A Travel Price Comparison for California Carmel-by-the-Sea vs. Sacramento for Attractions, Food, Couples, and Nightlife

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

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 Sacramento 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.

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a picturesque, quaint, and charming town. You'll find plenty of local activities in this small town. The beauty of this spot is also one of the main reasons why visitors come. Visitors also love the beaches, shopping, and museums.

Sacramento

Sacramento is a undiscovered, laid back, and relaxed city. Other popular activities here include nightlife, food, and shopping.

Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento: Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Popular beach
  • Good for couples and romance
  • Very walkable
  • Small town charm
  • Impressive beauty
  • Home to Pebble Beach Golf Course
Things to Consider
  • Less popular for nightlife
  • Less family-friendly
  • Less popular with backpackers
Pros
  • Popular museums and historical sights
  • Active nightlife
  • Family-friendly
Things to Consider
  • Less popular with couples
  • Less popular with backpackers
  • Less walkable


Is there more to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Tourists will generally find more to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Although Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento are both popular with visitors, Carmel-by-the-Sea has more sights, activities, and attractions for travelers. Carmel-by-the-Sea is more popular for its food, beaches, shopping, small town charm, and impressive beauty, while Sacramento is known for its museums and nightlife. Carmel-by-the-Sea is more touristy than Sacramento and is popular for its storybook architecture, its opulent setting, and its popularity with golf enthusiasts. It is also home to Pebble Beach Golf Course. Sacramento is popular for its history and state capital.

How is Carmel-by-the-Sea different from Sacramento?

Which is Better for a Holiday?

Let's take a look at the differences and similarities between Sacramento and Carmel-by-the-Sea. Then, you can decide for yourself which place is better for your next trip.

Are the Museums and Historical Sights Better in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Sacramento is a well-known place for its sights and museums. Also, Carmel-by-the-Sea is not as famous, but is still a good town to visit for its museums and history.

You'll find a good number of museums and monuments packed into Sacramento. As the state capital, you'll find a number of historical and informational museums around town. You should check out the State Capital, as well as the California State Railroad Museum, the Crocker Museum of Art, Sutter's Fort State Historic Park, and the California Automobile Museum.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a good place to visit if you're interested in museums or other recognizable sights. The Carmel Mission is a beautiful and fascinating Spanish mission that dates back to 1770. It's also well worth visiting the nearby Pebble Beach Golf Course. There are also a few fairytale style cottages in the area with some of the most notable being the Hansel cottage, the Gretel cottage, and the Tuck Box cottage.


Is the Food Better in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento? Which Destination has the Best Restaurants?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a very popular place for its restaurants. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its restaurant scene.

Carmel-by-the-Sea has a huge number of terrific restaurants. For such a small town there is a huge number of bistros and local cafes. Seafood is popular, but you'll also find international restaurants and more casual eateries.

There are many up and coming restaurants in the Sacramento area. Casual restaurants with laid back atmospheres are what's most common around town. You'll also find a variety of international cuisines that include Korean and Vietnamese.

Is Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento Better for Nightlife?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Sacramento is a city with good options for its evening party scene. However, Carmel-by-the-Sea is not a good town for nightlife.

There's a variety of activities in the evening in Sacramento. There highest concentration of activities are found in Downtown Sacramento. You'll find bars, clubs and live music in the area. You can also head to midtown, which has performing arts and comedy shows.

Those looking for nightlife will find a few places to hang out in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It's not a late night town, but there are a couple of bars and some decent Happy Hours around town.

Is Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento Better for Beaches?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a very popular place for the beache. However, Sacramento is not a beach destination.

You'll have a great beach vacation in Carmel-by-the-Sea. It's easy to walk to the beach from the village center. Just head down Ocean Avenue and you'll be at a beautiful beach with great scenery, surfing, and fun activities.

Sacramento is not a beach destination.


Is the Shopping Better in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a very popular place for its shopping opportunities. Also, Sacramento is not quite as popular, but is fairly good for its shopping areas.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is well-known for its shopping. It's easy to walk around the heart of town and pop in the many shops and galleries. The highest concentration of shops is found around the Carmel Plaza which has upscale brands as well as local items.

Many visitors go to Sacramento to go shopping. You'll find down-to-earth vendors who have reasonable prices and a great selection. Some of the most interesting shopping is found at the Old Sacramento Waterfront or along Folsom Boulevard.

