First Family Vacation: Carmel, California


In early August, we took our first vacation as a family of three. Since this was our maiden voyage with the baby, we kept it somewhat local, making an easy drive about two hours south to beautiful Carmel. We stayed at Carmel Valley Ranch, an expansive property that’s home to pools, hiking trails, vineyards, and a restaurant serving organic offerings straight from their own garden, which gave us plenty to do without ever being too far from our room. This is a huge plus when your new travel companion requires frequent naps and occasionally poops his pants.

Before the trip, I had assumed that traveling with a baby wouldn’t feel like a vacation, but I was wrong. Ordering room service, getting into a freshly made bed every night, and just having a change of scenery for playing airplane and doing tummy time was a total treat. It also gave us the opportunity to let our baby experience many new firsts—his first swim, his first time smelling the ocean, his first s’mores demonstration. Here’s a look around the ranch and some of the highlights from our trip.

Lavender fields at Carmel Valley Ranch

Lavender everywhere.

Icicle tricycle

The ranch’s icicle tricycle.

Cookies from Roxy the bulldog - Carmel Valley Ranch

Warm welcome cookies from the ranch’s resident bulldog, Roxy.

Winnie the Pooh hooded onesie

Playtime on our patio.

Baby's first swim at kid-friendly Carmel Valley Ranch

Baby’s first swim!

post-swim snuggles

Post-swim snuggles—arguably the best part of pool time.

Swing at Carmel Valley Ranch

First family vacation: Carmel Valley Ranch

Baby’s first swing session!

Exploring Carmel Valley Ranch

Sunflowers in the organic garden at Carmel Valley Ranch

The biggest flowers he’s ever seen in his whole life.

Nightly s'mores at Carmel Valley Ranch

We couldn’t wait for the s’mores cart to come out each night.


Baby gets a s'mores demonstration (but no s'more)

Sorry, kiddo. It’s not time for solids yet.

Baby in a Simba suit

hakuna matata

Vacations are for animal outfits, right?

Lavender at sunset - Carmel, CA

Lavender at sunset.

Airplane tummy time

Cuddles in our pjs in front of our room’s indoor-outdoor fireplace.

Dad life

Early morning coffee fix and stroll past olive groves and vineyards.

Bright blooms at Carmel Valley Ranch

Bright blooms in the organic garden.

Booze bottles as centerpieces

The prettiest thing Ive ever seen come out of an empty bottle of PatrĂ³n.

Kid pool at Carmel Valley Ranch

More pool time!

Ocean views in Carmel, CA

A quick trip to the nearby coastline to take in the ocean.

Our next family trip is coming up soon and involves an airplane—wish us luck!

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