The town of Carmel, south of Monterey, is the last outpost of pure civilization before you get into the Big Sur wildlife area. Carmel is probably best known for its world-famous public golf course at Pebble Beach, where professionals play side by side with duffers who can afford to spend upward of $400 for a single round of golf.
As you might expect with such a tony clientele, shopping is the main draw downtown, where there are plenty of upscale restaurants as well. Parking is a real bear, so if you plan to visit, expect to leave the car and do a lot of walking — either to the greens or to drop a good number of greenbacks.
Pebble Beach is actually more than just a stretch of four golf courses; it's also a full-scale resort with three separate hotels, restaurants, shops, and a spa. But it's the links that have brought worldwide fame to this Carmel establishment, which regularly hosts the U.S. Open and a celebrity-filled pro-am in addition to other wellknown golf tournaments. The main par-72 course runs right along the rugged California coast, offering exquisite views as well as mind-bending shots.
You'll pay for the privilege of making memories here, with rooms starting at $565 per night and going up to $2,000 per night for suites. Those prices do not include golfing; that's an extra $475 per round, plus a separate cart fee if you're not a hotel guest. Private lessons are available, and the Golf Academy offers one- and two-day programs in addition to a Golf 101 introduction to the sport. Reservations, rates, and additional information are available at
Several of the hotels at the Pebble Beach resort complex offer winter stay-and-play package deals that will knock at least a few dollars off the cost of a visit. It's still not an inexpensive adventure — two-night, three-day deals run around $1,800 per golfer — but it's at least a little bit better than the high-season summer rates, which are as high as your worst day's golf score.
The official name of this establishment is the San Carlos Borroméo de Carmelo Mission. It was founded in 1771 and still operates as a parish that hosts regular services, weddings, and other events. The mission is open to the public Monday through Saturday from 9:30
There are self-guided as well as docent-led tours, and there is a $7 fee for the guided look around. The schedule for guided tours changes on a monthly basis, in part based on advance requests. If you think you might want a guided tour, go to