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Take a Scenic Turn on Pebble Beach’s 17-Mile Drive

17-Mile Drive

Find perfection on this celebrated coastal route between Monterey and Carmel

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Whether you drive it, bike it, or walk it, 17-Mile Drive’s romantic stretch of coastline makes you think one thing above all else: how can I live here? The privately managed roadway (fee to drive; biking and walking are free), located between Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula, takes you through a wind-sculpted forest of cypress trees to a rocky coastline dotted with some of the most envy-inducing homes on the planet. You’ll also get great views of the celebrated golf courses of Pebble Beach.

Where to Enter 17-Mile Drive

Cars can access 17-Mile Drive at any one of four gates, where an admission charge of $11.25 will be collected and a map with brief descriptions of points of interest along the route is provided. (The fee is reimbursed with a purchase of $35 or more at all Pebble Beach Resorts restaurants, excluding Pebble Beach Market). The entrance at Highway 1 at Highway 68 is the most convenient of coming from Monterey; if approaching from Carmel, the San Antonio gate is the one to use. If you’d like to maximize the portion of your drive that is along the coast, use the Pacific Grove gate; you’ll cut out some time driving through residential neighborhoods.

What to See Along 17-Mile Drive

Probably the most famous sight along 17-Mile Drive (map) is the famed Lone Cypress Tree. The dramatically situated, wind-and-sea-sculpted tree lost a branch in a 2019 storm, but it still makes for a nearly too-perfect focal point in what is already a jaw-dropping setting (little wonder that it’s one of the most photographed trees in the world). In spring, pull over at Fanshell Overlook to see harbor seals and their pups (usually April to June). To get mesmerized by the ocean, Point Joe is a must-see: here you can meditate upon the Restless Sea, a churning cove that that is in a constant state of motion thanks to current patterns that circulate over submerged rocks.

Where to Golf Along 17-Mile Drive

Golfers will know this pocket of California is often called the sport’s greatest zip code—17-Mile Drive will take you past seven championship courses, including Pebble Beach Golf Links, ranked the number-one public course in the country by Golf Digest, and Spyglass Hill Golf Course, which holds the number 11 spot. For a more affordable Pebble Beach golf experience, the (also public) Pacific Grove Golf Links is a great option and requires less lead-time for reservations.

Where to Eat Along 17-Mile Drive

Dining along this posh stretch of California coast doesn’t have to translate into an expensive meal—pack some provisions and take advantage of one of the many picnic tables between Point Joe and Seal Rock, or spread out a blanket on the small beach at Spanish Bay. If your schedule and budget permits, splurge with a meal at such luxe options as Lodge at Pebble Beach, Roy’s at Pebble Beach—located at The Inn at Spanish Bay—or Stillwater Bar & Grill. More casual options include Sticks (at The Inn at Spanish Bay) and Red House Café in Pacific Grove.

Know before you go: The best times to visit 17-Mile Drive are spring and fall—winters can be rainy, and in summer the fog can put a damper on views, sometimes all day long. The only public restroom along the drive is at Bird Rock.

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