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-   -   Pacific Grove/Carmel help me decide (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/pacific-grove-carmel-help-me-decide-233007/)

Vicki Jun 20th, 2002 05:53 PM

Pacific Grove/Carmel help me decide
 
I've read all of the posts for these two places and I still can't decide which place would be best to stay in. I will be traveling with my husband and 21 year old daughter. I currently have reservations for the Bay View Inn in Carmel; but the posts about the Pacific Garden Inn in PG sound really appealing. The beach and walking trails in PG sound nice and the shopping in Carmel sounds great too. Can you help me decide? We want to visit Point Lobos, do the 17 mile drive, play golf (cheap golf), walk the beach and see the unique shops. Also suggestions on restaurants would be appreciated.

kam Jun 20th, 2002 05:59 PM

Since the two towns are right next to each other separated by the 17 Mile Drive, I say choose whichever hotel has the most appeal. If you are serious shoppers I would suggest Carmel. If you are serious walkers along the ocean, I would suggest Pacific Grove. Both have excellent restaurants. I don't think you can go wrong with either one. There was a recent post about municipal golf courses in Monterey. I think a website is www.golfmonterey.org, but I might be mistaken.

Vicki Jun 21st, 2002 01:58 PM

Thank for the info. anyone else have advice?<BR>ttt

XXX Jun 21st, 2002 04:41 PM

kam is right and actually helped me plan my trip last weekend to the area. We stayed in Pacific Grove, which was great, but very different from Carmel.<BR><BR>We also drove to Carmel and Monterey (Cannery Row). To help you decide, I'll give you a rundown of what we saw/did while there.<BR><BR>Pacific Grove - Stayed 1/2 block from the beach at Bide-A-Wee Motel and Cottages, which was roomy and clean, but very modest, few amenities.<BR><BR>Our motel was right by the Lighthouse and PG golfcourse. <BR><BR>We drove a few blocks into town for dinner--nothing fancy, but we walked by Fernando's which is supposed to be great (we were not dressed for that)<BR><BR>After dinner, we drove down to the beach to watch the sunset. A lot of people park along the beach to do that and it was well worth it! We could've walked, too.<BR><BR>We were lucky enough to spot a fox, many deer, bats, sea otters, sea lions and raccoons while in PG (I don't know if you'll get that in Carmel.) <BR><BR>The next day, my daughter and I headed into Carmel to the beach and drove around a little. It's only 10-15 minutes away, there are many more shops, much more beach area and many more people. <BR><BR>On our way back to PG, we stopped in Monterey and found a parking spot a few blocks away from Cannery Row, (parking is tough) so we could do a little sightseeing and shopping, while the husband played a round of golf at PG Muni (you want cheap?)--you'll find it there and it was a very nice course!! Reservations can be made no sooner than 7-days in advance. <BR><BR>For a late lunch, we ate at the Tinnery in Pacific Grove. The drive back to PG from Monterey is a quick 5 minutes! The Tinnery has great panormaic views, the food wasn't too spectacular, but okay.<BR><BR>All in all, I would say PG is the quietest place of the three, great for walking trails along the beach, sunset viewing, tide pools, golf and enjoying the scenery. The downtown area is fairly small and the coastal drive is very pretty. It is also within easy access to Monterey, where you can rent bikes, choose from many restaurants and shop, shop, shop.<BR><BR>Carmel has a great public beach with a view of the 17-mile drive golf course, lots of shops, lots of cute places to stay and many restaurants. Much more hustle and bustle, more variety, unique places!<BR><BR>Not sure if this helps -- Good luck and have fun!!

kam Jun 21st, 2002 04:51 PM

Just to correct the above post, I think she meant to say Fandangos for the rather posh restaurant in Pacific Grove. The other current fave is Fresh Cream over by the Wharf, but not on it. And faves of the locals are the Fishwife and Pepper's for Mexican. The Tinnery is good/Ok food but beautiful views and family friendly. What a terrible problem you have trying to decide, but take my word on it that you could almost throw a dart and be happy with your choice. Enjoy.

XXX Jun 21st, 2002 04:58 PM

oops - Fandango's it was!!

eric Jun 21st, 2002 05:16 PM

I had the good fortune to be stationed in Monterey, and spend a year living on the peninsula. If it were up to me, I would have to say that you would be better off staying in PG. Carmel is lovely, but it's off by itself, separated from both Monterey and PG by 17-mile drive. The beach in Carmel is wonderful, and if you like galleries and shopping, Carmel is nice. The restaurants, though, are better in PG and Monterey. If you are in PG, you can walk to anywhere ELSE in PG, as well as to most places in Monterey. Don't miss out on Alvarado Street in Monterey....especially if you are going to be there on a Tuesday afternoon...catch the Farmer's Market. Your daughter will find more to do in the PG/Monterey scene than in Carmel, as well...there are more restaurants, pubs, etc. in those two towns than in Carmel. If you like seafood for the food, and not for the view, then head down the main drag in Monterey, Del Monte, toward Seaside. On the right, just before you leave town, will be the "Fishhouse", a pink stucco building where they serve the best sand-dabs with garlic mashed potatoes on the planet...and the bar-b-q'd octupus is heavenly, as well. All of PG and Monterey are, especially the Aquarium (an absolute MUST see) are literally a short walk along the beach from PG...whereas Carmel is, as the name of the road says, 17 miles from either one. The missions, Big Sur, etc..all make good day trips, but PG would be, in my opinion, a more comfortable and convenient and less expensive place to stay. (I'd also recommend a whale watching trip out of Monterey, as well as plenty of time just strolling around the shops and stores in PG and Monterey...there is plenty of shopping there, as well. Carmel has LOTS of galleries...and really cool architecture.)<BR><BR>No matter where you stay, though, in this beautiful area, you are bound to be as stunned by the sunsets, the scenery, and the natural beauty as you are by the prices...but you will enjoy it!

seamus Jun 21st, 2002 05:21 PM

Whales are usually seen December to April. What you could do is kayak in the bay with the sea otters. Places to rent kayaks and wetsuits. Great fun.

Vicki Jun 23rd, 2002 01:12 PM

Thank you so much for the information. What a hard decision. I'm still not sure what to do, but you all gave me some good things to consider.

cdnjan Jun 23rd, 2002 01:16 PM

Eric <BR>What is a sand-dab?<BR>Thx<BR>cdnjan


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