Is Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento Better for Families?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Sacramento is a city with good options for its family-friendly activities. However, Carmel-by-the-Sea is not a good town for its kid-friendly activities.

Sacramento is a family-friendly place to visit. With the large number of families that live in the area, you'll a variety of kid-friendly activities. Options include smaller amusement parks like Funderland Amusement Park, museums like the Sacramento Children's Museum, and indoor trampoline parks. There's also Fairytale Town, which is an imagination filled playground.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is not always a place people visit with their families. Carmel is a good place to let the kids stretch their legs. There are also some good kid-friendly walks in the area.

Is Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento Better for Couples?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a very popular place for its romantic activities. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for couples.

Carmel-by-the-Sea makes for a fun place to visit for a couple. It's a charming town with a beautiful coastline and plenty of cute hotels that makes for a great romantic getaway. There's wonderful shopping and many great restaurants where you can enjoy a local meal.

Sacramento is not always the best place to visit for a couple. Picnics, nice restaurants, and shows make for enjoyable date activities while you're in town.


Is Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento Better for Public Transit? Which Is Easier to Get Around Without a Car?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Both Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento offer decent public transit options.

Public transit is generally limited in Carmel-by-the-Sea. There are a couple of buses, but you can't really depend on them to get around.

Public transit is mostly limited in Sacramento. There's both light rail and buses around town.

Is Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento a more walkable city?

Carmel-by-the-Sea
Sacramento

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a very popular place for its high level of walkability. However, Sacramento is lacking in good options for its ease of walking around.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a very walkable town. The village center is very walkable so it's easy to park you car and shop or walk to the beach.

Sacramento is generally not very walkable. You'll really want a car to get around town, but Midtown is one of the more walkable areas.

For even more information, also check out Is Carmel-by-the-Sea Worth Visiting? and Is Sacramento Worth Visiting?.

Should I spend more time in Sacramento or Carmel-by-the-Sea?

How long in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

You'll be able to find lots of things to do in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento to fill your time. Many travelers usually spend more of their time in Carmel-by-the-Sea than Sacramento because of the number of activities and things to do in the area. Usually, 1-3 days is a good amount of time for Carmel-by-the-Sea, and 1-2 days is enough time in Sacramento.

Families should spend more time in Sacramento than Carmel-by-the-Sea. Because of the many family-friendly attractions and fun things to do for kids in Sacramento, it's a great place to visit with the whole family.

Couples should spend more time in Carmel-by-the-Sea than Sacramento. You'll find plenty of romantic sights and fun activities in Carmel-by-the-Sea that are great for a weekend getaway or a longer couple's trip.

Backpackers and budget travelers should spend more time in Carmel-by-the-Sea than Sacramento if your budget allows for it. With a larger number of budget-friendly sights, good nightlife, and active things to do, anyone traveling on a budget would have a good time in Carmel-by-the-Sea.


  • How many days in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento? Ideal Length of Stay
    Carmel-by-the-Sea 1-3 
    Sacramento 1-2

One day in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Carmel-by-the-Sea might be a small town, but there's plenty to do in the area. Anyone can find something fun to do here. People usually spend lots of time at the beach. While some people choose to spend more or less time in Carmel-by-the-Sea, one day is sufficent for most.

With shopping and museums around the destination of Sacramento, there's plenty to do. One day is often enough time to do most activities. It offers something for everyone.


A weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Even though Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small town, it has plenty of activities to choose from. It's also a great beach destination, too. It offers something for everyone. Many people spend a weekend here. In a weekend, you should have a good grasp of this town.

With museums and nightlife around the laid back city of Sacramento, there's plenty to do. Your budget might influence how long you stay. This is a popular place to visit for a weekend. With all of its activities, you can easily fill a weekend here.

Five days in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Carmel-by-the-Sea, a popular town, is full of activities for travelers. It's a great spot for a beach vacation. Most people find that five days is more than enough time to see everything. Your budget might influence how long you stay.

Travelers enjoy the nightlife and food when visiting the laid back destination of Sacramento. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do. Five days is more than enough time to enjoy everything. Take some day trips to nearby places to fill the extra days.

A week in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento?

