Ready to discover the best Airbnbs in Carmel-by-the-Sea? From cosy cottages to swish pads, these are all the top places to stay.

Whether you’re heading out on an epic California road trip or meandering your way slowly through California’s gorgeous coastal towns, Carmel-by-the-Sea (or Carmel, for short) is an unmissable addition to any itinerary.

A destination full of charm, boutiques and a bustling art scene – what’s not to love?

But there’s one small issue… Where will you stay? Luckily for you, I’ve found the best Airbnbs in Carmel. 

Top Tip: While I love (and use) Airbnb for its variety of budgets and destinations, I find myself booking through Plum Guide more. I love their individually-vetted properties and higher quality stays.

Best Airbnbs in Carmel by the Sea: At a Glance 

Best Carmel-by-Sea Airbnbs  – Top Picks Rental 
Best Overall Carmel Airbnb The Smiling Poet
Best Airbnb in Carmel-by-Sea on the Beach Pinewood & Prints 
Stylish Airbnb in CarmelExquisite Fairytale
Best Budget-Friendly Carmel AirbnbStylish Carmel Cottage
Best Carmel Airbnb for Big Groups Welcome to Carmel By The Sea

Best Airbnbs in Carmel-by-the-Sea

The Smiling Poet

The Smiling Poet

Looking for that perfect Carmel vacation rental that’s close to the beach? Look no further – this elegant two-bedroom cottage is ideal for lazy beach days. Start your day by cooking a delicious breakfast on the gas stove and making a cup of Joe with the pod coffee machine. 

Eat in style on the outdoor patio before taking a four-minute walk to Carmel Beach. Forget any beach essentials? Don’t worry; beach chairs, towels, and a picnic basket are provided here. 

You can end the day with a BBQ or by admiring the sunset from the garden. Then, slip into the luxury bedding before dozing off for, what might just be, the best sleep of your life.  

Location: Golden Rectangle

Golden Rectangle is a culture-lovers dream. Besides being close to the beach, you’re not far from great wine-tasting spaces and art galleries.

Pinewood & Prints

Pinewood & Prints

Let’s continue with a bang with this three-bedroom beach hut that mixes calming white shades with delightful pinewood finishes. This creates a tranquil space, which certainly makes it feel like home. 

It only gets better as you enter the bedrooms, each of which contain comfy beds, chill-out space and en-suite bathrooms. 

That’s not all, as the outdoor deck provides the perfect spot for a summer BBQ. Getting a bit chilly in the evening? Retire to the covered porch for a delightful glass of wine – or watch a movie on the flat-screen TV and warm up by the fireplace.

Location: Golden Rectangle

Pop down to Carmel Beach, explore artsy Downtown or take a day trip to Big Sur, as all are accessible from this area.

Le Bijou at Toujours Maison

Le Bijou at Toujours Maison

Looking for the perfect romantic getaway spot? Then, look no further than this idyllic one-bedroom apartment with views of Pescadero Canyon. 

It’s got all you need for an intimate weekend with your partner, like an indoor hot tub, a forest view and beach essentials for the perfect beach day. But that’s not all; you can cook up a storm in the fully-equipped kitchen with a microwave, oven, coffee machine, and blender. 

Prefer to have a night out on the town? You’re not far from great spots like Forge in the Forest and Flaherty’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar.

Your host Michele is accommodating and always on hand to provide fantastic local recommendations. And with a perfect five-star rating and reasonable prices, I’m sure you’ll love it here.

Location: Northwest Carmel

This neighbourhood is close to Ford Meadow, Pescadero Canyon and fantastic walking trails. 

Exquisite Fairytale

Exquisite Fairytale

If you’re exploring the Pacific Coast with friends or family, this charming two-bedroom cottage is perfect. It might look quaint with its stunningly-manicured gardens but, don’t be fooled, it has plenty of modern amenities inside. 

If you’re keen to rustle up something tasty, you can prep in the large chef’s kitchen before grilling your dinner on the Doublewide BBQ grill. While you’re busy, your other guests can sit around the fire pit or play a game of ping pong.

End the night with a thrilling drama on HBO or Showtime on the 72-inch flat-screen TV. Or, if you prefer to enjoy live entertainment, you’re within walking distance of vibrant venues like Carmel Theater and Sunset Center.

I’ll give you a fair warning, though: this rental has been recognised by plenty of prestigious travel sites, so you might want to book well in advance. 

Location: Northeast Carmel

Situated close to central Carmel, you’re not far from the city’s best art galleries, restaurants and cafes.

Stylish Carmel Cottage

Stylish Carmel Cottage

Book a stay at this dreamy one-bedroom cottage for its mid-range rate and responsive host, and you’ll be wowed by its elegant and minimalist design. What’s more, it comes with all you need for a weekend getaway, such as a bathtub, an indoor fireplace, and a well-equipped kitchen.  

You’ve got plenty of foodie options here – will you cook a gourmet meal in the kitchen, BBQ on the outdoor grill or explore downtown Carmel’s best eateries? Either way, you’ll love the small details at this Carmel Airbnb, like a complimentary bottle of wine, a delightful garden and a pristine living space.

