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Big Sur & Carmel: A Health & Wellness Travel Guide

Updated: Jun 19, 2023

If you’re looking for a weekend away to slow down and focus on your wellness while taking in some breathtaking views, visiting Big Sur & Carmel is the right journey for you. In this guide, I’ll be sharing beautiful trails to hike, restaurants that have seasonal or freshly sourced menus and different spots to relax and slow down.

Eating Mindfully & Seasonally

In Big Sur, we dined at Deetjen’s which had a seasonal menu with a unique and romantic setting. The sea bass was light with crispy skin and perfectly cooked through. The steak was tender and the mushroom sauce on top added a special flavor. The peach burrata salad was one of my favorites. Peaches are only in season during the summer but they’re my favorite fruit.

Nepenthe in Big Sur is a can’t miss spot. While they aren’t the most health forward, the views and their specialty coffee cocktails are worth the wait. We went for lunch and we’re able to eat overlooking the gorgeous coast line. They do have seasonal specials which we did indulge In: an artichoke with garlic aoli dip. Beware that if you don’t have a reservation, you could have an hour plus wait time.

In Carmel, we had dinner at Akaoni Sushi. You’ll find the freshest of fish with an authentic approach to sushi and Japanese food. No California or spicy tuna rolls in sight. The quality of fish here is out of this world. You won’t go wrong ordering any of the sushi. We also tried a dish we’ve never had before: cucumber octopus salad. The acidity of what they used to pickle the cucumbers gave the octopus a great texture (think ceviche). We also enjoyed the miso salmon which had a subtle miso taste and was cooked to perfection. It even came out still sizzling a little bit. Movement

We walked 3 trails in Big Sur that all offered a different experience.

The McWay Waterfall Trail is a short and flat trail that quickly leads you to a view point of a waterfall emptying onto the beach.

The Soberanes Point Trail is a short incline hike to an amazing view of the coast.

Along the Calla Lily Valley Trailhead leading to Garappata State Beach you’ll follow a flower lined path and creek down to the beach where you can walk along the ocean.

Slowing Down

Exploring Carmel gives you many opportunities to slow down and be present. My favorite of these experiences was visiting Pilgrim’s Way Bookstore & the Secret Garden. Not only does the store have a unique curation of books ranging from astrology to non-fiction to guided journals but there is a small garden that transports you to a different place entirely.

Carmel is also home to many art galleries with many different styles. A whole day could be spent exploring these.

Cozy Stays

Both of the places we stayed at in Big Sur and Carmel had cozy vibes. There were fire places and heated bathroom floors at each lodging for maximum comfort.

Glen Oaks Big Sur provided small cozy rooms. At night, they had a community campfires with s’mores included. In the morning, you can walk across the street for a complimentary donut and coffee. Their property also has its own walking path through some redwoods down to the river which was the perfect way to start our morning.

The Vagabond House Inn provided spacious rooms with very comfortable beds and a large bathroom with a stand alone tub. They provide wine and charcuterie at happy hour and breakfast to your door in the morning all complimentary. The location is perfect and walking distance from anything in Carmel.

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