A Travel Price Comparison for California Carmel-by-the-Sea vs. Fairfield for Vacations, Tours, and Honeymoons

Should you visit Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield?

Which is cheaper to visit? Which is more expensive for vacation?

Trying to figure out where to travel next? This travel comparison between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Fairfield can help. It includes a travel cost comparison in addition to other factors. For many travelers, the cost of a destination is a primary consideration when choosing where to go.

Where Should I go: Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield?


A small, beach town on the Monterey Peninsula, Carmel-by-the-Sea is known for its idyllic natural scenery and artistic history. Carmel's village, just one square mile in size, is unlike any other in California with its picturesque views, European style and unusual laws.

Clint Eastwood served as mayor of Carmel from 1986-88. Without a single fast food or chain restaurants, visitors can easily feel that Carmel still preserves its slow and easy lifestyle, with all private-owned restaurants, coffee shops and pubs. This town is undoubtedly charming, even with its anti-high heel laws (though they aren't strictly enforced and permits are free at the City Hall), lack of street addresses and has been named the top destination for dog-friendly towns in the country. Grab your furry friends, leave your heels at home and get ready to explore this quaint and lovely town by the sea.

If you want to avoid the heat, Carmel is the perfect place to go, with year-round mild temperatures. Even during the summer seasons, you may not feel the heat through the fog and cool coastal weather. Peak seasons for travel are during summer months in August and September, (especially popular for weddings) and even then, the highs are still in the low 70s. Winter season lows dip only down to low 50s, with the Pacific Oceans maintaining moderate temperatures.

If you're driving to the city, keep in mind that the businesses do not have numbers in their addresses. To get directions or arrange a meeting, be sure to remember the name of the business and grab a map from the Carmel Chamber of Commerce.

Some famous artists who have resided in Carmel are Upton Sinclair, Jack London and Mary Austin. Carmel is known to be particularly dog-friendly, as almost all hotels allow guests to bring their dogs.


The city of Fairfield is in Solano County, California, in the Sacramento Valley area. It's a medium sized city that is home to the Travis Air Force Base. It's also halfway between San Francisco and Sacramento along Interstate 80. There are a handful of interesting activities in the area. Consider visiting either the Grizzly Island Wildlife Area or the Hill Slough Wildlife Area both of which have hiking, fishing, birdwatching, and boating opportunities. You can also take a tour of the Jelly Belly Factory which is in town, or tour the Anheuser-Busch Brewery which includes two complimentary beers and a limitless supply of pretzels. On Thursdays you can take a guided tour of the Travis Air Force Base. If you're interested in visited a working ranch, Rush Ranch is open to the public and can be a fun experience with an opportunity to visit with the animals.

For some great organized tour ideas, see The Best Hiking & Trekking Tours in United States of America, The Best Historical Tours in United States of America, The Best 10-Day Tours in United States of America, and The Best One Week (7-Day) Tours in United States of America.

Which place is cheaper, Fairfield or Carmel-by-the-Sea?

These are the overall average travel costs for the two destinations.

The average daily cost (per person) in Carmel-by-the-Sea is $0.00, while the average daily cost in Fairfield is $131. These costs include accommodation (assuming double occupancy, so the traveler is sharing the room), food, transportation, and entertainment. While every person is different, these costs are an average of past travelers in each destination. What follows is a categorical breakdown of travel costs for Carmel-by-the-Sea and Fairfield in more detail.

  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Carmel-by-the-Sea -
    Fairfield $97
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Carmel-by-the-Sea $0.00
    Fairfield $194
Compare Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Fairfield

Looking for a hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield? Prices vary by location, date, season, and the level of luxury. See below for options and compare which is best for your budget and travel style.

Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Hotels in Fairfield

Kayak helps you find the best prices for hotels, flights, and rental cars for destinations around the world. Compare prices for multiple destinations when planning your next trip.

Our Analysis
We've analyzed the average and typical hotel prices based on guest reviews, star ratings, and hotel amenities here: Carmel-by-the-Sea Hotel Prices and Fairfield Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Carmel-by-the-Sea $125
    Fairfield -

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Some specific examples of transportation prices in Carmel-by-the-Sea:

  • Private Transfer from Monterey Port to San Francisco City Hotels: $137
  • Private Transfer from Monterey Port to San Francisco Airport(SFO): $137

Is it cheaper to fly into Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield?

Prices for flights to both Fairfield and Carmel-by-the-Sea change regularly based on dates and travel demand. We suggest you find the best prices for your next trip on Kayak, because you can compare the cost of flights across multiple airlines for your prefered dates.

  • Food Meals for one day
    Carmel-by-the-Sea $153
    Fairfield $30

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Also, here are some specific examples of food and dining related activities in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

  • Thai Cooking Class in Monterey: $99
  • Old Monterey Walking Food Tour: $150

Typical Food Prices in Fairfield

Here are some examples of typical meal expenses from previous travelers to Fairfield:

  • El Pollo Loco Lunch (for 3)
  • Hometown Buffet Dinner (for 3)

  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Carmel-by-the-Sea -
    Fairfield $13

Tours and Activities in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Some specific costs of activities, tours, and entrance tickets for Carmel-by-the-Sea are as follows:

