17 Mile Drive, Monterey & Carmel
17-Mile Drive has long been lauded as one of the most luxurious and beautiful stretches of road in all of California. Stretching from its origin in Pacific Grove through the affluent Pebble Beach community, the winding loop has become an icon for the prosperity of this community’s residents as well as a masthead for the majestic natural beauty of the California coast. Winding through 17 miles of coast line, golf courses, mansions, and cypress forests, this is a truly priceless section of California’s geography.
Upon entering and paying the toll, every visitor receives a small map of 17-Mile Drive, and it provides you with all the information you need, including the names of the stops along the way. There are 21 stop on your way through 17-Mile Drive, they are:
- Shepherd’s Knoll
- Huckleberry Hill
- Poppy Hills Golf Course
- The Inn & Links at Spanish Bay
- Spanish Bay
- The Restless Sea
- Point Joe
- China Rock
- Bird Rock Hunt Course
- Bird Rock
- Seal Rock Picnic Area
- Spyglass Hill Golf Course
- Fanshell Overlook
- Cypress Point lookout
- Crocker Grove
- The Lone Cypress
- The Ghost Tree
- Pescadero Point
- The Lodge at Pebble Beach
- Peter Hay Par-3 Golf Course and 100th Open 2000 Pebble Beach Monument
- Pebble Beach Equestrian Center
The route travels mostly through the elegant Pebble Beach, CA, a town renowned worldwide for its several destination golf courses. Likewise, at the start of the drive, visitors are treated with the chance to look at extravagant mansions of the many famous and prosperous residents of the neighborhood. Often hidden behind the coast’s signature cypress trees and fences for privacy, these homes sell for multi-millions of dollars and are often legitimate architectural masterpieces. Drivers must pay $9 per vehicle to pass through the stretch, as it is technically owned and maintained by Pebble Beach Corporation, a branch of the gated Pebble Beach residential community. The price is definitely worth the payoff though, as the space’s is a gateway to views and picnic locations incomparable for many miles in each direction along the coast.
The 17-mile drive is almost as famous for its grandiose mansions as it is for its natural wonders. The most abundant and conveniently the most beautiful feature of the road is the access it gives visitors to incredible beach views. Especially at sunrise or sunset, the characteristically turbulent waters, called the “Restless Sea,” make for an incredible vista down the coastline; the shallow and craggy rocks create misty white waters much farther off the shore than at most other beaches in the area, giving the beach a unique visual appeal. If you are a fan of photography this area should be of particular interest to you, as the quality of light and vistas result in incomparable photographs.
The variety of wildlife you can see during your time on the drive is also very rare. A plethora of birds can be spotted in their perennial roost on Bird Island, and families of deer can often be caught scampering through the forest’s edge — or even across the road if you are lucky — to either side of the more wooded sections of 17-Mile Drive. The largest of these areas is Crocker Grove. A sanctuary for the area’s native Monterey Cypress trees, the 12.54 acre grove is located in the heart of one of the species two natural locations, both of which are extremely small geographically. Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see the Monterey Cypress in its natural habitat! Another famous natural attraction off of 17-Mile Drive is the Lone Cypress. The official symbol of the city of Pebble Beach, it has endured on its cliff-top perch for over 250 years. It has now come to symbolize fortitude and strength through its many years of perseverance in the face of wind, storms, and indeed the centuries themselves.
Pebble Beach is a destination for nature-lovers and golf-lovers alike. There are four world-renowned courses along the edge of 17-Mile Drive: The Links at Spanish Bay, Spyglass Hill Golf Course, Del Monte Golf Course, and Peter Hay Golf Course. All the courses frequently hold celebrity golf tournaments, but they are just as popular for travelers and locals alike