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a popular place that is full of things to see and experience. One week is plenty of time to see everything, even with extra days to spare. It has many unique tourist attractions and fascinating things to do.

Sacramento is a popular choice for travelers. This city offers a variety of activities to choose from. One week may feel like too much time unless you plan to do a lot of relaxing.


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, Sacramento 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 Sacramento is $281. 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 Sacramento in more detail.



Accommodation
  • Accommodation Hotel or hostel for one person
    Carmel-by-the-Sea -
    Sacramento $111
  • Accommodation Typical double-occupancy room
    Carmel-by-the-Sea $0.00
    Sacramento $222
Compare Hotels in Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento

Looking for a hotel in Carmel-by-the-Sea or Sacramento? 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 Sacramento


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 Sacramento Hotel Prices.

Local Transportation
  • Local Transportation Taxis, local buses, subway, etc.
    Carmel-by-the-Sea $125
    Sacramento $51

Hired Cars and Shuttles in Sacramento

Also for Sacramento, here are a few examples of actual transportation services:

  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Arrival Private Transfer: $110
  • Sacramento Airport (SMF) to Napa, CA - Round-Trip Private Transfer: $219

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

Prices for flights to both Sacramento 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
  • Food Meals for one day
    Carmel-by-the-Sea $153
    Sacramento $53

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

Food Tours and Cooking Classes in Sacramento

For Sacramento, here are some samples of tours and activities related to meals and dining experiences:

  • Historic Old Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $95
  • Midtown Sacramento Arts and Food Tour: $98
  • Downtown Sacramento Historical Food Tour: $98
  • Midtown Sacramento Walking Food Tour: $125
  • Midtown Walking Food Tour: $145
  • Italian Cooking and Dance Class Experience: $160

Entertainment
  • Entertainment Entrance tickets, shows, etc.
    Carmel-by-the-Sea -
    Sacramento $19

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 Sea Car Tour: $79
  • 17 Mile Drive: A Self-Guide Audio Tour of Pebble Beach’s Historical Highlights: $9.99
  • 2-Hour Monterey and Pacific Grove Sea Car Tour: $149
  • 2.5-Hour Electric Bike Tour Along 17 Mile Drive of Coastal Monterey: $65
  • 3-Hour Monterey Bay Winter Whale-Watching Tour: $70
  • 3-Hour Monterey, Cannery Row and Pacific Grove Sea Car Tour: $189
  • Big Sur Self-Driving Audio Tour: Highway 1, Pacific Coast Highway: $17
  • Carmel Small Group Walking Food & Cultural Tour: $139
  • Carmel by the Sea 2-Hour Private Walking Tour: $20
  • Carmel-By-The-Sea 2.5 Hour Electric Bike Tour Along Charming Town: $75
  • Fairy Tale Houses Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Carmel-by-the-Sea 2.5 Hour Electric Bike Tour: $75

Tours and Activities in Sacramento

For Sacramento, here are a few prices for actual activities, tours, and tickets provided by various companies:

  • Gold Rush & Ghosts SmartPhone App Walking Tour: $6.50
  • Gold Rush and Ghosts of Sacramento Smart Phone guided (App/GPS) Walking Tour: $6.75
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Old A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Historic Folsom: A Self-Guided Audio Tour: $7.99
  • Scavenger Hunt Adventure Self-Guided City Game: $10
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Placerville to Jackson: $12
  • Driving in Delta’s Wine Country: Private Self-Guided Audio Tour: $12
  • Delta's History and Wine: A Self-Guided Driving Tour: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Jackson to Angels Camp: $12
  • A Highway 49 Drive: A Self-Guided Audio Tour from Auburn to Placerville: $12
  • Sacramento Scavenger Hunt Adventure: $21

Alcohol
  • Alcohol Drinks for one day
    Carmel-by-the-Sea -
    Sacramento $12

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:

  • Wine Tasting and Walking Tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea: $149
  • Wine Tasting and Walking Tour of Carmel-by-the-Sea: $149
  • Wine Tours in a Vintage VW Bus: $185
  • Monterey: Wine tour in a 1970 VW bus.: $185

Sample the Local Flavors in Sacramento

Also in Sacramento, these are the prices for nightlife and alcohol related activities from various tour providers:

  • Sacramento Bar Hunt: Sacramento Sprint Bar Crawl: $12
  • Cider and Wine Tasting Tour with Lunch - near Sacramento: $125


When we compare the travel costs of actual travelers between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento, we can see that Sacramento 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 Sacramento would naturally cost you much more money, so you would probably want to keep your budget a little tighter in Sacramento 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 Sacramento Expensive?.


