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The 9 most unique vacation rentals and Airbnb in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

The enchanted town of Carmel-by-the-sea, is one of a kind village on the stunning Californian Coast, a must-visit if you are in the area. Staying in one of the gorgeous Carmel-by-the-sea Airbnb will allow you to have a full experience. In this post, I am sharing the 7 most beautiful Airbnb homes that I have selected for you.
Read on, and enter the fairy tale world of Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.


Carmel is renowned for its cute charming cottages, the historic Spanish Mission, and the overall romantic and fairy tale-like ambiance.

Walking through the narrow streets and the hidden passageways is like entering a fantasy world, where everything is immaculate and perfectly in order, beautiful and tidy. It feels like nothing bad can possibly happen there.

The homes don’t have numbers, and outside the shops, you can find water for the dogs, obviously in stylish bowls.

While strolling along these scenic walkways you will think you just never want to leave.

The surroundings of Carmel-by-the-sea are not less appealing and you can stay in one of the cute Carmel by the sea Airbnb for a few days and use it as a base to explore around.

You can also enjoy the attractions of the nearby Monterey, just 4 miles away, drive along the breathtaking coastline of Big Sur with its dramatic views over the ocean, join some hiking tours, or take a self-guided walking tour in Carmel, take an art class or a bike ride in nature.

Or you can just enjoy the surreal atmosphere, taking it easy. If you are a digital nomad or just a remote worker looking for a getaway, this the perfect spot to find a temporary home where to work in a peaceful and inspiring atmosphere, have breakfast in one of the cute coffee shops, and dinner in one of the fancy restaurants. I assure you, you will have the time of your life. Carmel-by-the-sea is definitely one of the most picturesque hidden gems in the US.

INSIDER TIP – Carmel-by-the-sea has some hilly streets with cobblestone pavements. So it’s advisable to wear comfortable shoes when walking around.

FUN FACT – The City of Carmel has an old law on the books that bans high heels in town to prevent tripping on the cobblestone walkways and uneven pavement due to tree roots

Read on to see the most beautiful Carmel-by-the-sea Vacation Rentals that I have selected for you.

field of flowers and sunset in the horizon
Photo © VRBO

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The top 9 Carmel-by-the sea vacation rentals

IMPORTANT NOTE – Since Airbnb has terminated the Associate program, I regret to inform you that I don’t feel comfortable using their site anymore nor promoting their products. Therefore I have removed all Airbnb links and properties and switched to VRBO which I actually find to be more straightforward and user-friendly. If you book your stay from one of the below links I will get a commission from the rental company at zero cost for you while you will be contributing to support this site. Thank you so much in advance!

Steps to Town & Beach. A Quiet and Private Retreat. Ideal Location #1

📍 Carmel-by-the-sea – CA- 2 guests · Studio · 1 bed · 1 bath ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 💲💲💲

It’s a small quiet studio at a close distance from the heart of town the beach and hiking trails and yet situated on a quiet, area among a grove of old oak trees where guests can enjoy tranquility and privacy.

Very cozy and simply decorated in white and cute little details, this lovely studio has ben extensively updated with a new bathroom, kitchen, hardwood floors, king bed, and other new pieces of furniture throughout. It’s the perfect home for one or two people.

Besides the most modern amenities including, Xfinity TV, highspeed WIFI, and washer, this pretty home offers a luxurious eastern king bed with high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, Belgian linen duvet co, linen duvet cover, and pillow shams.

Next door there is a 2 bedroom cottage from the same owner (see below unit) but they both have a private entryway and pathway through the gardens and is separated from the main house by a fence so there are no direct sightlines between the two. However, it’s convenient for big families or friends traveling together to rent both units, to stay close but each one keeping their own privacy.

Min stay – 7 days
Max stay – 30 days

Read more and check availability on VRBO

What some of the previous guests say:

Think of this as staying in an exceptional hotel room or cruise ship suite with a complete kitchen, and surrounded by trees and gardens. Perfect for one or two, super convenient location and extremely well-managed.

We found this jewel by browsing VRBO options in Carmel and we got incredibly lucky. Not only was this cottage everything we imagined, but Barry, the owner, and manager thought of every little detail to make our 27th anniversary unforgettable. The setting and grounds are pure Carmel, and the cottage is appointed with every amenity you could imagine. If your looking for a romantic two-person getaway to Carmel you cannot beat this.

