Carmel-by-the-Sea, /kɑːrˈmɛl/ often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Situated on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel is known for its natural scenery and rich artistic history. In 1906, the San Francisco Call devoted a full page to the "artists, writers and poets at Carmel-by-the-Sea", and in 1910 it reported that 60 percent of Carmel's houses were built by citizens who were "devoting their lives to work connected to the aesthetic arts." Early City Councils were dominated by artists, and the city has had several mayors who were poets or actors, including Herbert Heron, founder of the Forest Theater, bohemian writer and actor Perry Newberry, and actor-director Clint Eastwood.
The town is known for being dog-friendly, with numerous hotels, restaurants and retail establishments admitting guests with dogs. Carmel is also known for several unusual laws, including a prohibition on wearing high-heel shoes without a permit, enacted to prevent lawsuits arising from tripping accidents caused by irregular pavement.
Carmel-by-the-Sea is located on the Pacific coast, about 330 miles (530 km) north of Los Angeles and 120 miles (190 km) south of San Francisco. Communities near Carmel-by-the-Sea include Carmel Valley and Carmel Highlands.
As of the 2010 census, the town had a total population of 3,722, down from 4,081 at the 2000 census.