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

Sacramento has a larger population, and is about 120 times larger than the population of Carmel-by-the-Sea. When comparing the sizes of Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento, 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 Sacramento?

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 Sacramento in the Summer?

Both Sacramento and Carmel-by-the-Sea during the summer are popular places to visit. Most visitors come to Carmel-by-the-Sea for the beaches, the small town charm, and the family-friendly experiences during these months. Also, the summer months attract visitors to Sacramento because of the family-friendly experiences.

In July, Carmel-by-the-Sea is generally cooler than Sacramento. Daily temperatures in Carmel-by-the-Sea average around 63°F (17°C), and Sacramento fluctuates around 76°F (24°C).

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


  • Summer Average Temperatures July
    Carmel-by-the-Sea 63°F (17°C) 
    Sacramento 76°F (24°C)

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

The autumn attracts plenty of travelers to both Carmel-by-the-Sea and Sacramento. The autumn months attract visitors to Carmel-by-the-Sea because of the shopping scene, the small town atmosphere, and the natural beauty of the area. Also, the shopping scene are the main draw to Sacramento this time of year.

Carmel-by-the-Sea is around the same temperature as Sacramento in the autumn. The daily temperature in Carmel-by-the-Sea averages around 62°F (17°C) in October, and Sacramento fluctuates around 64°F (18°C).

In October, Carmel-by-the-Sea usually receives less rain than Sacramento. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 0.6 inches (14 mm) of rain, while Sacramento 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) 
    Sacramento 64°F (18°C)

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

The winter brings many poeple to Carmel-by-the-Sea as well as Sacramento. The museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine are the main draw to Carmel-by-the-Sea this time of year. Also, many travelers come to Sacramento for the museums, the shopping scene, and the cuisine.

In the winter, Carmel-by-the-Sea is a little warmer than Sacramento. Typically, the winter temperatures in Carmel-by-the-Sea in January average around 51°F (11°C), and Sacramento averages at about 45°F (7°C).

Carmel-by-the-Sea usually gets less rain in January than Sacramento. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 2.3 inches (58 mm) of rain, while Sacramento 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) 
    Sacramento 45°F (7°C)

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

Both Sacramento and Carmel-by-the-Sea are popular destinations to visit in the spring with plenty of activities. Many travelers come to Carmel-by-the-Sea for the beaches, the small town charm, and the natural beauty.

In April, Carmel-by-the-Sea is generally around the same temperature as Sacramento. Daily temperatures in Carmel-by-the-Sea average around 56°F (13°C), and Sacramento fluctuates around 58°F (15°C).

In April, Carmel-by-the-Sea usually receives less rain than Sacramento. Carmel-by-the-Sea gets 1.1 inches (29 mm) of rain, while Sacramento 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) 
    Sacramento 58°F (15°C)

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

Carmel-by-the-Sea Sacramento
Temp (°C) Rain (mm) Temp (°C) Rain (mm)
Jan 51°F (11°C) 2.3 inches (58 mm) 45°F (7°C) 3.8 inches (97 mm)
Feb 53°F (12°C) 1.8 inches (47 mm) 51°F (10°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) 58°F (15°C) 1.3 inches (32 mm)
May 59°F (15°C) 0.2 inches (4 mm) 65°F (18°C) 0.3 inches (7 mm)
Jun 62°F (16°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.1 inches (3 mm)
Jul 63°F (17°C) 0 inches (1 mm) 76°F (24°C) 0 inches (1 mm)
Aug 64°F (18°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm) 75°F (24°C) 0.1 inches (2 mm)
Sep 64°F (18°C) 0.2 inches (6 mm) 72°F (22°C) 0.5 inches (12 mm)
Oct 62°F (17°C) 0.6 inches (14 mm) 64°F (18°C) 1.1 inches (27 mm)
Nov 56°F (13°C) 1.8 inches (45 mm) 53°F (12°C) 2.7 inches (68 mm)
Dec 51°F (10°C) 2 inches (51 mm) 45°F (7°C) 2.6 inches (65 mm)