The cottage is close to Ocean Avenue and not too far from Big Sur, Monterey Bay and the best Point Lobos hikes. The only downside, which is fairly minor, is that the cottage is close to the road, so if traffic noise is an issue for you, bring earplugs.  

Location: Carmel Hills 

This neighbourhood might just be my favourite. It’s perfect for explorers, as it’s close to Mission Trail Park, but it’s also a short walk from downtown Carmel and everything it has to offer.

Carmel Oasis by the Sea

Carmel Oasis By The Sea

Next up, this three-bedroom home is so elegant that it could easily feature on Selling Sunset. Yeah, that’s right: this property is chic, from the white marble-topped kitchen to the eclectic interior design.

It’s not just the decor that will excite you, but also the picturesque mountain views and outdoor spaces. Just imagine hopping in the hot tub after a day of exploring, taking in the California sunset of your dreams.

Prefer to stay indoors? Well, you can, as this oasis has an indoor fireplace, a flat-screen TV with all major streaming services and plenty of board games. And, when hunger strikes, you can whip up your favourite meal in the kitchen, as it has a KitchenAid steel stove, a dishwasher, a blender and more. 

Note: this house is sadly not wheelchair accessible, so do consider this before you book. 

Location: Mission Fields

Mission Fields is slightly further out of Carmel. But it’s an ideal place to stay for golfers and hikers, as it’s close to Pebble Beach and Point Lobos.

Historic Luxury Penthouse

Rustic Elegance

Want to be close to all the action in Carmel? Then, stay at this luxury three-bedroom penthouse in the heart of town. That’s hardly the only advantage, as you’ll get to bed down in an architectural treasure adorned with local art and original light fixtures. 

This home belonged to Isabel Martin, one of Carmel’s first families, so it’s full of history. But, despite its age, it comes with modern amenities like smart TVs, free Wi-Fi and a fully-equipped kitchen.

You’ll adore the attention to detail in this house, as well as the spacious living areas and fantastic views. Moreover, you’ll also love the host, Robert, who is super responsive and flexible.

Location: Downtown Carmel

Downtown Carmel is one of the best places to stay in Carmel, as it’s close to restaurants, live entertainment and the beach.

The Nestle Inn

The Nestle

You’ll get all kinds of cosy as you nestle into (see what I did there?) this adorable one-bedroom guesthouse. With its rustic-meets-modern design and private patio space, it might be easy to judge this house by its cover. 

However, it’s got all you need for a tranquil stay, including a comfy queen-sized bed, a kitchen with all the basics and a TV with cable. It’s also got stuff you may forget (check out my weekend away packing list to avoid this), like shampoo and a blow dryer. 

You’ll have to stay at least two nights, but I doubt you’ll mind this as you soak up the sun on the outdoor patio or cuddle up with your partner in the high-thread-count sheets. 

Location: Hatton Fields

Stay here if you want to explore beyond Carmel. Hatton Fields is just off Highway One, making getting to Big Sur, Carmel Beach, and Carmel Mission easy. 

Welcome to Carmel By The Sea

Welcome to Carmel By The Sea

Looking for the ideal group rental in Carmel? I’ve found it with this delightful four-bedroom home that can house up to eight guests. The pastel tones, eclectic furniture and spades of natural lighting will enchant you when you enter this house. 

The charm doesn’t stop there as you go to the backyard, where you have a fire pit with outdoor seating, an outdoor dining area and a BBQ grill. The space also comes with plenty of private nooks, if you want a break from the group – like the upper reading area. 

Feeling social? Enjoy a fun-filled movie or game night, all while keeping warm by the fireplace. You can dine in or eat out with ease, as the kitchen is well equipped for groups, but you’re also in the middle of Carmel.

Location: Downtown Carmel

You’re in the city centre, so it’s within walking distance of the best art galleries, boutiques and fine dining spots. If you want to immerse yourself in Carmel, here’s where you can do just that.

Amazing Carmel Getaway

Amazing Carmel Getaway

Revel in your own tiny slice of heaven at this delightful one-bedroom studio in West Carmel. I’m not kidding; it’s stunning here, from the ornate garden to the 400 thread-count linens. You’ll fall in love with its simplicity and marvel at the luxurious amenities, like the comfy cotton robes, the huge TV and complimentary EO toiletries. 

But, the best part? This rental offers you complete privacy, so you can enjoy a glass of wine with your partner on the patio before taking a stroll to a fine dining spot of your choice. You can also get ready in style with a calming bath and get all dressed up in the walk-in closet.

Location: West Carmel

This neighbourhood is minutes away from Downtown while still being full of privacy and beauty.

Practical Tips to Consider Before Booking Your Carmel by the Sea Airbnb  

  • Staying in an Airbnb in Carmel-by-the-Sea is way more affordable than staying at a hotel. I recommend booking a month or two in advance to save money. 
  • When booking somewhere to stay in Carmel, consider your interests and hobbies. If you love art, stay in Downtown Carmel. If you prefer to hike, stay in Mission Fields. Lastly, if you love to swim, stay in the Golden Rectangle.

Airbnb Carmel, CA: Map

Carmel By The Sea

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