Notes On 17 Mile Drive:
- My main goal for staying in Monterey Bay, California was to see the beautiful coastline view along highway 1 up to Big Sur, but I took the 17 Mile Drive in Pebble Beach and I could definitely argue that this view is just as beautiful. It is for sure worth your time.
- The “17 Mile Drive” drive serves as the main road that runs through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, but it attracts tourists as it loops along the coast and provides gorgeous views.
- The community is gated so there is a $10 entrance fee for visitors who are not staying at the resorts. I saw someone complain on a travel website about having to “pay $10 just to see fancy houses” so I think he either took the wrong road or was looking left the entire trip and missed the coastline view. I viewed it as a similar fee you would pay to enter a national park.
- I suggest starting at the Pacific Grove gate and ending your drive at the Pebble Beach resort. Plus if you eat at a restaurant at Pebble Beach and show them your receipt for the $10 gate fee they will take it off your check.
- Technically the 17 mile drive only takes twenty minutes if you drive straight through, but you should spend longer on this drive to take in all the scenery. They hand you a map at the gate that points out suggested places to stop along the way, but each stop also has a clearly labeled sign like “China Rock” pictured below.
- Although the annoyed man on a travel website complained about “paying to see other people’s houses” the homes are actually really cool, unique, and all look expensive. I kept thinking the houses looked like fairy-tale cottages, but in fairy tales with people who have lots of money and are probably in retirement after running major hedge funds.
(Look at this house! It is partially obscured in this picture, but they have a Rapunzel tower attached to their house on the left. So I guess Rapunzel married up.)
- If you start at the Pacific Grove gate then your first stop should be at the Spanish Bay beach in front of the Links at Spanish Bay (a resort and golf course). You can park for free, enjoy the beach, and take a walk along the path. I loved the colors of the white sand, blue sky and ocean, and green grass it looked like a scene out of a painting.
- There are a few signs that show the different animals you might see. At Bird Rock I could hear a very loud seal, and at Cypress Point lookout I caught glimpse of a seal swimming in the shallow water. At Bird Rock I expected to see birds, but I was not expecting flocks of birds with no boundaries! They were not timid at all and after a few flew really close to our faces and circled our car it seemed like we were in the film The Birds. I did not last very long at this lookout point.
- This drive exceeded my expectations and I could not get over how the scenery and houses seemed like they were taken out of a fantasy movie.