The region referred to as Carmel Highlands comprises the area from the southernmost edge of Carmel reaching down to just north of Big Sur, California.
The Highlands is ideally positioned – while it’s just a few miles from town and close proximity to amenities, the area is nicely tucked away from Carmel and can offer a bit more privacy and wiggle room than some of the more snug spaces in Carmel proper. Many options are presented by the variety of lot sizes and neighborhoods in the Highlands; note there is no standard lot size. While some streets such as Yankee Point have a more suburban feel as you’ll be closer to your neighbors, you can expect properties on Spindrift Road to offer more acreage. This is just one example of the dynamic nature of the land in this subregion – and these two streets are located directly next to each other.
The oceanfront Highlands market presents a fantastic opportunity for value buys. Demand for ocean view properties in the Highlands lags behind that of Carmel, so there’s typically more inventory to choose from. Because the area hugs the coast and spans east of Highway 1, the topography lends itself to a variety of views ranging from dramatic oceanfront vistas to elevated panoramic views of the water, mountains, and trees. The vast natural beauty given the geographical location is another positive attribute afforded by the area. The Highlands is home to Point Lobos State Reserve, which is referred to as the “crown jewel” of the State Park system. The Whaler’s Cove inlet in Point Lobos is often regarded as one of the best scuba diving spots along the coast of California due to the extensive kelp forests, and the reserve has a great deal of diverse wildlife sightings throughout the seasons. Point Lobos is also home to a rich supply of plant life: in fact, it’s one of two places in which our native Monterey Cypress grows. It’s no mystery why artists, writers, philosophers, and bohemians settled in the Highlands; the natural beauty inspires the mind and awakens the spirit. The stunning ocean views paired with the craggy landscape of the Santa Lucia Mountains set the perfect backdrop to call the Highlands home.
Similar to Malpaso, the Highlands Inn subregion offers a combination of ocean/forest with convenient access to the Pacific’s Edge restaurant, Highlands Inn, and Tickle Pink Inn. This is among our local favorite places to enjoy a Happy Hour cocktail or glass of wine with a year-round sunset as your backdrop.
The majority of residential real estate in this subregion consists of homes on iconic Spindrift Road and a limited number of properties scattered near Point Lobos State Reserve on Highway 1. Spindrift boasts incredible oceanfront properties on the rugged coastline, several of which have been the setting for motion pictures such as Play Misty For Me, Fatal Attraction, and Basic Instinct. One of the best-kept secrets in the Point Lobos region is access to Gibson Beach, which comprises the Southernmost strip of the Reserve.
You will encounter elevated panoramic ocean views and tree-framed landscapes from the subregion of the Highlands commonly referred to as “Malpaso.” Malpaso has a rugged hiking trail through a meadow studded by Redwoods – to enter, one must partake in the optional Highlands HOA and obtain a key. Check out this neighborhood if you are interested in a Big Sur to feel closer to neighbors and proximity to amenities.
Otter Cove/Yankee Point:
Otter Cove is the lone gated community in the Highlands and is located immediately South of the Malpaso Creek Bridge. It entails less than 3 dozen homes, all of which are oceanfront. Yankee Point, the U-shaped street just North of Otter Cove, provides both oceanfront homes and ocean views with smaller lot sizes and a more suburban feel. An incredibly secluded cove sits just beyond the Malpaso Bridge which can be accessed publicly from a trail at the South end of Yankee Point, and Yankee Beach credentials are included with an optional Highlands HOA key purchase.
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