  • 1-Hour Monterey and Cannery Row GoCar Tour: $79
  • 17 Mile Drive: A Self-Guide Audio Tour of Pebble Beach’s Historical Highlights: $9.99
  • 17-Mile Drive Electric Bike Guided Tour: $75
  • 2-Hour Monterey and Pacific Grove GoCar Tour: $149
  • 2.5-Hour Electric Bike Tour Along 17 Mile Drive of Coastal Monterey: $65
  • 3-Hour Monterey, Cannery Row and Pacific Grove GoCar Tour: $189
  • Big Sur Electric Bike Tour Along Old Coast Road: $175
  • Big Sur Self-Driving Audio Tour: Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway: $17
  • Big Sur's Old Coast Road eBike Tour: $250
  • Carmel Point: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Carmel Small Group Walking Food & Cultural Tour: $139
  • Carmel Tour in The Heavenly 17 Mile Drive: $30

  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Carmel-by-the-Sea -
    Fairfield -

Sample the Local Flavors in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Here are a few nightlife and alcohol tours and activities from local tour providers in Carmel-by-the-Sea:

  • Carmel Valley Wine Tour in a Vintage VW Bus: $99
  • Wine Tours in a Vintage VW Bus: $139
  • Wine Tasting and Walking Tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea: $159
  • Carmel Valley Wine Tour's Premium Package: $299

When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Fairfield, we can see that Fairfield is more expensive. And not only is Carmel-by-the-Sea much less expensive, but it is actually a significantly cheaper destination. So, traveling to Carmel-by-the-Sea would let you spend less money overall. Or, you could decide to spend more money in Carmel-by-the-Sea and be able to afford a more luxurious travel style by staying in nicer hotels, eating at more expensive restaurants, taking tours, and experiencing more activities. The same level of travel in Fairfield would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Fairfield than you might in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

If you're trying to decide if either of these two destinations are within your price range, also see Is Carmel-by-the-Sea Expensive? and Is Fairfield Expensive?.

Which is Bigger, Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield?

Fairfield has a larger population, and is about 30 times larger than the population of Carmel-by-the-Sea. When comparing the sizes of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Fairfield, keep in mind that a larger population does not always imply the destination has more attractions or better activities. So, always research the type of place that you want to visit along with the activities and attractions that interest you.

When is the best time to visit Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield?

Both places have a temperate climate with four distinct seasons. As both cities are in the northern hemisphere, summer is in July and winter is in January.

Should I visit Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield in the Summer?

The summer brings many poeple to Carmel-by-the-Sea as well as Fairfield. The summer months attract visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea because of the beaches, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences.

In the summer, Carmel-by-the-Sea is cooler than Fairfield. Typically, the summer temperatures in Carmel-by-the-Sea in July average around 63°F (17°C), and Fairfield averages at about 73°F (23°C).

Carmel-by-the-Sea usually gets more rain in July than Fairfield. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 0 inches (1 mm) of rain, while Fairfield receives 0 inches (1 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Carmel-by-the-Sea 63°F (17°C) 
    Fairfield 73°F (23°C)

Should I visit Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield in the Autumn?

Both Fairfield and Carmel-by-the-Sea are popular destinations to visit in the autumn with plenty of activities. The shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area are the main draw to Carmel-by-the-Sea this time of year.

In October, Carmel-by-the-Sea is generally around the same temperature as Fairfield. Daily temperatures in Carmel-by-the-Sea average around 62°F (17°C), and Fairfield fluctuates around 62°F (17°C).

In October, Carmel-by-the-Sea usually receives less rain than Fairfield. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 0.6 inches (14 mm) of rain, while Fairfield receives 1.1 inches (27 mm) of rain each month for the autumn.

  • Autumn Average Temperatures October
    Carmel-by-the-Sea 62°F (17°C) 
    Fairfield 62°F (17°C)

Should I visit Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield in the Winter?

Both Fairfield and Carmel-by-the-Sea during the winter are popular places to visit. Many travelers come to Carmel-by-the-Sea for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a little warmer than Fairfield in the winter. The daily temperature in Carmel-by-the-Sea averages around 51°F (11°C) in January, and Fairfield fluctuates around 46°F (8°C).

Carmel-by-the-Sea usually gets less rain in January than Fairfield. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Fairfield receives 3.8 inches (97 mm) of rain this time of the year.

  • Winter Average Temperatures January
    Carmel-by-the-Sea 51°F (11°C) 
    Fairfield 46°F (8°C)

Should I visit Carmel-by-the-Sea or Fairfield in the Spring?

The spring attracts plenty of travelers to both Carmel-by-the-Sea and Fairfield. Many visitors come to Carmel-by-the-Sea in the spring for the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty.

In the spring, Carmel-by-the-Sea is around the same temperature as Fairfield. Typically, the spring temperatures in Carmel-by-the-Sea in April average around 56°F (13°C), and Fairfield averages at about 56°F (13°C).

In April, Carmel-by-the-Sea usually receives less rain than Fairfield. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 1.1 inches (29 mm) of rain, while Fairfield receives 1.3 inches (32 mm) of rain each month for the spring.

  • Spring Average Temperatures April
    Carmel-by-the-Sea 56°F (13°C) 
    Fairfield 56°F (13°C)

Typical Weather for Fairfield and Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea Fairfield
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 46°F (8°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm)
Feb 53°F (12°C) 1.8 inches (47 mm) 51°F (11°C) 2.9 inches (73 mm)
Mar 54°F (12°C) 2.1 inches (55 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Apr 56°F (13°C) 1.1 inches (29 mm) 56°F (13°C) 1.3 inches (32 mm)
May 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 64°F (18°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Jun 62°F (16°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 69°F (21°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 73°F (23°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 70°F (21°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 0.6 inches (14 mm) 62°F (17°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 54°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 46°F (8°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)