Sunset is a beautiful time to visit but so is mid-day. If you can manage to find a good deal to stay at a B&B and not get involved in all the craziness of heavy traffic endemic to this area, then it is even more enjoyable! Take a flashlight at sunset time as the town's lighting is, well, not-so-much (and the paving is irregular).
During the day, the sights, sounds, and smells of the beach and its activities invite one to sit on a bench and enjoy it all. Folks with their picnic baskets, dogs playing like little kids (only they share their toys better), and children running in and out of the surf. The waves crash with great sound effects, and the sunlight makes the ocean look such a deep shade of royal blue.
We followed the path and continued on the side of the road (ultimately walkable) for quite some time. We walked down to Carmel River Beach and continued walking down to the elementary school. There are some very creative iterations of fantasy-like houses that look like castles, fairy cottages, medieval towers, and everything in between, set among ultra-modern creations. Reminds one of the Newport, Rhode Island displays of wealth during the Gilded Age, when the Vanderbilts and Astors walked the landscape.