The whole world seems to know about the 17 mile drive at Pebble Beach.
After all, eight million vehicles in the last 15 years have passed thru one of the five gates that separate this scenic wonderland from the rest of Monterey and Pacific Grove.
The view is the same, but the experience is quite different from a hundred years ago when wagon trains escorted enthusiastic picnic'ers from Monterey and San Francisco to these waters where the Del Monte Forest meets the sea.
Visitors still come for the same reasons as they did in 1910. They seek the beauty of the pounding surf, jaged rock outcropings, multiple shade of blue and turquoise and emerald green forests.
They also come here to escape the grind of daily life, just as they did a hundred years ago, and to find romance. Holding hands here as you will notice, is almost commonplace.
The world came to know this place in part by the hollywood movies were filmed here.
Elizabeth Taylor was among the first in the movie "National Velvet" followed by "One-Eyed Jack" with Karl Malden and Marlon Brando and "The Caddie" with Jery Lewis and Dean Martin.
The most recent hollywood production was the Disney movie "Escape from Witch Mountain"
Now everyone seems to know about Pebble Beach.
Everything changed when the Pebble Beach Lodge opened in 1919. Architects had a vision for what would become a resort and placed the lodge on the best possible site right on a peninsula that juts out into the ocean. Who knew how it's popularity would change this little slice of the world.
So make sure you have a full tank of gas, and bring $10 cash for the security guards at each of the five gates, and follow the red dashes on the road that indicate you are on 17 Mile Drive. Enjoy the almost 20 scenic stops along the way, and In case you were wondering ... yes the route is exactly 17 miles long.
Along the way you will see a posted stop for the Lone Cypress Tree, perhaps the most photographed tree in the world. This ancient and rugged tree is only one of a very few who live only here and in Point Lobos State Reserve just a few miles south of Carmel-By-The-Sea. Some say it's more than 250 years old now so see it while you can. The life expectancy of a Cypress tree on the coast is about 300 years.
There are other "ghost cypress" trees on the 17 mile drive, so keep a look out for the bleached remains of those that stood here before.
Strictly speaking, this is a private community with opulant homes worth millions, and sometimes multi-millions of dollars.
The last time I checked, Bill Murray and George Lopez still live here. Myabe you'll see them at the Pebble Beach Market!
Getting here is easy. The three main gates are located in Montgerey, Carmel-By-The-Sea, and in Pacific Grove. The Monterey exit is the easiest to find as highway 68 is just south of Monterey on Highway 1. If your already in Carmel-By-The-Sea, drive toward Carmel City Beach and turn right on San Antonio just before you get to the beach parking lot and follow the curving drive through the residential district to the entry gate.
The Infamous 250 Year Old Lone Cypress Tree On 17 Mile Drive
Stop #16 On Your Map
Seventeen Mile Drive is a place where you can truly discover the peace and tranquility of this part of the Pacific Ocean.
This is a place to slow down, to avoid the tendancy to hurry on to the next "stop" on the drive to see yet another exciting view.
Instead, take an extra 10 minutes and listen to the sound of the waves as they crash onshore and to the seabirds and seals, that cavort just a few hundred yards away.
You will be amazed at how this tour of the coast can relax even the most weary. Watch for the couples holding hands ... thay tell the whole story of why many come here.
Great Places To Walk
Tiny Coves For Exploring
Best Sunsets Anywhere
Late April, early May or late September seems to be the very best months for a visit here. Fog is prevelant during the summer months especially in the mornings. Check temperatures in the valley. If Sacramento is expected to be above 90 degrees, you can almost bet that the ocean will be overcast at least part of the day.
There are a few special events that may affect your travel plans to the 17 Mile Drive:
To check the weather before you go, there are a number of webcams that can help you plan for your escape:
Weather can be unpredictable, so bring a jacket or sweater and some flip flops. It can be absolutely still or windy, slightly foggy or blissfuly clear. You can expect the weather to be about 6 to 8 degrees cooler than in Monterey.
I have been here many times, and outside of a little wind in a few places, this is just about perfect weather.
You can make all 21 stops along 17 mile Drive if you like, but these are my favorites if you don't have extended time:
It's Almost Automatic To Do This!
Visitors to Monterey who have never been to Pebble Beach are expectidly looking for a famous beach filled with shiny water wworn pebbles. Truth is, that the beaches here are not well known. There are two, maybe three beaches that are part of the Pebble Beach territory that very few know about.
And This ...
If you like the idea of an actual table for your romantic picnic along the17 Mile Drive look for them scattered near the parking lots by Point Joe, Seal Rock and Fanshell Beach pullouts. If the wind is blowing and you don't like sand in your tuna fish sandwich, take your lunch to the Inn at Spanish Bay and sit outside at the fireside tables. Just make sure you buy a beverage or something and be polite so you don't take tables away from paying customers.
The ten doillars can be reclaimed if you spend at least $30 while your in Pebble Beach.
But that might buy you lunch and a drink or a couple of sandwiches at the Pebble Beach Market and Deli across from the Pebble Beach Lodge.
Use You Receipt To Buy A Snack!
Some love to shop wherever they go, and your best opportunities to shop here are at the "Lodge" or at The Inn At Spanish Bay" where resort clothing, and golf attire can be found.
If your here for just the day, and your in a casual mood, my recommendation would be to enjoy your meal at either the "Bench Restaurant" at the Pebble Beach Lodge or at Roy's at the Inn At Spanish Bay.A compolete description of what you can expect can be found on the Pebble Beach Restaurants page.
The "Bench" Restaurant At The Pebble Beach Lodge
In both locations, you are right in front of the Pacific Ocean. If it's nice out try Roy's and the outside terrace with fireplaces and blankets if you need them.
Roy's At Spanish Bay
If you can, stay for the sunsets!
It might be sitting in comfy chairs at the Terrace Lounge at the Pebble Beach Lodge or in front of the fireplaces on the deck of the Inn At Spanish Bay, but these sunsets are memorable.