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America's Favorite Beach Towns

America's Best Beach Towns: Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

Peter Horree / Alamy

No. 7 Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA

If your idea of seaside bliss is waves crashing into the rocks, this former artists’ colony on Monterey Bay offers beach-town perfection. Readers’ favorite time to visit here was fall—perhaps because that’s also harvest time for the wineries (such as Heller and Galante) in neighboring Carmel Valley. Readers also loved the town for its romantic hotels; check in to the château-style L’Auberge Carmel or Mission Ranch, an old dairy farm saved from developers by past mayor Clint Eastwood.

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