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Once you've experienced the serenity and quiet beauty of this seaside town, you may never leave. A tourist draw for over 100 years, the spectacular coastline, striking white sandy beaches, bohemian charm, trendy shops and fine restaurants keep people coming back. No streetlights or house numbers were the early ground rules in what originated as an artists' colony, and that hasn't changed. Within the town's original one square mile, houses are identified by the nearest pedestrian crossing or even the closest tree. Grab a picnic and stroll along the beach, where you can gaze out at some of the world's most stunning coastline views. Then meander through town to explore the chic boutiques and art galleries. A trip to the beautiful Carmel Mission reinforces the tranquil aura; time seems to have stood still since the mission's establishment in 1771. Outdoor types should head to Point Lobos State Reserve, with its hiking trails, scuba diving and a chance to watch even the sea-lions savour the easy life.
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