My husband and I spent a relaxing week in this beautiful, cozy, well-stocked cottage. Carmel is one of our favorite cities to visit and we have stayed in many of the hotels throughout the years. This year we were fortunate to have found Barry’s cottage! We loved being within walking distance to the beach and the town. We enjoyed our stay and highly recommend Barry’s Cottage!


Steps to Town & Beach. A Quiet and Private Retreat. #2

📍 Carmel-by-the-sea – CA- 4 guests · 2 bed · 2 bath ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 💲💲💲

Located within the same premises as the previous studio and own by the same host Barry, this beautiful 2 bedroom home is perfect for family or couples and singles that enjoy living in bigger spaces. within the so-called Golden Triangle area of Carmel, you will be at a walking distance from the beach and Carmel downtown where you can choose among a wide variety of restaurants cafes, and cute little shops.

If you want to stay in one of Carmel’s original beach houses, this is your place. It’s been completely renovated and beautifully decorated in the most exquisite style, with white wood and linen and elegant touches. You will also love the pinewood plank floors, Carmel stone fireplace, and wavy glass windows.

Each one of the bedrooms boasts a luxurious eastern king bed with high thread count Egyptian cotton sheets, Belgian linen duvet cover, and pillow shams.

Also, high speed business class free WiFi and Xfinity TV with voice command.

The studio cottage next door has its own private entryway and pathway through the gardens and is separated from the main house by a fence so there are no direct sightlines between the two. However, it’s convenient for big families or friends traveling together to rent both units, to stay close but each one keeping their own privacy.

Min stay – 7 days
Max stay – 30 days

Read more on VRBO

What some of the previous guests say:

We had a wonderful stay in this beautiful property! It was comfortable, well equipped, and could moonlight in a Nancy Meyers movie. Quiet, but close to shops and restaurants. The garden and porch were lovely, and Barry the host was an absolute delight.

We have used VRBO for many years and I have never written a review. Barry’s place was hands down the best place we have stayed. The house was perfect. It was exactly as promised. Actually, it was better than promised. The house was beautiful. There was a great deck with lounges and a nice size table. There was a sun porch and the living room, bedrooms and bathrooms were all large and great. The kitchen was a good size too. The house was immaculate. We felt guilty leaving it not as clean as we had found it. Every bit of the house, from the wood floor to the ceiling was absolutely dust and dirt-free. The house is in a perfect location. A very short walk to town, but enough blocks away so you don’t get tourist parking and noise. I know that many ads say that the owner will take care of you, but in the past, we’ve at best gotten a welcome note. Barry left us wonderful goodies and he checked on us a couple of times during our stay. Never obtrusive, just a text checking in and always saying “Don’t feel you need to reply”. Very thoughtful. We couldn’t have been happier. I couldn’t recommend it more..

“This home was in such a great location. Close to the shops and beach but was on a nice, quiet road. Great parking right out front.The house had everything needed to make our week stay very comfortable. The kitchens and bathrooms were well stocked with all the necessities. The home was very clean and well decorated! Barry was a delight to deal with. Was quick to respond and made us feel very welcome. Wouldn’t hesitate to visit again!”


Charming Downtown Flat! Walk Everywhere!

📍 Carmel-by-the-Sea – CA- 1-2 guests · 1 bedroom ·1 bathroom ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ·💲💲💲💲

This apartment in the very heart of Carmel down town is one of the cutest vacation rentals in Carmel by-the-sea, the typical cottage house that you see in fairytale books. It’s this flat.

This romantic boasts the authentic old-world charm with its elegant eclectic decor that artfully mixes vintage and modern details, including hardwood floors, whitewashed vaulted ceilings, and handcrafted plaster walls, and a color pallet that evokes the soothing tones of the nearby ocean, light blue, green, and gray. A private balcony overlooks downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea, Ocean Avenue, and all of the galleries, restaurants, and shops.

Included in your package you will receive complimentary cheese and wine welcome gift and a basket of local information. You will also be assigned a local concierge available for anything you need throughout your stay.

Laundry service is available but there are no laundry facilities in the building. Cars may be parked on the street – no parking spaces are provided.

Pets are allowed at an additional fee

Min Stay: 2–7 nights

Read more about the house layout and check availability on VRBO

What some of the previous guests say:

Tucked away, felt private, quiet and relaxing but right in the middle of the downtown area. Easy access to everything! Can’t wait for our next stay.

Perfect location, can walk to everything in Carmel. Cozy spot.

