headed out to Earthbound Organic Farms. They have this great farm stand and picnic area just west of the village of Carmel Valley. During non-pandemic times, they also have garden tours. We grabbed an iced coffee and walked their little shop and relaxed in the picnic area for a bit before heading back into the village for lunch.
We walked up to Cafe Rustica and were lucky enough to get a sidewalk table. Have we mentioned we love to people watch?? This was perfect! Lunch was delicious too!
Our wine tasting reservations weren’t until 3 pm so after lunch we headed to the little shops and walked around a bit.
Joullian Vineyards and Winery
The mason work is lovely at Joullian Winery! So great to tie the land we were staying at with a building in town. We were greeted and sat at a table safely distanced from everyone else. This was the first time in a long time since the pandemic started that we were wine tasting with other people around. The last two times we practically had the places to ourselves!
Carmel Valley unfortunately suffered the same fate as most of Sonoma and Napa Valley this year. Most of the wineries won’t have their full 2020 harvest. Joullian Winery lost all of their grapes due to the wildfires in August. There are fire scars along the hillsides just like the ones we see here at home. A very sad year for California wine country.
We enjoyed their wine so much we took a couple of bottles home with us!
After a day of hiking, eating, and wine tasting, we headed back to the cabin to completely relax on the porch. We had wine the owner left us and made dinner and played cards late into the night. It was lovely to wake with the sun and not our alarms!
If you head west from Carmel Valley Village you run straight to the ocean and the 17-Mile Drive along some of the most gorgeous and well-known California coastline. It’s $10.50 per vehicle to enter and totally worth it! We followed the red dotted lines in a clockwise (and numerically backward) direction.
Our first stop was Ghost Trees at Pescadero Point. The sun sparkling on the ocean made this feel so magical. The next stop was the lone cypress. Probably one of the most photographed trees along the coast and about 250 years old. It stands strong by itself out on a rock formation battered by the winds all those years. The lone cypress deserves all of the glory it has received!
Each of our stops along the way were breathtaking. The 17-Mile drive is so beautiful!! Even the otters think so! They were hanging out near China Rock munching on delicacies from the ocean while all of us looked on. We skipped the more crowded beaches and just soaked in the ocean air instead while we were driving.
We have traveled Highway 1 dozens of times and try to find new stops each time. And sometimes we stop at our favorites! From Carmel, you drive north through farmland with ocean views to Santa Cruz and north with more farms and forests. The August lightning fires also hit hard here. It was devastating to see all of the destruction of the fires. They literally stopped at the ocean in some spots. Just like our beautiful Sonoma Coast. 🙁
Half Moon Bay has some great restaurants and shopping but our favorite spot is just a few miles off Highway 1, up Highway 92. We stopped at the nurseries there and adopted a few more plants to take home with us. 🙂
At the beginning of the pandemic we, like other people, were stuck at home not able to hike or get out at all. We went through old photos and the bosslady found this one of her mom from the 1960s. It looked like someplace along the northern California coast. Her mom had lived in San Francisco while she was a stewardess for United Airlines. We posted on our social media accounts to see if anyone knew where it was. Several people said it looked like it was just south of Devil’s Slide just north of Half Moon Bay. One photographer even gave her some GPS coordinates. So, mom’s photo came with us on this adventure and we were able to find the exact spot she was standing in when the photo was taken! How great is that?!?
We felt like we accomplished seeing so much in just a short 2 days but there is so much more to explore! Leave a note below of places to visit next time we are in Carmel Valley! We will go back another time!
Things We Love
We looove our Hydroflask water bottles! When traveling we take a 2.5-gallon jug of water with us to fill our Hydroflasks with. This allows us to stay hydrated on the trails, before and after wine tasting, on our drive, and even at work too! They are an extension of us and we take them everywhere! There are so many options to choose from. The hubs has a 32 oz wide mouth Hydroflask and the bosslady has a 32 oz wide mouth Hydroflask trail series. It is slightly thinner, lighter, and taller to fit her hands better.
What’s your go-to water bottle? Or should we ask, how many water bottles do you own? 😉
Check ours out at Amazon at the link below: