Traveling to fancy towns can be a little tricky with kids. For example, it’s not as easy to go to a classy restaurant or shop at boutique stores with a gaggle of toddlers. But when we travel, we have our 3 small children in tow. Here are some fun family-friendly activities we found in the gorgeous California town of Carmel by the Sea.
Window Shop in Carmel
My girls love window shopping going into cute stores. We practice the “look with your eyes” method of shopping. Sometimes my girls find a new stuffed pal or cute sticker book in these shops. But mostly a walk along a vacation town street is just a fun family outing, perfect for a Carmel, California family visit.
Carmel’s main street is lined with whimsical shops selling home decor, stylish vacation wear, a bakery, bookstore, hat shop, a kids clothing boutique, and toy store.
Visit the Hat Shop
The hat shop sells hats in all styles and price points. I found a vintage-inspired hat for my sister-in-law for a very affordable price. Other one-of-a-kind hats range in price from $50 to several hundred dollars. My girls enjoyed trying on some fashionable hat styles.
Enjoy Fresh Baked Goods
My girls wasted no time picking out cookies and soft pretzels at the Carmel Bakery. The yummy display of baked goods are piled high on the counter. Baked good offerings include twists and rolls, scones, cookies, muffins, breads and more!
Of course my daughter picked out the most colorful rainbow sprinkle cookie she could find.
Visit the Toy Store
Tinker Toys toy shop in Carmel, CA has a large collection of wooden puzzles, dolls, interactive play sets and learning toys. Many of the toys are available to play with in an interactive play section. My girls enjoyed checking out the toy kitchen and picking out a new stuffed animal.
Explore the Point Lobos State Reserve
Point Lobos State Reserve has some great trails that are perfect for a family hike. The walking trails border the cliffs alongside many natural tide pools. You could easily push a stroller along these flat walking paths and you can also scramble out over some of the rocky areas for a better view of the tide pools.
These rocky cliffs at Point Lobos State Reserve in Carmel, CA beautifully contrast with the misty hills beyond. On our hike we spotted numerous seals sunbathing on the rocky outcroppings and crabs hiding in the tide pools.
These family-friendly walking trails make it easy for kids to explore nature’s beauty without needing much help.
Other parts of the Point Lobos State Reserve family hike lead through beautiful forested areas.
Play I Spy at the Beach
We like to play I Spy at the beach and search for colors, textures or animals. Kids can spot sea creatures such as seals and jellyfish on the beach or play “Color Questions” by taking turns saying, “I spy something (green)” and everyone guesses what they see. We found this tiny crab hiding among the rocks during our Point Lobos State Reserve family hike.
Walk on the White Sand
Many of Carmel’s beaches are made from large expanses of clean white sand. I would imagine these beaches would be packed with visitors in warmer weather.
Browse the Dr. Seuss Art Gallery
My girls enjoyed looking at the colorful paintings in Carmel’s Dr. Seuss Art Gallery. Seuss created many paintings over more than 60 years that illustrate his multi-dimensional talent as an illustrator and surrealist. The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss often shows a side of the artist that readers who are familiar with him through his classic children’s books have never seen.
The Dr. Seuss art gallery is a fun way to introduce kids to fine art.
Relax at the Carmel RV Park
During our stay in Carmel, CA we relaxed at the local RV park. RV travel offers great flexibility for our family because our young kids can enjoy long naps or watch a Netflix show even while we are on the go. We also have everything we need right with us for flexibility with meals and leisure activities. The Carmel By The River RV Park served as a gorgeous spot to park our RV and a place to relax. We went on several family walks and ate lunches outdoors at the picnic tables. Each RV spot is beautifully manicured with hedges, outdoor decorative accents and clear signage. I’d recommend staying at this family-friendly Carmel CA RV park if you are traveling through the area.
Overall we enjoyed our Carmel, California family visit. Once our kids are a little older, we could go back and enjoy more of the fine dining and resort attractions, or spend more time at the beach!
Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, a stay-at-home mom to three kids and a Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.