“I loved this property. We were able to bring our puppy with us which was fantastic! This apartment overlooks a courtyard with a sushi restaurant and reading on the balcony while in the middle of things but fully out of everything was a favorite moment of mine.

The internet was the only thing that was a little spotty.

The renters were welcoming and reached out multiple times but this is part of a bigger group of rental properties and so there was a decent amount of paperwork and communication beforehand. I will say they were super accommodating.

This was a last-minute trip and everything was taken care of and prepared by our arrival, including all of the paperwork. I would recommend this property to anyone looking for a getaway right in the middle of downtown Carmel!


Moonglow: Forest tranquility minutes from downtown Carmel

📍 Carmel-by-the-sea CA- 1- 2 guests · 1 bedrooms · 1 bed · 1 bath ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 💲💲💲

Moonglow is a cozy traditional cottage nestled in a tranquil forest and yet at a few minutes’ drive or walk from Carmel downtown and beach.

The lovely home boasts a comfortable patio with plenty of seating and sooting views over the lush vegetation for the guest enjoyment. A heater is also available for cooler evenings.

At a close distance from biking or hiking trails and golfing for the outdoorsy. The home is furnished with comfortable double bed and a fully equipped kitchen.

Among the amenities HDTV streams Netflix and other Apps seamlessly via the fast Comcast Wi-Fi.

Moonglow is smoke free and doesn’t accept pets.

Read more about the house and check availability on VRBO

What some of the previous guests say:

Cozy cottage style room tucked in the woods was amazing! hope to go back next year.

My husband and I loved our experience staying here. The location as perfect- very private, nestled into the forested hillside, but we could easily get into town. We loved using their bikes to ride into town to explore, play tennis, go to the beach. The hot tub made it feel especially special. We would love to come back again.

Very cute cottage with a wonderful deck. Owners are on site and very friendly.



Atherton Cottage has Ocean and Point Lobos Views & two Fireplaces!

📍 Carmel-by-the-sea – CA- 2 guests · 1 studio · 1 bed · 1 bath ⭐⭐⭐ – 💲💲💲

One of the most charming Carmel by the sea vacation rentals, this lovely apartment makes a quiet and cozy retreat for your weekend getaway in Carmel or a month “workation”. It’s located by the historical Carmel Mission and surrounded by a green field and also very close to one of the beautiful Carmel beaches.

This luxury eco-friendly cottage boasts a comfortable king-size bed with fine linens, hickory hardwood & stone floors, Quartz counters & a newly remodeled bath. When you are not out exploring you can relax on the sunbed on the veranda or in the cozy and nicely decorated living room.

Previous guests raving about this luxury home in Carmel and the kindness of the premier host, Bill.

Read more about the home and check availability on VRBO

Some of the 149 5-star reviews:

Thanks, Bill for hosting a wonderful stay at the cottage. The accommodations were excellent with amazing gardens. The location was perfect for long walks and short drives to wherever we needed to go. 

What a wonderful getaway! Bill was very helpful, the place was very clean and well equipped. Furniture was very comfortable, nice bed…tastefully decorated. Wonderful outdoor areas too. The location is convenient to town and parks. We had a great stay and would definitely recommend it if you are visiting the Carmel area!.

We had a quick stay here (2 nights) and Bill treated us like we were staying for a month. This place is amazing. It has everything you’d ever need and then some. The gas fireplace – outside lounge chairs + all the small thoughtful touches make this place truly a sanctuary. Also, the bed was THE MOST comfortable bed we’ve ever slept in! We’d love to come back and spend more time and get to enjoy the deck and bbq! Thank you for a wonderful, relaxing stay! “


Carmel Point Charmer… Near the Beach!

📍 Carmel-by-the-sea – CA- 8 guests · 4 bedrooms · 3 baths ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ – 💲💲💲💲💲

With an amazing location at only half a block from Rio Beach and still within walking distance from Carmel main beach, this beautiful country house is the perfect place for a family reunion or friends retreat. Surrounded by a flowery manicured garden, this traditional luxury home is nicely decorated in colorful artwork and wooden furniture creating a cozy and pleasant ambiance.

The fully equipped kitchen is perfect if you wish to cook for the entire party and the ample bedrooms are nicely equipped with the most modern amenities and fine linen. The upstairs bedroom has a skylight and is surrounded by trees and from the bathroom, you can see the wetlands and up the Carmel Valley.

Two entire walls are covered with books and also family games are available for the family to enjoy.

There is off-street parking available for several cars.

Pets are allowed.

Read more about the house layout and check availability on VRBO

What some of the previous guests say:

This is a great house fully equipped for all your needs! The dogs loved the backyard, beds were very comfortable, the kitchen was well stocked & the house was very clean. Would highly recommend & would love to return.

The property was the perfect sanctuary, especially during COVID. The house had extra masks, gloves, hand sanitizer which was a thoughtful touch. Carmel restaurants made it really easy to deliver orders. It is a short walk to the beach at Carmel River – making sunset viewing quite easy. The front and backyards are spacious and welcoming. The whole feel is homey. We are sad to leave and hope to come back soon.

The home was beautiful; a charming Carmel house just a short walk to the beach.”


Carmel Point Beach House, Ocean & Sunset Views – Dog Friendly!

📍 Carmel-by-the-Sea – CA- 6 guests · 3 bedroom · 3 bathroom ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ·💲💲💲💲

A spectacular 6 bedroom modern house in Carmel Point with unbeatable ocean views at a walking distance from both Carmel Beach and Carmel River State Beach.

You will love the spacious open living room with huge screen windows to enjoy the amazing view from the comfort of your sofa. In the open space, you will also find the spacious dining room and the fully equipped chef kitchen featuring top-line appliances including Wolf and Subzero.

The ample bedrooms, 2 upstairs and one on the ground floor are equipped with the most modern amenities and world class linen.

This elegant home has been designed to guarantee the utmost comfort for the most sophisticated guests.

Min Stay: 5 nights

Other features

  • TV
  • Satellite or cable
  • Washer & Dryer
  • No Smoking
  • Heater
  • Children Welcome
  • Internet
  • Parking
  • Pets Welcome
  • Fireplace

Read more about the house layout and check availability on VRBO

What some of the previous guests say:

It’s like our home away from home. We love the house, the view and the way it is furnished. Deb is the best. Thank you, we have reservations for two weeks next year.

Wonderful location, we could hear the ocean at all hours of the day. Spacious house, quirky decoration, extremely well-equipped kitchen for both cooking meals and baking. Nice backyard with a little garden. Overall a very comfortable stay, thank you!

Very nice, clean, and spacious property. The location is superb!!! Steps from beautiful beaches. The kitchen is very well stocked with equipment for any home chef. You can literally prepare a gourmet holiday feast here. The owners are very responsive, the dishwasher stopped working on our second day and they took care of it immediately. The only thing to be aware of is the 3rd bedroom is located separately from the main house, nice for a guest set of adults.!”


Carmel Beautiful Airy Retreat. Walk to town/beach

📍 Carmel – CA- 2 guests · 1 bedroom· 1 bed · 1 bath ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐⭐ ·💲💲💲💲

Spectacular modern designer upper loft over 920sqft of a duplex in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

You will enjoy your privacy with your own private entrance and walkways, and exterior spaces.

The unit has been designed by acclaimed California architect John Hans Ostwald.

Situated at only 5 blocks to Carmel’s center and only 0.7 miles to Carmel beach.

No Pets/Smoking/Children under 12 — no exceptions. 1 uncovered parking space. Adheres to Carmel’s Rental Code.

Be aware that the cleaning products used to sanitize the property include bleach.

It is recommendable to read the entire information before booking.

Read more and check availability on Airbnb


Carmel Peaceful Retreat. Walk to town/beach

📍 Carmel-by-the-sea – CA- 2 guests · 1 bedrooms · 1 bed · 1 bath ⭐⭐⭐ ⭐ – 💲💲💲💲

Spectacular modern home located by the woods, immersed in nature, far from the town noise but at a few blocks from the historical center, bars, and shops.

The home is furnished in a minimalistic modern style for maximum comfort and enjoyment. The big-screen windows let you appreciate the surrounding greens and allow lots of light, yet without taking away your privacy.

Other useful information:

  • NO Pets/Smoking/Children under 12 – no exceptions. 1 uncovered onsite parking space. Adheres to Carmel’s Rental Code.
  • “Designed by acclaimed California architect John Hans Ostwald, this property is classic California Modernism. The property features all the hallmarks of classic California living with its integration with the natural landscape, Redwood post and beam construction, striking intentional geometry, airy lofty open spaces, walls of glass, and decks that bring the indoors out and the outdoors in.” (owner´s words)

Read more about the house layout and check availability on Airbnb


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